Neymar and Mbappe expose a historically bad defense
Heading into the game, everyone knew that Bayern Munich would have to outscore Paris Saint-Germain to beat them. This is probably one of the worst Bayern defenses ever, certainly the worst in a generation.
Unfortunately, things started off poorly when Kylian Mbappe slotted one home underneath Manuel Neuer early in the first half, with Neymar setting him up. That set the tone for the tie, really. Bayern’s defense could not cope with any of the questions PSG’s attackers asked of them, even after Hansi Flick made substitutions to bolster the backline.
The conditions may have played a part, since Manuel Neuer had his visibility affected by falling snow and the ball was slippery and hard to catch. However, there is simply no excuse for the goals Bayern have been conceding this season. With a proper defense, the team wins this game 2-0 and goes to Paris with an insurmountable lead. Now, Flick’s men have it all to do.
Clipped wings cost Bayern everything
While most of the blame will (rightfully) be put on the defense for all the awful blunders we saw, Bayern’s wingers put up a “disaster-class” of their own. Kingsley Coman and Leroy Sane started on the flanks for the Bavarians, and they seemed determined to waste as many chances as possible.
Aimless dribbling, crosses that go nowhere, layoffs to nobody in particular, and horrendous shooting — these are just some of the complaints that can be leveled at the feet of the wingers on the night. Thomas Muller and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting did literally everything they could to split PSG’s defense apart, but the service they received was abysmal. A few simple crosses would have done the trick — the duo was winning every header in the box. Both of Bayern’s goals came from headers. Why not take the easy route?
It was honestly an abysmal performance from Bayern’s wingers — Serge Gnabry was sorely missed. If it’s fatigue that’s causing this, the coach has to make some tough choices to make for the Union Berlin game.
Hansi Flick gets it all wrong for once
Hansi Flick suffered his first ever defeat in the Champions League, and he fully deserved it. Keeping Alphonso Davies on the bench was a tactical blunder which may have cost Bayern the game, given how the Canadian added tonnes of stability to the backline after he came on. Moving Lucas Hernandez to left center-back was also a much needed tactical adjustment, as the Frenchman looked much more confident in the middle. The first goal might not have happened if he wasn’t so far out of his usual position.
Meanwhile, if the tweet below is to be believed, the coach delayed subbing Goretzka before PSG’s second goal, which was a bad choice in hindsight:
Bayern 0-2 PSG 32’. Hansi Flick tells Jerome Boateng to warm up. Then changes his mind. Tells Alphonso Davies to get ready. Boateng sits back on the bench.— Archie Rhind-Tutt (@archiert1) April 7, 2021
Kimmich furious. “Sub him out man!” Talking about Goretzka who signalled before PSG’s 2nd goal that he had a problem. pic.twitter.com/4Pu3AiXmGj
The final big mistake you can say he made was not subbing on Jamal Musiala for one of the wingers. Both Coman and Sane were running on fumes by the end, with the latter looking especially dire.
This was a strange display from Flick, who is normally so courageous and decisive with his lineups and substitutions. You have to wonder if he’s pulled a reverse Pep — gave into the urge to play it safe instead of going with a more adventurous setup.
It’s sad how this tie went, and the loss will be tough to recover from. Hansi Flick needs to really bring his team together and figure something out, otherwise the dream of retaining the Champions League trophy will end next week.