The quibble with elite modern players is that they play just half the game so much they dominate their domestic ligaments that they forget how to protect themselves, or just don’t bother to. The outcome is games such as Paris Saint Germain’s 3-2 victory in Munich over Bayern on Wednesday in the first leg of the quarterfinals in the Champions League and their August final in Lisbon. It was noisy, frenetic, always brilliant, and enjoyable.
Whether any side would win the reigning Champions League like that must be dubious. Logic suggests that more equilibrated teams like Manchester City and Chelsea provide the benefit. Or the assault by a Bavarian or a PSG could just blast them away. The speed of the game, the imaginative creativity level were exceptional, but it could be because of the defensive weaknesses.
The issue in the final Champions League last season was whether Bayern’s top line was susceptible to Kylian Mbappe’s speed. However, Bayern was at its height and retained such a compact shape that PSG was reasonably comfortably tested. It took Mbappé just three minutes to strike here, however. Bayern was not at its best in the defence this season, awarding 35 goals in 27 League games and it was horribly exposed, since a simple turn to the left of the middle field was isolating Joshua Kimmich. Neymar sprang up and stumbled at Mbappé, whose shot hit Manuel Neuer.
What followed was hypocritical. Bayern, whose unbeatable Champions League run now took place in 19 games, was threatening, often dazzling, and moving ahead. Keylor Navas made a fine saves string. Even before PSG took the lead, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, the former PSG adviser who had been asked to replace Robert Lewandowski, was against the bar. And yet every counter triggered panic all over Bayern’s supremacy, all the time it spent around the box. Before half time, the distribution of Neuer became haphazard, the defensive line dropped a few yards and generated room in the midfield. August’s almost impenetrable form had disappeared.
As Marquinhos added the second, the PSG had already ruled out a tight offside attempt. Bayern had been fighting from the outset for set plays and when after 28 minutes it halved a corner, two defenders remained back while everyone else moved out. This resulted in Marquinhos being next to Neymar whipping a cross into the box and finishing quietly.
Bayern Munich vs PSG
Despite the blustery, snowy weather in Munch, Paris Saint-Germain came out firing and put itself in line to reach the Champions League semi-finals.
PSG defeated Bayern Munich 3-2 in the first leg of their quarterfinal matchup, with Kylian Mbappe scoring two goals and Marquinhos adding a goal of his own.
Bayern had gone 32 games without losing at the Allianz Arena before Wednesday’s match.
PSG wasted little time in getting down to business in what was initially an up-and-down affair. Mbappe’s first goal came three minutes into the game on the Paris side’s first serious attack, as the team seemed determined to be the aggressor right away. In the 28th minute, Marquinhos added another goal to bring PSG in charge.
Les Parisiens were not to be denied, as Marquinhos doubled their lead on 28 minutes after perfectly timing his run to finish off a magnificent second Neymar assist, though the captain was forced to withdraw minutes later due to injury.
PSG’s dominance, however, did not last long. Bayern improved as the game progressed, controlling possession (64 percent) and peppering PSG’s goal with 31 shots (12 on goal).
The majority of the second half was played with Bayern deep in PSG territory, leaving the Reds and Blues with no choice but to try to prevent the floodgates from opening.
Choupo-Moting, a former PSG player, scored a header from a Benjamin Pavard delivery eight minutes before halftime, completing the most predictable storyline in this match. Leon Goretzka and Niklas Sule were then substituted before the halftime break, joining Marquinhos.
They were mostly good in their endeavours. In the 60th minute, Thomas Muller scored to tie the game at 2-2, but Mbappe’s singular genius could not be denied. A mere eight minutes later, the 22-year-old put PSG back in front 3-2, proving once again that he can be counted on on the biggest stage.
PSG effectively stayed in a prevent defence for the remainder of the game, unsuccessfully attempting to hold Bayern off the scoreboard. Bayern came close to securing a draw several times in the closing minutes, but they were never able to complete the task.
PSG’s three away goals have placed the club in a strong spot going into the second leg on Tuesday. Though Bayern appeared to be the better team for the majority of the first leg, the defending champions would need to beat PSG by two goals on the road to have a realistic chance of retaining their title.
Despite good chances late on, most notably David Alaba, PSG’s defense, and Keylor Navas, have been firmly committed to denying home and causing Bayer Leverkusen’s home in the Bundesliga to suffer a first defeat since late 2019. Mitchel Bakker played at the time for Abdou Diallo and PSG as a central defender for the fortunes of Danilo Pereira, mainly under the presence of the visitors from a rampant Bayern attack which created opportunities at will.
Pochettino’s men are well-positioned to complete the job and advance at the cost of Flick and his team when the two teams meet again in Paris next week.