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Match awards from Bayern Munich’s heart-breaking 3-2 loss to PSG

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PSG emerge victors in a first leg tie where Bayern largely dominated proceeding, but left a lot to be desired on the scoring front.

FC Bayern Munich v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: Leg One Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Bayern Munich, the reigning UCL champions went into this fixture without two key components of their attack: Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry. It was never going to be easy against PSG, a side feared for their attacking football and the potency of their star players. That being said, Bayern took a lot of motivation from last year’s UCL run and a lot of determination with them, and dominated PSG for large periods of the game.

Sure, we could’ve done without the three conceded goals, but defense hasn’t exactly been a strong point for Bayern this season, and the defending by the entire defense was pretty shambolic for all 3 goals. That being said, the Bavarians displayed nerves of steel and a winning mentality when they fought back, but alas, things didn’t go their way.

Without further ado, here are the match awards:

Jersey Swap: Keylor Navas

This man is the main reason why PSG are still in this tie, taking home a significant advantage. Sure, Neymar was superb, being the orchestrator of both goals, and Kylian Mbappe was also really active up front, but Navas’ heroics at the other end is the reason PSG didn’t get knocked out within the first half.

Navas made six superb saves from point blank range and kept the Bayern attack at bay in the first 45 minutes, and replicated this performance with another splendid showing in the second half. Bayern had a total of 31 (!!!) shots this game, and Navas is the reason why at least 15 of them stayed out of the net. Bayern fans are familiar with the magic he’s capable of producing, as he continues to be a bogey man for the Bavarians in the knockout stages.

Honorary mention — Kylian Mbappe: Mbappe roasted the Bayern defense with a brace, and his second goal was a really well taken solo effort that proved the matchwinner and provides PSG a huge advantage heading into the second leg.

Der Bomber: Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting

Choupo-Moting’s goal was great. It was important in getting Bayern back into the game. However, the striker was at the receiving end of a host of chances today, and there was a feeling that he could certainly have done better with a lot of them. That being said, the Bayern wingers had a poor game, and the onus was on he and Thomas Müller to make up for it, which was always going to be difficult.

The Bayern striker gave his best. He was always buzzing up front, trying to get at the end of through balls and chips, but to no avail. His goal was well taken, but aside from that, the team really missed it’s main player, Robert Lewandowski. But yeah, EMCM gets an A for the effort.

Fußballgott: Thomas Müller

In a game where Bayern’s wingers left a lot to be desired, Müller stepped up and had a really good game. He popped up in half spaces in typical Raumdeuter fashion, and ghosted past the defense on several occasions, only to be denied by Navas, who had a superhuman outing.

Heavily involved in every move forward, Müller also tracked back often to help with the defense. This was a complete performance from the player, who still seemed to miss Lewandowski on the night. This was another one of those games where Bayern managed to generate countless chances, but left a lot to be desired on the scoring front. Great game overall from the Bavarian native.

Der Kaiser: Manuel Neuer

With none of the defenders actually defending, Neuer, as always had to step up for Bayern’s biggest game of the season so far. In the first half, almost everyone watching the game must’ve been flabbergasted by the way Neuer conceded Bayern’s first, but the goalkeeper didn’t let that get to his head, and put in a really good performance in the second half, saving the Bayern defense from quite a few scares.

We can’t expect the man to save every goal. That is close to impossible when you’re up against Neymar, Mbappe and Di Maria on your own. On this day, when Bayern’s defending was bleaker than Schalke’s chances of surviving in the Bundesliga, Neuer kept his own, and that’s why he gets the award.

Meister of the Match: Joshua Kimmich

What a player. This man’s sheer will power can carry Bayern. He was the best player on the pitch, hands down. Impeccable passing, superb interplay and pinpoint crossing summarize his buildup game, while he was also quite good on the defensive front, serving as an outlet to alleviate pressure from the PSG front line. He has been likened to a hungry Rottweiler roaming on the pitch in the past, and that’s what I saw today.

It is unfortunate that the match didn’t end in Bayern’s favour, but if the team is to spring a comeback in the second leg, they would require this man in full form, because he’s the engine that drives this team.