After 11 months of Champions League football, the long-anticipated final is now upon football fans. This year’s competition has been full of surprises, excitement, joy, and even pain as fans, but the long wait is over. Five times champions Bayern Munich will slog it out with final debutants PSG at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica in Lisbon. Both teams crossed a lot of hurdles to get to this stage and will go all-in for the trophy.
Road to Final
The Parisians sent a strong signal when they humbled Real Madrid at the Parc des Princes. Angel Di Maria showed is classed as the Spanish giants were swept aside. That was when everyone began to pay attention to PSG. The Parisians managed to score 17 goals and conceded an impressive 2. With Club Brugge and Galatasaray on the receiving end of the goals.
Qualifying from their group on top, they were pitched against exciting Borussia Dortmund. Overcoming a 2-1 defeat to a 2-0 win at the Parc des Princes, the French outfit started dreaming. Football then came to hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. Although PSG’s round of 16 had been settled, they were now waiting for their quarter-final opponents. Football resumed, and drastic measures were taken as a result of the pandemic which resulted in the one-legged affair. Drawn against Champions League debutants, Atalanta, all odds were in favour of PSG. After going a goal down for the majority of the contest, PSG looked to exit from the competition yet again. Two goals in the death of the game from Marquinhos and Choupo-Moting spark rise of belief in the team heading to the Semifinals.
Drawn against weaker opponents on paper in RB Leipzig, the focus of the Parisians proved to be crucial. With a comfortable 3-0 victory over the German outfit, PSG found themselves in the Champions League final for the first time in their history.
Still unbeaten in the Champions League, the Bavarians look to end this season’s competition-winning all their matches. Scoring an atrocious 24 goals including the 7-2 trashing to Tottenham, Bayern put themselves as one of the favourites for the trophy.
Carrying their group stage dominance to the knockout stage, Bayern looked ruthless and played with no mercy. Humbling a Chelsea side with a 7-1 aggregate score, the Bavarians were now the leading favourites for the competition. When drawn in the Quarters against Barcelona, the whole world expected to see an exciting match against two evenly balanced sides. With an 8-2 hauling, it was clear that the German outfit was gunning for the trophy. The likes of Gnabry, Davies and not to forget Lewandowski, has been key in their journey to the final. Drawn against a weaker side in Lyon, the odds were in favour of Bayern to progress. A 3-0 victory, saw the Bavarians cruise to final in the quest for their sixth Champions League trophy.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
The French defender has been a stalwart in defence for the Parisians and has put him some impressive defensive stats in his favour. Making 11 blocks and 13 clearances, the 28-year-old will give Bayern forwards a tough time in the game. The defender has also shown his attacking ability scoring both in the Quarter and Semifinal. Producing those crucial goals, the defender will have to be watched in terms of going forward.
The 21-year-old has obviously been a standout performer for the French Champions this season in the Champions League. Contributing 5 goals and 5 assists in 9 games, Mbappe can’t be overlooked as a force to reckon with. Averaging 3 shots per game, Manuel Neuer should be ready for a treat.
The Brazilian star has shown maturity in his game recently, and that has immensely improved his performance. Scoring 3 goals and 4 assists in 6 appearances, the 28-year-old cannot be written off. Averaging 6.5 dribbles per game, Neymar has no problem in ghosting past players. The tricks and creativity in him will cause the Bayern defenders problems throughout the game.
The 19-year-old has been a revelation this season for Bayern putting in impressive performances in every appearance. The Canadian has shown his defensive strength likewise his attacking acumen and has worked in favour of Bayern this season. Averaging 2.4 tackles this season, the youngster has proven to be a tough opponent to go past. Providing 3 assists and averaging 3.7 dribbles per game, his attacking traits is something any opponent will take note of.
The German has also put in an impressive performance for the Bavarians this season so far. Scoring 9 goals in the Champions League, the forward certainly has an eye for goal. Always wanting to keep the goalkeeper busy, he also averages 3 shots per game. The 25-year-old is more likely to be one of the star performers in the game.
Arguably the best player this season, the Polish striker has been ruthless in front of goal. Scoring 15 goals in 9 games this season, his hunger for goals cannot be overemphasized. The 32-year-old has also contributed 5 assists and has been a threat to his opponents. The striker is 2 goals shy of equaling most goals set by Cristiano Ronaldo. With his quality, Lewandowski can take that has a motivating factor, and will do all he can to put the ball at the back of the net. Averaging 5.4 shots per game, he is sure known for keeping the opponent’s keeper busy.
Angel Di Maria
PSG 1-2 Bayern Munich
One thing for certain is that goals will be scored in the game. PSG will give Bayern Munich a tough time, but the experience and stability of the Bavarians will come clutch. Bayern should be expecting to lift their sixth Champions League trophy.