LINE: PSG +225 | Draw +300 | Bayern Munich +104
WHEN: Sunday, August 23rd @ 3pm EST
WHERE: Estadio do Sport, Lisbon, Portugal
WATCH: CBS All Access
Paris Saint-Germain achieved some personal history by qualifying for their first-ever Champions League final on Tuesday. But the job is far from over. If they want to be considered among Europe’s elite, they will have to beat the best and accomplish the dream that started when taken over by rich Qatari owners.
Nobody remembers who came second and that’ll also be the case for this unique edition. Thomas Tuchel spent years coming second to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga during his time as Borussia Dortmund manager – but now he boasts a team superior in quality and swimming with proven, world-class match winners. Despite facing a team that plays more like cyborgs than human, PSG will look to slay the beast ahead and put years of misery behind them by finally lifting that glorious trophy on Sunday.
Bayern Munich Likely XI
Neuer, Kimmich, Boateng, Alaba, Davies, Thiago, Goretzka, Gnabry, Muller, Perisic, Lewandowski
While Jerome Boateng went off at half-time against Lyon, that seemed a substitution to have him well-rested for the final. So Bayern should go with the same team on Sunday.
PSG Likely XI
Rico, Kehrer, Silva, Kimpembe, Bernat, Marquinhos, Herrera, Gueye, Di Maria, Mbappe, Neymar
Idrissa Gueye should come in to add more steel to PSG’s midfield and bully Bayern’s midfielders. Keylor Navas is still a doubt, so Sergio Rico should start again in the final!
PSG vs Bayern Munich Champions League final preview
PSG are in the end-game now. It’s figuratively and quite literally a do-or-die situation waiting ahead for them on Sunday. This is their best chance at winning the UCL trophy and if they can’t follow up their great work with a win– they might not play in the final for another decade.
Fortunately, this side also looks much stronger than the ones they’ve fielded since their rich owners took over. Tuchel has organized and shaped his side to be a disciplined, motivated and sturdy unit that refuses to back out without a fight. They must display that never-say-die attitude against Bayern.
In terms of sheer form, the Bundesliga side are leaps higher. They’ve played more games, won more games and are performing at their highest level since Pep Guardiola’s departure in 2016. Hansi Flick has flicked a switch (mind the pun) in his team’s minds to make them play like unbreakable machines.
But to counter Bayern’s ruthlessness, PSG has a lot of class lined up. Neymar looks more motivated than ever to win the crown with the side who brought him for the exact purpose. While he must brush up his finishing skills on Sunday (which I believe he will), the Brazilian is purring like a Cheshire cat in dribbling past opponents, carving open chances and creating havoc inside the opposition’s half.
His partner-in-crime Kylian Mbappe has also proven himself an absolute warrior by recovering swiftly from an injury to power his side’s chances. The Frenchman can be a Champions League & FIFA World Cup winner before the age of 22 if he wins on Sunday and must work hard to make that a reality. With his electric movement, tendency to run behind defenders and finish off chances, Mbappe could cause Bayern’s high defensive line loads of problems.
But in all this Neymar-Mbappe phenomenon, PSG has unearthed some hidden gems inspiring their run of form. Angel Di Maria is among the biggest discreet jewel in Tuchel’s hands. The Argentine absolutely ripped apart RB Leipzig the other day and will aim to continue his feast on German opponents. With his nightmarish crosses, set-pieces and Champions League final experience, Di Maria can again be PSG’s MVP if he maintains his hunger on Sunday.
Ander Herrera is finally getting his due as this unrelenting midfield workhorse who will be a thorn in Bayern’s side with his relentless pressing and clever contributions on both ends. But it’s Marquinhos who has a formidable job of marking Thomas Muller – who is arguably as dangerous as Robert Lewandowski. The Brazilian midfielder wouldn’t only look to score in set-pieces, but needs to track Muller’s every movement and nullify his supply to break the root of Bayern’s attacking grace.
But cutting off one head will only encourage the other attacking stars to rip them apart. With the attacking talent on disposal, PSG’s back four need to play out of their skins to keep a clean sheet or even restrict them to one goal. Thiago Silva will leave the club after this, so he’ll look for one last warcry with his assertive defending and tendency for clutch challenges. Thilo Kehrer, Presnel Kimpembe are both young but can prove their mettle by restricting Ivan Perisic and in-form Serge Gnabry from flanking past them, while Bernat & Herrera must keep the clever Joshua Kimmich and thunderous Alphonso Davies at bay.
Tuchel will need to be perfect with his tactics and his men will need to be fearless in defending & ruthless in finishing chances. They will get plenty of opportunities to win the game. It just remains to be seen whether they take it or bottle another monumental tie.
Despite Bayern being favourites to win, this is a bit difficult to predict. My mind is telling Bayern, but guts opt for PSG. I think I’ll go with the latter & it’ll be a cheeky 2-1 win for PSG to lift their first UCL crown!