Bayern – PSG was a tight, captivating UEFA Champions League final which saw the game decided by fine margins.
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It was a match befitting of the last two teams standing in Europe, but Bayern Munich had the extra bit of quality and composure and made it count as Kingsley Coman headed home to win the trophy for the German giants who secured a historic treble.
Here’s a look at what we learned from Bayern – PSG, as the Bavarians made it 21-straight wins in all competitions to secure the sixth Champions League title in club history.
COMAN JUSTIFIES BAYERN, FLICK’S FAITH
Kingsley Coman hadn’t started any of the last four Champions League games for Bayern but Hansi Flick made a big call in starting the young French winger in the final over experienced winger Ivan Perisic. It paid off. Coman, 24, grew up in Paris and is a PSG fan. He scored the winner against them with a fine header at the back post and bamboozled PSG’s defense, particularly right back Thilo Kehrer, time and time again. Flick has turned to youth with Alphonso Davies becoming a regular and the likes of Josh Zirkzee and Michael Cuisance also being handed chances to shine. Heck, Goretzka, Kimmich and Gnabry are all 25 and under and new signing Leroy Sane is 24. Bayern could be a force for the next five years with such a young core.
On Sunday, Flick put his faith in Coman and he paid him back. Big time. Bayern’s former assistant Flick stepped up to take charge in November (with Bayern in fourth place in the Bundesliga and languishing under Niko Kovac) and has led Bayern to an incredible treble in his first few months in charge. He has kept it simple, put Bayern’s best players on the pitch, made great decisions with personnel and has found a perfect balance between youth and experience. Bayern are the only team in history to win all 11 of their Champions League games en route to winning the trophy and Flick has totally rejuvenated their spirit on and off the pitch. This has been outstanding to watch and the man who was the assistant coach for Germany from 2006-14 and then the assistant at Bayern has been a spectacular success as a number one. He has delivered just the second treble in the history of Bayern Munich. Think about that.
TENSE ENCOUNTER DOWN TO EXTREME QUALITY
This just felt like a Champions League final. In every sense. It was tense, full of intriguing individual battles and two giant clubs had glittering stars who battled hard for every single inch of the pitch. This wasn’t the goalfest we all expected but that doesn’t mean it was a bad final. It was a enthralling encounter as Bayern controlled the ball, stretched PSG to their limit and PSG were dangerous on the counter attack. This was a fitting finale as Bayern deserved to win the Champions League but PSG pushed them closer than many thought they would. This tactical battle was intense and with everything on the line, every little moment mattered. It was absorbing and everything a final should be.
PSG’S MIDFIELD TRIO EXCEL AS FRONT THREE FALTER
This was a night that Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Angel di Maria will want back. PSG’s star trio didn’t deliver on the biggest stage of all. The vast sums of money their Qatari owners had poured into PSG were mostly focused on Mbappe and Neymar and they missed chances, couldn’t find the correct ball in the final third and squandered plenty of promising counter attacks. The final chance of the game summed it up for PSG as Mbappe found Neymar in the box, who turned and fired just wide. PSG’s players looked to the sky in disbelief.
It was one of those nights for PSG going forward, as the industry of their midfield trio stole the show. They kept Bayern at bay for most of the game as Ander Herrera and Marquinhos battled away to close the gaps and Leandro Paredes did his best to start attacks. PSG’s midfield delivered but the star men failed to fire when their team needed them most. PSG should keep Thomas Tuchel around and even though his substitutions were perplexing, he has PSG heading in the right direction and they’re now much more of a team unit than a mismatch of superstars. This will sting, but PSG will be back in the latter stages of the UCL soon.