The qualifying stages for the 20/21 Champions League final has kicked off, but we’re still not done with last seasons tournament. The final sees German champions Bayern Munich go up against Paris Saint-Germain.
Road To The Final
PSG qualified automatically for the Champions League by winning Ligue 1. They were a top seed.
PSG were joined in group A by Real Madrid, Belgian champions Club Brugge, and Turkish champions Galatasaray.
The French Champions opened their campaign emphatically with a 3 – 0 win over Real Madrid, with 2 goals from Di Maria, and a late goal from Meunier. Icardi’s goal gave them an away win against Galatasaray. Icardi scored two more away to Brugge, with Mbappe getting a hatrick to make it 0 – 5. In the reverse fixture Icardi got another one for the home side to win 1 – 0. Despite going behind against Real Madrid, Mbappe and Sarabia equalized to make it 2 – 2. By the final game PSG had qualified, but they won 5 – 0 for the second time in the group stage with goals from Icardi, Sarabia, Neymar, Mbappe, and Cavani. PSG topped the group with 16 points and a +15 goal difference, having only conceded twice.
PSG were drawn against Borussia Dortmund. They lost the first leg 2 – 1, with Haaland getting both Dortmund’s goals. However crucially Neymar got an away goal.
PSG would win the 2nd leg 2 – 0, with goals from Neymar and Bernat in the first half. The Ligue 1 champions went through 3 – 2 on aggregate. Both legs took place before the lockdown.
Paris Saint Germain played tournament debutantes Atalanta in the last 8. They came within moments of elimination when they were 1 – 0 down going into injury time after Pasalic had put Atalanta ahead in the first half. Mbappe’s introduction made the difference, he was involved in the equalizer for Marquinhos and the winner by Choupo-Moting.
RB Leipzig were the opposition in the Semi-Finals, making their first appearance in the knockout rounds. PSG were the better team and went 2 – 0 up before halftime with goals from Marquinhos and Di Maria. Bernat scored the 3rd in the second half to secure PSG’s place in the final.
Bayern automatically qualified for the Champions League after winning the previous seasons Bundesliga. They were a top seed.
Bayern Munich were drawn into Group B with last seasons beaten finalists Tottenham Hotspurs, Runners-up in the Greek league Olympiacos, and Serbian Champions Red Star Belgrade.
Bayern beat Red Star Belgrade 3 – 0 in their opening game with goals from Coman, Lewandowski, and Muller. The following round they hammered Tottenham 2 – 7, despite falling behind early, with goals from Kimmich, 2 from Lewandowski, and 4 from Gnabry. They defeated a battling Olympiacos over two rounds with 3 goals from Lewandowski( 2 in the first game and one in the 2nd. Tolisso got the 3rd in the away game, Perisic got a late goal in the home game. Bayern hammered Red Star Belgrade 0 – 6 in Serbia, with Lewandowski scoring 4, and Goretzka and Tolisso adding goals. In their final game they beat Tottenham 3 – 1, with goals from Coman, Muller, and Coutinho.
Bayern were drawn against Chelsea. In the away leg they won 0 – 3, with goals from Gnabry and Lewandowski. The home leg took place after the lockdown. Bayern won 4 – 1 with 2 goals from Lewandowski and one each from Perisic and Tolisso. Bayern went through 7 – 1 on aggregate.
In a one-legged quarter-final Bayern played Barcelona in Lisbon. They went ahead through Muller but were pegged back through an own goal by Alaba. Goals from Perisic, Gnabry, and Muller made it 1 – 4 at halftime. Suarez got one back after the break but further scores through Kimmich, Lewandowski, and two from Coutinho (on loan from Barcelona) made it 2- 8.
Bayern played Lyon in the semi-finals. Lyon had two early chances but Gnabry hit the net twice before halftime. Lewandowski finally got his goal after having a few chances.
Did You Know?
- Bayern are on a 29-game unbeaten run in all competitions, only failing to win one of those games. They have scored an average of 3.34 goals during that time. In the champions League they have a goal scoring average of 4.2 per game this season, which is the most in the tournaments history.
- PSG have scored in the first 30 minutes of 6 of their past 8 games, and have won the last three games they conceded first in. Angel Di Maria is unbeaten in the 17 Champions League games he has scored in.
2019/20 Domestic Campaigns
Paris Saint Germain
Ligue 1 came to a premature end this season, with PSG being declared champions after 27 games as per the rules of the competition. PSG only lost 3 games, winning 22, scoring 75 goals.
PSG lifted the Coupe de France when football returned, beating Saint-Etienne in the final. They then beat Lyon on penalties in the Cope de la Ligue final. They also won the Trophee des Champions at the start of the season by beating Rennes 2 – 1.
Their top scorer in all competitions is Kylian Mbappe, who scored 30 goals in 36 games. Pablo Sarabia and Angel di Maria have made the most appearances for the side with 40.
The German league was the first major European league to make it’s return. Bayern won every game after the restart to claim the Bundesliga title.
They beat Bayer Leverkusen 4 – 2 in the DFB-Pokal final to complete a double. However they lost the supercup to Borussia Dortmund at the start of the season.
Their top scorer in all competitions this season is Robert Lewandowski, who has scored 55 goals in 46 games. Joshua Kimmich and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer have made the most appearances for Bayern with 50.
Did You Know?
- Bayern have previously appeared in 10 Champions League/European Cup finals
- They won 5, in 1974, 1975, 1976, 2001, and 2013. The came runner-up in 1982, 1987, 1999, 2010, and 2012.
- This is the first time Paris Saint-Germain have been in a Champions League final. It has taken 110 European Cup/UCL games for them to get here, the longest of any finalist.
The sides have met 8 times previously. PSG have won 5, with Bayern winning 3.
Bayern Munich and and Paris Saint Germain were drawn together in the group stage of the 2017/18 Champions League. PSG won 3 – 0 in their home game, Bayern won 3 – 1 in the reverse fixture. PSG topped the group over Bayern on head to head record.
Did You Know
- The previous UEFA Men’s Finals involving French and German sides were:
- 1975/76: Bayern Munich 1 – 0 Saint-Etienne (UCL)
- 1991/92: Werder Bremen 2 – 0 Monaco (CWC)
- 1995: Bordeaux 4 – 2 Kalrusher SC [AGG] (Intertoto Cup)
- 1995/96: Bayern Munich 5 – 1 Bordeaux [AGG] (UEFA Cup)
- 1997: Auxerre 2 – 0 MSV Duisburg [Agg] (Intertoto Cup)
- 1999: Montpellier 2 – 2 Hamburger SV [Agg] [Montpellier win 3 – 0 on penalties] (Intertoto Cup)
- 2000: VFB Stuttgart 3 – 1 Auxerre [Agg] (Intertoto Cup)
- 2002: VFB Stuttgart 2 – 1 Lille [Agg] (Intertoto Cup)
Bayern: Boateng is doubtful for the game. Davies appeared to pick up a knock in training but is likely to be ok. Bayern have played the same line-up in their 3 previous UCL encounters.
1-4-2-3-1: Neuer, Kimmich, Sule, Alaba, Davies, Goretzka, Perisic, Muller, Gnabry, Lewandowski.
Paris Saint-Germain: Goalkeeper Navas was injured against Atalanta and remains a doubt for the game.
1-4-3-3: Rico, Kehrer, Kimpembe, Silva, Bernat, Herrera, Marquinhos, Paredes, Di Maria, Mbappe, Neymar.
Did You Know?
- This is the 4th Champions League final where both teams were looking to secure a treble. The previous 3:
- 1999: Manchester United 2 – 1 Bayern Munich
- 2010: Inter 2 – 0 Bayern Munich
- 2015: Barcelona 3 – 1 Juventus
Here’s how 3 of our pundits think the game will go.
2 – 1 PSG.
For the first time since 1998, the Champions League final will feature two teams who entered the competition as domestic champions, a reminder to the old version of the European Cup before 1992 when only the champion of each league where allowed. This is a hard prediction to call. The Bavarians have won 28 of the 29 last matches. Robert “The scoring machine” Lewandowski has scored 34 in the Bundesliga 15 in the Champions League (so far). Against Lyon in semi-final he did not provide his best match but still had his name on the scoresheet. Bayern has impressed as a team and individually. Not only the Polish striker but Thomas Muller, 30 years old is still a poison for the defense, Serge Gnabry demolished the Lyon defense on Wednesday and supersonic Alphonso Davis, only 19 years old and already one of the best left back in the world. PSG have hammered Leipzig in semi-final. This game looked like a last 16 of French cup against Ligue 2 side. Unfortunately for the neutral TV viewers Leipzig suffered from a lack of experience. For the final, how can Bayern’s centrer back’s duo Boateng-Sule or Boateng-Alaba could stop the fantastic triumvira Mbappe, Neymar, Di Maria? Lyon did have their chance, showing that Bayern are not indestructible.
4 – 2 Bayern or 3 – 2 PSG
This game will ultimately come down to who’s defence comes out on top. Likely to be a much more exciting final than last year and I do expect goals from both especially if their stars continue the form they are in. Neymar is probably the best player between the teams and if he shows up I think Bayern won’t be able to stop him especially if they defend like they did against Lyon. Bayern have a mental edge and I think will shade it but if PSG are inspired defensively or set up tactically perfect and make no defensive mistakes I think they will come out on top. There should be at least 5 goals though so sit back and enjoy.
Everybody In The Office Thinks Rodg Is A Wanker For Sitting On The Fence
5 – 3 Bayern
The most obvious thing I can say is there will be goals. There is no way this is going to be a boring 0 – 0. Bayern are far from indestructible, and PSG will cause them problems. They coughed up chances against Lyon, which Mbappe or Neymar would likely put away. Mbappe in particular could cause problems with his pace against Bayern’s defense. However, the Germans are very well organised and have more quality around the park. Kimmich and Davies provide threat out wide, Muller is unplayable right now, and Lewangoalski can’t stop scoring. PSG have scored in their previous 34 UCL games, a goal here would set a new record for goals in consecutive games at major UEFA European tournaments. Bayern will benefit from German proficiency, they’ve had more time to prepare, whereas PSG had to play two cup finals and then 2 quick knockout games. This feels like it could be either of these sides’ year, but Bayern look ominous. PSG may go in front at some stage, but Bayern are set-up better and can out work the French champions in midfield. It may well be a classic.
Kick-off is at 8pm. We’ll have updates throughout the evening.