Bayern Munich will face Paris Saint-Germain within the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, in a re-run of final season’s showpiece. bundesliga.com explains why Manuel Neuer and the remainder of Hansi Flick’s merry males will oust Kylian Mbappe and Co. as soon as extra…
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1) Been there, executed that
PSG threw every part at Bayern in Lisbon, however the Bundesliga’s document champions merely wouldn’t budge. To rub salt into French wounds, it was their former academy participant Kingsley Coman who delivered the coup de grace with an inch-perfect header within the second half.
“It was the most important second of my profession to this point,” Coman informed Le Parisien. “I would been injured and I labored actually exhausting to come back again. It is a day I will always remember, like being in a dream. No one can ever take that last away, from me or my membership.”
The 1-0 win landed Bayern their sixth European Cup, and a second continental treble in eight seasons. The German giants have now appeared within the last 11 occasions, whereas PSG – who’ve by no means lifted the trophy – have solely gone past the quarter-finals twice. So the French aspect are prone to be feeling the strain forward of a knockout tie that each crew left within the competitors needed to keep away from – even with star man Robert Lewandowski sidelined as a consequence of a knee ligament pressure.
Bayern gained all 11 video games on their technique to lifting the 2019/20 Champions League, accounting for the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Barcelona. – MATTHEW CHILDS/POOL/AFP through Getty Photographs
2) Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, the within man
Lewandowski is irrepressible and, relying on who you ask, irreplaceable.
Final season, Bayern’s No.9 turned the primary participant in historical past to win the continental treble while ending as the highest scorer in every competitors. The 2020 FIFA Greatest Participant registered 55 objectives in 47 video games all informed in 2019/20, and has added 42 in 36 aggressive outings to his scorecard to this point this time period. That’s a objective each 72 minutes, in comparison with Mbappe’s 95 minutes-per-goal ratio and Neymar’s 111.
Bayern have a world-class various in Thomas Müller – Serge Gnabry can also be lacking – but it surely’s ex-PSG man Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting who might nicely get the nod within the lone striker’s function, as he did within the very important 1-0 win over RB Leipzig. The Cameroon worldwide is aware of the Parisians higher than anybody in a pink shirt, having spent two seasons on the Parc des Princes earlier than becoming a member of Bayern as a free agent final summer time.
A back-up to Mbappe and Neymar, he nonetheless turned out 51 occasions in all competitions below Thomas Tuchel, most notably scoring the objective that secured PSG an injury-time win over Atalanta in final time period’s Champions League quarter-finals. And whereas he has by no means performed below present coach Mauricio Pochettino, he can rely 10 of the crew that began this season’s quarter-final second leg towards Barcelona as ex-teammates.
Choupo-Moting will be capable of disclose PSG’s recreation plan from the 2019/20 last towards Bayern, in addition to all of the strengths and weaknesses of his former allies. He is a fairly ready deputy, too. Due to his effort towards Lazio final outing, EMCM returns to the French capital with a wholesome season common of 1 objective or help each 140 minutes he is been on the sector.
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting has scored twice in 5 Champions League appearances for holders Bayern in 2020/21. – Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Photographs
3) A five-star supporting solid
In a world-class crew like Bayern, the hazard would not simply come from the point of interest of the assault. No fewer than 18 gamers within the squad have scored at the very least one objective this season, with Müller and Gnabry becoming a member of Lewandowski by hitting double figures. Müller additionally tops the Bundesliga assists chart on 15, with Joshua Kimmich (10), Leroy Sane (9) and Coman (9) scorching on his heels and serving to to energy Germany’s most prolific assault. Crucially, whereas we’ve picked out a number of notable people in Flick’s aspect, it’s their collective energy that basically units them aside.
“The exhausting work on this crew is top of the range,” Alphonso Davies informed bundesliga.com earlier this season, after changing into the primary Canadian to carry the Champions League trophy. “Although we have gained all these trophies, we would like increasingly more, and every time we step on the sector we need to present that we’re on the market to play soccer and to win video games.”
Davies, who served up a stunning help for Kimmich in final yr’s 8-2 demolition of Barcelona, is one other of the numerous Bayern gamers PSG should keep watch over. Gnabry was the scourge of the London golf equipment final season – hitting 4 in a memorable 7-2 win at Pochettino’s Tottenham, and one other two towards Chelsea – whereas his brace within the semi-final was pivotal as Bayern weathered the early storm earlier than easing by 3-0 towards Lyon. Nevertheless Flick units his crew up over the 2 legs, PSG are going to have their work minimize out.
Watch: All of Thomas Müller’s objectives and first 14 of his league-leading 15 assists this season
4) Manuel Neuer, the impenetrable pressure
In addition to worrying about Bayern’s fearsome and versatile frontline at one finish of the pitch, PSG are going to have some complications on the different, as they attempt to get the higher of one of the best goalkeeper within the historical past of the sport. Though Coman determined final season’s encounter on the Estadio da Luz, Neuer supplied the muse for victory with a string of excellent saves to thwart Neymar and Mbappe.
What goes by a participant’s thoughts when one-on-one with Bayern’s gloved libero have to be akin to a rookie featherweight stepping right into a boxing ring with a heavyweight world champion. “We have now Keylor Navas, however Neuer was in prime type on the incorrect second,” bemoaned Tuchel after final summer time’s last. “He took the goalkeeping recreation to a brand new stage, sadly for us.”
Like a high quality French wine, Neuer simply appears to maintain bettering with age, and such is the 35-year-old’s significance in Flick’s present setup that No.2 keeper Alexander Nübel has been restricted to only three outings in all competitions this time period when little was on the road. One other couple of classic performances from the Bayern captain towards PSG is prone to see the Bavarian juggernauts attain the semi-finals for the eighth time in 10 years.
Watch: Manuel Neuer below the tactical microscope
5) Hansi Flick, the brains behind all of it
Given Bayern’s particular person and collective prowess, it’s little marvel they’re unbeaten in 19 Champions League assignments. Solely Manchester United have strung collectively an extended run within the competitors – 25 matches with out defeat between 19 September 2007 and 5 Might 2009 – with Bayern having swept apart the likes of Chelsea, Barcelona, PSG and Atletico Madrid alongside the best way.
The holders sailed by this season’s group stage, earlier than recording a powerful 6-2 mixture win over Lazio within the final 16. Their document within the competitors since Flick took cost now reads 54 objectives scored and solely 11 conceded throughout 15 wins and a tutorial 1-1 draw with Atleti, achieved by the second string with prime spot in Group A already within the bag with two video games to spare. Now why ‘Bayern’ and ‘mentality monsters’ seem in the identical sentence so typically.
“There are solely robust opponents within the quarter-finals,” Flick mentioned when Bayern have been drawn towards PSG. “It is one of the best eight in Europe, so it’s going to be essential to play nicely in each video games. We need to undergo, and it is essential to place in prime performances. They’re robust opponents, however we have proven that we will play soccer.”
They definitely have – and also you would not wager towards the reigning European champions staying on track to defend their title.