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Champions League Final: Europe’s Biggest Competition Concludes

Champions League Final

Two European giants with treble aspirations will line up across from each other today with one goal in mind: end the 2019/20 season with a trophy. With both long having secured their respective league and domestic tournament titles, club football’s ultimate prize is on the line. Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich will face off in the UEFA Champions League Final in Lisbon. Both clubs defeated the other’s league-mate in the semifinal. For Bayern, this is a chance at another treble, their first since 2013. For PSG, this is their first ever Champions League Final. They will be looking to make all the money spent by their owner, the Qatari ruler, worthwhile.

Before previewing the final, let’s take a look back at last week’s semifinal matchups, both of which featured a German club taking on a French club. (Side note: predictions made for the semifinal were much better than the ones for the quarterfinal)

RB Leipzig 0 – 3 PSG

Simply put, it was domination from the French champions. Ángel Di María came back from suspension and had a hand in all three goals. He scored one and assisted two. Marquinhos started the scoring, with Juan Bernat putting in the third. It made sense that Di María felt so comfortable in Lisbon, as he played there for three years and won a Champions League with Real Madrid there.

Champions League Final
PSG’s front three ran rings around Leipzig. Will they do the same against the German champions? (via psgtalk.com)

One of the bigger surprises of the game was how long Kylian Mbappé played in the match. It was known before the game that he would likely be unable to play the full 90 minutes, so 86 minutes seemed unlikely for the young star. Between the injury and the fact that PSG were winning by so much so early, the smart play seemed to be to sit Mbappé a little earlier.

Despite the injury, it was clear that Mbappé’s presence elevated the PSG attack. A front three of the Frenchmen, Di María and Neymar puts fear in the hearts of any opponent. It was more than enough to overcome the third-place Bundesliga club; will it be enough to beat the German champions?

Lyon 0 – 3 Bayern Munich

The Bayern Munich Champions League reign of terror continued. Tony Pulis was made to look like a fool again, as Serge Gnabry netted two. Arsenal fans must be kicking themselves wondering how the club could have let him get away. Robert Lewandowski added to Gnabry’s first-half goals, making it a 3-0 game in the 88th minute. Right back Joshua Kimmich assisted twice.

Champions League Final
Can Serge Gnabry stir up another top performance in the Champions League Final? (via bundesliga.com and Getty)

Can anyone stop Bayern in this tournament? In the knockout rounds, they have a 7-1 aggregate win, an 8-2 win and now a 3-0 win. While these results would be impressive enough against Bundesliga opponents, these were against some of the biggest clubs in the world. Bayern reduced Chelsea, Barcelona and Lyon (along with Tottenham in the group stage) to unimpressive messes. Remember, Barcelona’s loss against Bayern reportedly prompted Lionel Messi to declare his desire to leave the team.

As for Lyon, the question becomes where they go from here. Despite being Champions League semifinalists, they won’t return to the competition next year. In fact, because of their seventh-place Ligue Un finish, they won’t even make the Europa League. With rumors of Houssem Aouar wanting out, will they be able to keep guys like Moussa Dembélé from wanting the same? The smart money says probably not, as top players want European football. Lyon finished a disappointing seventh place in the league last season. Was this semifinal run a last gasp at glory before a fall from grace?

Champions League Final: Bayern Munich vs PSG 8/23 3:00 pm ET

Both Champions League finalists began their reign of terror in their domestic leagues during the 2012/13 season. Since then, Bayern Munich has won every Bundesliga title and PSG has won all but one in Ligue Un. AS Monaco is the only club to best them in that time, winning the 2016/17 title. While Bayern has been dominant the entire tournament, it could be argued PSG is lucky to be here.

The Parisians quarterfinal win over Italian side Atalanta seemed unlikely throughout the game. A 26th minute Atalanta goal separated the two sides until the 90th minute. Marquinhos tied the game, and after 92 minutes, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting slotted home the winner. Of course, since then Di María returned and Mbappé seems to be almost fully fit, so they’re a completely different team.

Bayern’s domination has, of course, been well documented, but don’t expect the blowouts to continue. PSG are one of the best sides in the world. Despite that, it seems likely that it will be the German side who completes their treble.

Prediction: Bayern 2 – 1 PSG

Bonus: Europa League Final: Sevilla 3 – 2 Inter Milan

For the fourth time since 2014 and the sixth time in club history, Sevilla have won the UEFA Europa League. Inter’s Romelu Lukaku scored one for both sides, Diego Godín scored another for the losers and Luuk de Jong added the other two for the Spanish side. Sevilla will hope that this year’s Europa League victory will finally translate into Champions League success.

 

Make sure to check out our soccer page for more updates!

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1 comment

Transfer Window and Champions League Roundup: Week 1 First Look August 27, 2020 at 10:23 pm

[…] this one was a nail biter for the German side. While many pundits predicted a high scoring game (though TGH did not), it was a cagey affair. The strong attacks from both sides were subdued. In the end though, Bayern […]

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