When Hansi Flick looks to create his starting XI for the UEFA Champions League Finale vs Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday, he will have several difficult squad choices to make. Is Benjamin Pavard ready to start, or should Flick stay with Kimmich at right-back? Does Niklas Süle replace Jerome Boateng at center-back, even though he has been nothing short of a rock for Bayern since the restart? Should Ivan Perišić start again, or would Kingsley Coman be the better choice against PSG? And what about Thiago and Goreztka? Which of our midfielders do we sit if Kimmich returns to the no. 6 spot as anticipated? We here at BFW have decided to examine these questions and pick our own preferred starting XI for the Finale on Sunday.
I seem to be the only one here that would rather have Thiago in over Goreztka and the reason being is quite simple. PSG will score goals on us. When you look at the plethora of attacking options they have — Neymar, Mbappé, Icardi, and Di Maria — it’s hard not to feel that it’s a certainty. That being said, Bayern’s attack and midfield vs PSG’s defense and midfield are watering. With the assumption that Kimmich returns to his preferred No. 6 spot, Bayern will need an offensive maestro and that’s Thiago. There is no better passer on the team. PSG will look to counter-attack with lightning speed. To counter those attempts, Bayern will need someone to quickly bring the ball back out and that player is Thiago. Having Goreztka on the bench is just pure luxury, as he could be a deciding player if/when he comes on.
On the wings, although I think Perišić has been great, his slower speed will not mesh well with that of PSG. That’s the only reason I have Coman starting. Perišić has more defensive acumen, but that could be something for the preservation of a lead.
As for the defense, Süle looked solid in his spot appearance vs Lyon. Quick, always in the right position, and he slid right in with Alaba. With news that Boateng suffered a minor injury against Lyon, having Süle start now that he’s healthy seems to be the better option. I like Süle’s skill set better against the lightning speed of Mbappé and Neymar. Overall, I think these changes will help Bayern counter the speed of PSG to great effect.
Should Pavard be ready to start, he should play at right-back to offer that extra level of defense (plus, he might know a bit more about Mbappé considering that they are teammates for France). Kimmich would then be free to unleash his wrath on PSG’s midfield like he has done to so many others. If Pavard is still rusty, though, let Kimmich play. He’s been outstanding at right-back these past few games. Boateng gets the pick over Süle because of his form. He’s been an absolute rock in defense this season, and his experience cancels out his physical limitations, as he’s shown in the past few months.
Süle is just coming off a major injury so I wouldn’t start him in a final unless Boateng’s muscle problems are too serious. As for Ivan Perišić at left wing, I know he wasn’t too impressive against Lyon, but his tracking-back and help in defense will be crucial against the likes of Mbappé, Neymar, and Di Maria. Remember how Jupp Heynckes made Franck Ribery shut down Dani Alves in 2017 when we played PSG? Same logic. Coman would then come in with his pace to finish off the remains. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Hansi’s philosophy has always been focused on playing different tactics with the same players, not the other way around. Because we have such a multi-talented squad at our disposal, we can do it.
Evan J. Vanderpool
Ok, this is a lot of changes for a squad that has played very well the past few games and made it to a Champions League final.
I argued for Pavard to start against Lyon for his steadying defensive presence and we will need it for sure against Paris’ forwards. Same for Süle: Boa has been great, but we need the big man’s speed and size in defense. Hopefully Boateng is healthy and available for the final so he can spell Süle if need be.
Kimmich is an amazing all around player (anybody remember his ridiculous level of play at center back earlier this season?) but his home has been in the midfield with Goretzka. He just plays so much smoother with his countryman beside him. I feel bad pushing out Perisic as he’s been a great player for us, but Coman is undeniably the more electric presence. With the more defensive minded back line we can afford to have our best attacking wingers back in.
This gives us our best position to succeed from the starting whistle, solid defensively and dangerous on the attack.
Pavard should start at the right-back slot as he is the safest option we have. He has been particularly impressive lately, especially in the last stretch of the Bundesliga. We need him to lock down Neymar, and he is our best chance at holding down our right flank.
Süle and Alaba are the right men for the job on Sunday. Süle looked great coming on for Boateng on Wednesday and he is what we need for the game against PSG. Their front three has the potential to devastate our back line and we will need all the quickness we can get. I left Boateng out because his lack of speed will create too many opportunities for PSG’s ruthless attack. On top of this, his injury in the match against Lyon might cause problems.
Kimmich and Goretzka are the clear choices in the midfield. As impressive as Thiago’s stats were against Lyon, Kimmich and Goretzka are the right choices. We need the additional defence that Leon and Joshua can provide. At left wing, I would start Perišić over Coman. Perišić has impressed in all three starts in Lisbon and should start again. I have not been convinced of Coman’s abilities recently. That being said, I would love to see him subbed on in the 60th minute for some added pace.