Leading up to the finals, PSG were underdogs with an itch to scratch. The French side had seen elimination during quarter finals consecutively between 2012 and 2016. Bayern on the other hand had a remarkable progression to the finals, with eleven wins in and an enviable 43 goals to its name. Only one team would raise the trophy, and the finals were set for either PSG and Bayern, or PSG and Lyon. Thought they equally had epic performances leading up to the long-awaited game, who would rise to the occasion? Goal scoring had become a walk in the park for both sides.
So what about the UEFA final?
PSG’s star player Neymar could not hide his frustration after his team lost quite devastatingly so, to Bayern Munich this past month. Both teams had good odds in favor of winning, but the better team won, in glorious form too. From the outset, the two teams seemed destined for a memorable game, but the first half would highlight some major drawbacks to PSG’s defensive side. For a team that spends large amounts of money purchasing top-notch players, the pool of talent did not provide what fans had hoped for.
First Half Highlights
Anyone who managed to watch the UEFA final noticed the French team’s drive at the beginning of the match. Neymar and Mbappe missed opportune moments to curb the intensity of goals from Bayern later in the game. Only eighteen minutes into the game, Neymar had fans everywhere gasping as he approached goal but failed to net his kick. The performances of both Neymar and Mbappe were dismal to say the least, as players everywhere expected a goal or two to cement their standing in the first half. This was the first time PSG had made it to the finals, with high expectations from managers and fans alike.
Unfortunately, the lack of defensive skills on the part of PSG was exhibited fully in this final. Long balls from players on the French side were a problem too, as counter attacks from Bayern Munich intercepted many balls meant for PSG players. A noteworthy point is that Munich did in fact take note of these flaws earlier on in the game, but they still could not find the net until much later during the second half. The odds were considerably in Bayern’s favor, also considering that they were the only team to have realized over 40 goals while in a Champions League campaign.
Form – Who had it better?
Bayern stuck to its usual 4-2-3-1 structure while PSG applied a 4-2-3- formation. Whether this played a part in their losing cannot be verified. However, Bayern’s counter attacks proved too much for PSG, seeing as short passes came into play when it seemed long balls were providing counter-productive. The team was hard-pressed to find any player to net a goal, and it would prove devastating for them in the end.
Neuer, goalkeeping for Bayern had an amazingly great time and remarkable performances. Manuel was incredible in the first and second half, and might just earn himself the best goalkeeping performance in UEFA finals. PSG’s midfield had it particularly difficult when defending the opposition’s counterattacks. With time, their weaknesses were exploited to the fullest, leading to KIngsley Coman’s header in the second half.
Guts and Glory
Bayern Munich is a team filled with history and tradition, and it cemented its place as one of the best football teams the world has to offer. PSG seems to have spent a lot of money, specifically from Qatari investors, to purchases elite players, but these players left little to be desired. It was all glory for Bayern Munich, and PSG’s guts didn’t get them as far as they had imagined. Even with Di’ Maria on the field, it seemed impossible that they would see a draw (or win) before ninety minutes.
Both teams had fouls and claims for penalties as would be expected in any game, especially a final. Neymar was bamboozled a few times, and even sandwiched at some point by a few Bayern players. Both Neymar and Mbappe seemed to drop at a whim, which didn’t work out too well for them if they were seeking free kicks. The French team seemed to depend entirely on Neymar to make winning plays, while their opponents went all out in a bid to achieve what they came for.
The Bavarians have an already outstanding football team as it is, and from the looks of it, they may be adding brilliant players to their squad next season. Leroy Sane, Hernandez Lucas and Niklas Sule will make valuable additions to an already threatening squad. That being said, who is to say how Thomas Tuchel will inspire his team in the upcoming seasons, or what purchases are in store for this elaborate team. The final did however put one thing into perspective. Spending ridiculous amounts of money on a team doesn’t produce results: talent does