It has been a long seven years for Bayern Munich. They were constantly losing to Spanish clubs in the Champions League knockout rounds and falling short of the Champions League Final. Today, they broke through and defeated Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 in the UCL Final to win their sixth UCL trophy.
In a matchup of heavyweights and league champions, PSG were the ones with the early opportunities to take the lead. Kylian Mbappe had several opportunities to strike but his shots were blocked by Bayern’s backline. The first great chance for PSG came in the 18th minute. Mbappe set up Neymar with a well-placed through pass, but Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer saved it to keep the match scoreless.
Four minutes later, it was Bayern’s turn to have a great chance to score as star striker Robert Lewandowski’s shot bounced off the post.
Bayern would suffer adversity as minutes later, long-time veteran defender Jerome Boateng went down with an injury and was helped off the pitch. Niklas Sule was subbed in to replace Boateng.
As the first half continued, both Mbappe and Lewandowski had shots saved by their respective opposing goalkeepers. Right before the half, Bayern Kingsley Coman went down in the penalty box but no foul was called.
The second half began with scuffles with Serge Gnabry and Leandro Paredes picked up yellow cards.
In the 59th minute, Coman, who came from the PSG youth academy, buried a header off Joshua Kimmich’s cross past PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas to give Bayern a 1-0 lead.
In the 70th minute, Marquinhos, who scored in PSG’s last two matches, had a great chance for the equalizer similar to the quarterfinals win over Atalanta. However, Neuer kept it out with another incredible save.
PSG struggled to maintain possession late in the match as they looked for the equalizer to keep their hopes alive. Neymar and Mbappe set up a great chance in the 92nd minute on the counterattack but Neymar’s shot went wide.
Neymar could not set up another goal as Bayern killed the clock late. Bayern kept control and ran out the clock. Bayern Munich won the match 1-0 to become champions of Europe, their sixth Champions League trophy and first since 2013.
For PSG, they lost but they gave everything they had. They set up great chances and fought to make every possession count. Neymar and Mbappe, the two most expensive transfers of all-time, were unable to deliver for PSG. They sorely missed long-time striker Edinson Cavani who left for SL Benfica this summer. Bayern’s superiority at the midfield and backline showed as PSG lost the possession battle 62-38%. This was further highlighted as PSG’s only chances to score late were on counterattacks. It was a great run for PSG but they simply were not good enough.
Bayern are the champions, paying off a long journey back to the top of the mountain. Ever since their last title in 2013, Bayern has had a string of failure, consistently losing to Spanish clubs in the knockout round. This season, they looked nowhere near at the level of UCL champions as on Nov. 2, 2019, they lost 5-1 to Eintracht Frankfurt and were four points below Borussia Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga table. They sacked manager Niko Kovac after the match, naming Hansi Flick as their new manager.
Bayern built themselves back into the Bundesliga lead and once play restarted in May, they dominated everyone, winning every match in all competitions. In the UCL this season, they averaged 4.3 goals per match, an insane number. They were the best all-around club and proved it by notching a clean sheet against arguably the best front line in Europe. Hats off to 34-year-old Neuer for making some incredible saves, keeping PSG off the score sheet.
Bayern won the treble by winning the Bundesliga, the DFB-Pokal and the Champions League. Robert Lewandowski finally won the UCL after falling short in 2013 as a member of Borussia Dortmund (lost 2-1 to Bayern). As we transition into the 2020-21 season, there is no doubt who the best club team in the world is, Bayern Munich.