4️ points as Bayern Munich beat PSG to claim another CL title
- UEFA Champions League
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Bayern Munich claimed their sixth European Cup on Sunday evening as they beat Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 in Lisbon.
Kingsley Coman was the hero of the hour, with his second half header the difference between the two teams.
Here’s what went down on a pulsating night at the Estádio da Luz.
Let’s just say this from the outset – the best team won.
Not just the best team on the night but the best team in Europe post-lockdown and the best team in Europe for almost the entire season.
We say the entire season, because how long ago does October feel now?
That was when Niko Kovac was sacked after an embarrassing 5-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt and Hansi Flick became the surprise successor.
That has turned out to be a masterstroke.
The simple act of playing the best players in the right positions – Thomas Müller says thanks – and re-upping the tempo has turned the Bavarians into the continent’s dominant force again.
This wasn’t their best performance but they were, as the old cliche goes, ruthless in their efficiency, getting the job done with a minimum of fuss.
Kingsley Coman scored the only goal of the game after an incredibly well worked team move and although Manuel Neuer had to come to their rescue on at least two occasions, this was ultimately the right result.
Old Money 1-0 New Money.
Ultimately for PSG this was a game too far as they came up against a side that were simply too much for them.
That’s not to say that they didn’t have their chances.
Neymar forced Neuer into two incredible first half saves, whilst Kylian Mbappé really should have netted when he was clean through in the second period.
But what really swung the encounter were Thomas Tuchel’s substitutions – particularly Julian Draxler’s inclusion at the expense of Ander Herrera.
Herrera had been arguably PSG’s best player up to that point, providing an anchor to the midfield and allowing the attacking elements to roam free.
That switch towards the end of the second half completely opened up the centre of the pitch and saw all the discipline go out of Les Parisiens.
The Qatari ownership may not look on with sympathetic eyes.
We were expecting goals before kick off.
With Bayern having netted eight against Barcelona, Robert Lewandowski going for a single-season Champions League record, and PSG boasting Kylian Mbappé and Neymar in attack, the promise was for an avalanche of goals.
It didn’t quite work out like that, but this was still one of the highest quality finals in recent seasons.
Both sides played out the entirety of the game with a stunning tempo, getting in behind their respective opponents – totally belying the fact that this game is now 13 months into the season.
The technical expertise on show was jaw-dropping at points – that Neymar nutmeg! – and both goalkeepers were at the peak of their powers.
This game was worthy of the occasion, between the two best sides in Europe right now.
We can’t have asked for much more than that.
And a final word please for Thomas Müller and Manuel Neuer.
The most Bayern-ist of Bayern players, who both looked like their time at the club was coming to an end under the previous regime.
Instead, Müller has been reinstated to the team and is once the again the heartbeat of the side, the fulcrum through which everything passes, the man who ran further than any of his team mates.
And Neuer is proving himself to be the very best goalkeeper in Europe once more.
The veterans are showing that you can teach old dogs new tricks – or at least show faith in the old dogs and watch them flourish.
Well played sirs.