As Bayern Munich get set for a decisive clash with Paris Saint-Germain in the coming days, coach Julian Nagelsmann has been thinking about how his team can neutralize the threat of Kylian Mbappe and Leo Messi, two of the premier attacking threats in world football. Speaking to FCBayernTV, the coach outlined ways in which PSG will differ from the first leg in Paris, as well as an overview of his plans to deal with them.
“They (PSG) need at least one goal to level it up. I expect them to apply a lot of pressure from the start,” said Nagelsmann. “In Ligue 1, they often defend deep and play on the counter-attack. Their style of play also depends on who’s fit and can play.”
For the upcoming game, PSG will not be at full strength, as Neymar has officially been ruled out for the rest of the season due to an ankle injury. The Brazilian will undergo surgery which will put him out for 4-5 months. However, Nagelsmann acknowledges that the return of Kylian Mbappe to the starting lineup gives Christophe Galtier a massive boost compared to the first leg in Paris.
“In the first leg they were without Kylian Mbappe at the start, which affected their match plan a little bit,” said the Bayern head coach. “When he came on, they started playing a different way. As I said, I expect it to be much more attacking and open than in Paris.”
“Both we and PSG have enormous pace in attack. We want to get at them when they take possession and be physically present from the first minute. What we need in the second leg is to prevent them from using their pace.”
“If you give their attackers too much space and they can unleash their footballing qualities, it’s incredibly difficult to defend,” concluded Nagelsmann. This, perhaps, explains the reason why Josip Stanisic is set to be preferred to Joao Cancelo for the upcoming game, as the Croatian has better defensive credentials than the Manchester City loanee.
“We’re a very well-structured team,” he continued. “We all want to go far in the Champions League. But in the end, with heavyweights like Bayern and PSG, it’s always form on the day that decides. Both teams are at a similar level in terms of individuals.”
“Both have top stars in their ranks. But our group has a very good sense of being there for each other, of giving everything.”
You can watch the entire interview here on Bayern’s official YouTube channel.