Bayern Munich vs PSG - Preview
What a tie this will be! A rematch of the 2020 Champions League final is on the horizon as the German Champions meet the French Champions in a potentially enthralling quarter final.
Bayern Münich were 1-0 winners in Lisbon last summer to lift their sixth Champions League. New manager Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping to guide his team to revenge against their German opposition. PSG will be hoping Neymar will be back fully fit, so the onus isn’t all on the shoulders of Kylian Mbappe. The Young Frenchman is PSG’s biggest threat in front of goal with a non-penalty expected goals and assists (1.2) which is the best of any forward in the Champions League. In order to unleash Mbappe, PSG will want to make amends for their performance last season against Bayern when they were unable to cause problems to Bayern’s extremely high defensively line. If PSG can find the space in behind the back line, the speed of Mbappe, Neymar and Everton Loanee Moise Kean may provide Pochettino’s side a great chance of progressing to the semi-finals.
But with Bayern’s super high defensive line comes a world class sweeper-keeper. Over the last two seasons, Manuel Neuer has put himself back in the bracket of the best goalkeepers on the planet. Neuer has registered 1.2 defensive actions outside the penalty area (per 90 mins) in the Champions League this season, the most of any goalkeeper still in the competition, unsurprisingly.
Despite Bayern being a different kettle of fish in Europe, it is clear to see they aren’t as defensively sound as they were in the previous campaign, giving PSG’s attack areas to exploit. Last season, the quality of chances they conceded in the Bundesliga was 1.01xG per game, which was the lowest in the German top-flight. But this year they’ve dropped to 6th, with their xG rising to 1.23.
The European Champions may have an issue in another area of their team with Lewandowski set to miss the Quarter Final legs. The Polish International is Europe’s top goal scorer in all competitions. He is no doubt the one player who Bayern look for to get them goals, but Hansi Flick will be confident other plays can step up in Lewandowski’s absence and deliver. In the Champions League, Bayern have had goals coming from all angles, with 11 different non-penalty scorers across this seasons Champions League campaign.
Contrary to PSG, who have left their goalscoring down to Neymar (5), Mbappe (4) and Moise Kean (3). Could this over reliance be their Achilles heel?
Regardless of Robert Lewandowski’s absence, this is still a clash with an unbelievable array of talent on show. Mouthwatering battles across the pitch. Two League Champions. Last years finalists. One of the favourites has to go.
Hansi Flick on facing PSG:
“There are only strong opponents in the quarter-finals. It’s the best eight in Europe against each other, so it’ll be important to really play both games at the highest level.”
“We’ve just shown in the Champions League how we can play football when we’re absolutely focused on what is possible and last season, but also this season, we’ve put in top performances.”
Pochettino on facing Bayern:
"Bayern are not just Lewandowski, who is a massive player but the real strength of Bayern is the collective."
The Argentine insists there is no inferiority complex against the Bavarians, who defeated the Parisians in last year's final.
"Bayern are not an easy team, they are the reigning European champions. But there is no need to have an inferiority complex," he said.
"We will go to Munich with respect, but with the objective of qualifying for the semi finals."