Paris Saint-Germain 0-1 Bayern Munich
The Champions League Final – the pinnacle of football (nowadays even more so than the FIFA World Cup, according to this SBOBET observer) and an occasion to savour and light up Lisbon.
For those pundits and fans who expected goals galore, the occasion was always going to be far too important for that.
A clean sheet was paramount for whoever was going to triumph and so chances were limited – there was certainly going to be no repeat of the stand-out result of this season’s tournament that we had witnessed nine days earlier.
Yet when the breakthrough arrived, for all the permutations available, the Champions League betting odds would surely not have predicted a Frenchman playing for Bayern Munich against the French champions.
This contest was billed by some as a shoot-out between the perfection-seeking Robert Lewandowski and the Brazilian captain Neymar.
The supporting cast was top drawer too with the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Thomas Muller and Angel di Maria amongst the standout names.
So, few would have expected a Frenchman playing his trade in Germany to deliver the coup de grace.
But cometh the hour, cometh the man!
Fifty-nine minutes were on the clock when Joshua Kimmich lifted a perfectly flighted ball into the box and there was Kingsley Coman to head expertly across goal and into the net.
It was Bayern Munich’s 500th UEFA Champions League goal – a fitting milestone for a fitting triumph.
They are the champions of Europe again.
Highlights of the game
Throughout, Champions League highlights fluctuated from start to finish as Manuel Neuer blocked Neymar’s effort and Lewandowski was denied by a post inside the opening 22 minutes.
Bayern suffered a blow when Jerome Boateng (a doubt before kick-off) had to leave the field with an injury, moments after di Maria fired dangerously close to Neuer’s goal again with the centre back struggling.
Then Keylor Navas, a three-time winner of the competition with Real Madrid, kept Lewandowski out as the play moved from one end to the other at breakneck speed.
One of the key moments came just before the break as Neuer stopped Mbappe who had just the keeper to beat following a one-two with Ander Herrera.
By the next time the German number one was called into full stretch again, Bayern were ahead.
This time it was di Maria who was the provider with a world-class reverse pass into the path of Marquinhos whose shot was destined for the corner until Neuer repelled it.
It was another key moment as was the block Presnel Kimpembe made to somehow deny Lewandowski after he was found by goalscorer Coman.
Navas also had to be alert to come off his line and get to the ball before substitute Philippe Coutinho who then was inches away from the second.
As passionate crowds watched on in Munich and Paris – an initial ban on PSG Germain fans wearing their team’s shirt in the city centre of fierce rivals Marseille was rescinded following widespread criticism – the tension increased.
However, there was to be no fairytale finish for PSG on the day exactly 50 years after they played their first-ever competitive game (1-1 v Poitiers in the French Second Division, on August 23, 1970).
This was a victory for establishment over new money, for a side stronger and fitter against a team playing only its fifth competitive game in as many months.
The first side in European Cup/Champions League history to win 100% of their games in a single campaign, en route to lifting the trophy (11 wins), they have been simply flawless.
Bayern Munich are only the second club to have won the treble for the second time in their history (2013 and 2020) after Barcelona (2009 and 2015).
After winning their 11th European Cup/Champions League Final, Bayern are now joint third with Liverpool (six triumphs) behind only Real Madrid (13) and AC Milan (seven).
Bayern have scored 43 goals in 11 games in this season’s Champions League, with only Barcelona in 1999-2000 scoring more in a single campaign (45), although they played 16 games that season.
Bayern boss Hansi Flick is only the sixth person to play for and manage the same side in a European Cup/Champions League final, after Miguel Munoz (Real Madrid), Vicente del Bosque (Real Madrid), Carlo Ancelotti (AC Milan), Pep Guardiola (Barcelona) and Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid). Flick played in Bayern’s surprise 2-1 defeat to FC Porto in 1987 final. and could be the first of the six to lose as both a player and manager at a single club.
This was the first time Bayern and PSG had met in a knockout match. Their eight previous clashes, all in the Champions League group stages, saw five PSG victories and three for Bayern.
This was PSG’s first-ever European Cup/Champions League Final, becoming the 41st different team to reach the showpiece final. The previous six sides competing in their first-ever final also lost, with the last first-time winner being Borussia Dortmund in 1997 against Juventus.
This was also PSG’s first European final since the 1997 European Cup Winners’ Cup when they were beaten by Barcelona.
And that concludes the 2019/20 season.
It’s a quick turnaround now to the new campaign for both sides.
Before European football resumes for either of these teams, Bayern will play Europa League winners Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup Final in Budapest on September 24.
PSG begin their Ligue 1 title defence next Saturday at newly-promoted Lens.
Bayern launch their Bundesliga defence at home to Schalke on September 18.
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