Bayern Edge Paris Saint-Germain to Claim Champions League Title
Posted by: Hilbert Mayer
Bayern Munich claimed their second treble in club history by edging past Paris-Saint Germain, 1-0, in an eventful but disappointing UEFA Champions League final last Sunday at the Estadio La Luz in the Portuguese capital Lisbon. Winger Kingsley Coman fired the difference-making goal in the 59th minute off a cross. It came from Joshua Kimmich to help Bayern annex their second treble and sixth Champions League title overall.
Coman, who was born in the French capital Paris, headed the cross by Kimmich to the goalmouth. It served as the only goal of the match in what was expected as a high-scoring final shootout. The win ensured a repeat of their 2013 treble. At the same time, it prevented the French Ligue 1 powerhouse PSG to secure their first-ever UEFA Champions League title.
Bayern, particularly goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, frustrated PSG’s attacking duo of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. Both failed to break through Neuer’s solid protection in between the pipes for the German squad. The Bayern keeper was chosen as man of the match due to his three saves and a clean sheet. The Munich-based XI also handed PSG their first scoreless game in a major European competition in 35 games. This is a span of more than four years. The last scoreless European competition for the Parisians was against Manchester City in April 2016.
Bayern had more possessions as they had the ball for 62% of the match. However, they prefer to keep the ball for long periods of time, as evidenced by their 12 shots (two on target) in a 90-minute span. PSG was even worse as it only touched the ball for 38% of the encounter and had 10 shots (three of them on target).
Uneventful First Half
The first few minutes of the first half were uneventful as no team tried to make a move in respect to each other’s attacking capabilities. It was only in the 18th minute that Neymar made his move and tried to attack Bayern’s defense. However, he was unsuccessful as Neuer was there to prevent him. Four minutes later, Alphonso Davies found Bayern top scorer Robert Lewandowski slightly open and delivered a left-wing cross to the Polish striker. Lewandowski had the space to operate but found the goal post. Angel di Maria and Ander Herrera tried to mount an offensive for PSG but their efforts were wide from the goalmouth.
Lewandowski had another chance to score but Paris keeper Keylor Navas was there to save the ball. Mbappe could have had the last say of the first half but his shot went straight to Neuer’s hands. In the second half, both teams started sloppily as they struggled to secure possession. It was only in the 59th minute that the game finally had its big moment. Kimmich wiggled free on the right side and kicked the ball to Coman’s direction at the back post. The Bayern Munich footballer snuck behind Thilo Kehrer to head the ball into the bottom corner for a 1-0 score. Moments later, Bayern attempted to make it 2-0 but Thiago Silva was there to block the volley from Thomas Mueller. PSG had another opportunity in stoppage time when Mbappe found Neymar but the Brazilian’s last-gasp attempt sailed wide, thus giving the title to their German foes.
Six-time European Club Champs
The victory enabled Bayern to tie last year’s winners Liverpool as six-time European champions. They are now behind AC Milan and Real Madrid, which took home seven and 13 Champions League crowns, respectively. Hansi Flick, who was installed as interim coach after Niko Kovac was sacked, also matched Jupp Heynckes in securing the treble for the Munich-based footballers. Heynckes did the feat in the 2012-13 season. This also extended Flick’s winning streak with Bayern to 21 games. The German outfit also captured the title by winning every game of this season’s tournament.
The loss ended PSG’s dream to capture their first UEFA Champions League trophy as they fell to a more formidable foe in Bayern Munich, who are considered as favorites before the match kicked off by online soccer oddsmakers.