Bayern Munich will be facing PSG in the Champions League quarterfinals, and one can’t help but think that the Bavarians have landed the most difficult path to the finals. PSG, who were UCL finalists last year, only to fall to Bayern by a single goal are a team with incredible attacking ability and a top quality squad.
PSG’s coach, Pochettino, has some scores of his own that he will be looking to settle with Bayern, the side that eventually cost him his job after a 7-2 drubbing of the coach’s former club Tottenham Hotspurs, in London. So, Bayern will be facing a top team with both the players and the coach having a chip on their shoulder and some scores to settle. What is there to look forward to in this tie, then?
Here are 5 reasons why PSG is a good draw for Bayern:
We’ve done it before
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. This Bayern team knows how to beat PSG, because they did it less than a year ago. Coach Hansi Flick and his Bayern machine produced a thoroughly dominant and impressive display against the Parisians in the final of the Champions League last season, managing to do so despite PSG having all their star players.
This would hence be familiar territory for Die Roten, who would fancy their chances even more across two legs. Granted, PSG now have a new manager who has focused on stabilizing the defensive aspects of PSG’s game, and the side could be harder to break down now, but one could argue that Bayern’s attack is functioning even better than it did last season with the addition of Sané, Lewandowski’s otherworldly form and Müller deadlier in the centre than ever before. Bayern would be the team to back in this tie.
Fortune favours the brave
Many football fans and analysts noted that this year’s knockout brackets were quite lopsided in terms of team quality. 3 of the top 4 clubs who are favourites to win it all — Bayern, PSG and Man City find themselves in the same bracket. The PSG game would undoubtedly be an uncomfortable starting point for Bayern, but perhaps this is for the best.
PSG are a great team, and we can assume that had Bayern avoided them this time around, they would’ve qualified against every club other than Man City. Bayern could then have been in a situation to face them at a later stage in the competition. Bayern facing PSG this early and beating them would be tremendous for the team’s confidence and could be exactly what the team needs to push them to another UCL title.
Considering Bayern will have to face City or Dortmund if they qualify, a win would serve as a boost to propel the Bavarians through the murky waters right to the summit of European football.
Acid test for the Bayern defense
A huge concern in the minds of most fans would undoubtedly be the state of the Bayern defense before heading into the tie. Bayern haven’t been good at the back end this season, managing to keep only six clean sheets in the Bundesliga. This could prove a huge problem when facing the best teams of Europe in the latter stages of the UCL.
David Alaba, Niklas Süle, Jerome Boateng and Lucas Hernandez would all need to be at the top of their game to ensure that Bayern are able to keep things tight at the back. Davies and Pavard would also have a lot of work to do on the flanks to shut down the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, who will be ready to punish even the smallest of errors. ‘Yikes!’, you say? Well, consider this THE test for the Bayern defense. If they are able to keep things watertight against PSG, they can be confident of being able to stop anybody.
This tie would heavily rely on how well the defense fares against PSG’s blistering attack. With Mauro Icardi and Moise Kean also finding top form, PSG are stacked up front, so the onus is on Bayern to ensure that they put in the best of defensive displays. Of course, it is likely that Manuel Neuer will be kept quite busy, but here’s to hoping he puts in another two shifts like the one in the final last year. Der Kapitän and his team at the back really need to bring their A game for this one.
The home advantage
Had Bayern drawn any of the English clubs, they would’ve had to play in a neutral venue due to Germany’s strict regulations against travel to and from the UK. Once again, we would’ve missed seeing Die Roten play in our stadium, the Allianz Arena. As someone who firmly believes that the home advantage can play a crucial role in knockout competitions, this could turn out really good for Bayern, if the team manages to take the game away in the first leg, making a comeback near-impossible.
Bayern are unbeaten at home this season, so they will be looking to carry their imperious home form forward with another top display against the Parisians. Plus, there’s also something very beautiful and appealing about a UCL knockout tie at the Allianz, with the beautiful lighting and the imposing presence of the colour red all over.
Agent Choupo Moting
When Bayern signed PSG’s best player last summer, many fans weren’t convinced. “Yes, he did single handedly carry PSG to a victory against Atalanta, but is he a Bayern quality striker?” asked some. And to that I say: yes, he is a great backup, but his role goes much beyond that. I know this is going to sound crazy, but I believe coach Flick had already foreseen Bayern’s ties with PSG, and hence pressed the board to sign their striker.
Choupo Moting knows the ins and outs of this PSG team. He had a close relationship with most of the players, and possibly knows what’s going in their minds and how they might be preparing themselves for the tie. He is Bayern’s agent — employed to use his past experience and some digging to give the team access to secrets that could help bring down the French outlet. And something tells me that he might even play a significant role in Bayern’s victory, if they manage to down the Parisians.
So to sum it all up, yeah, we could certainly have a far easier draw (any club other than City would’ve been an easier task) but at this stage, you cannot complain, you just have to be ready to face the best. And I believe Flick will have his machines ready and raring to pounce on PSG when the time comes.
Here’s to hoping another famous victory against the French side is in the books.
Mia san mia.