Bayern are in the Champions League final having scored their 158th goal of the season – but despite the presence of the thrilling Alphonso Davies, can they beat PSG playing like this?
As predicted, Bayern Munich are in the Champions League final after falling at this stage four years of the last six.
Their 3-0 win over Lyon probably looked quite comprehensive on paper, but their performance wasn’t quite as convincing as all that.
They face PSG in the final on Sunday, but despite their attacking prowess (they scored their 158th goal of the season against Lyon) there were enough signs in their performance to suggest problems ahead.
James Horncastle said on the latest Summer Special edition of The Totally Football Show: “I thought while watching this game: ‘Bayern won’t win the Champions League playing that way.’ You look at that high [defensive] line they have and you look at who they’re coming up against: I suspect that Kylian Mbappe in particular will think he can get at Bayern.
“The big takeaway from tonight is that Bayern are vulnerable. And if there’s a team you don’t want to come up against when you’ve got a backline like they have, it’s PSG.”
Bayern have only been behind for 22 minutes in 2020, but as Daniel Storey pointed out, that’s not necessarily an entirely good thing.
“It’s a slightly double-edge statistic: yes, it indicates they’ve had a huge amount of dominance, but there are benefits to having gone behind & fought back. We said this about Manchester City: their biggest weakness is an inability to react after going behind. Bayern have been fortunate against Lyon and Barcelona not to have gone behind.
“It will be interesting to see what happens, if that does happen – particularly against PSG, whose defence this season has been much better than in previous seasons. It should be a brilliant final, but especially so if PSG score first early and Bayern have to come out and attack them more. It will be ‘basketball’ football.”
Still, while there might be doubts about their defence and broader mental fortitude, they do at least have the phenomenon that is Alphonso Davies.
“Potentially Davies could become the youngest defender to win the Champions League/European Cup, which is extraordinary given where he was two years ago,” said Daniel Storey.
“This is a kid who’s 19-years-old, who less than two years ago was playing as a left winger for Vancouver Whitecaps. The most astonishing thing about him is that when you watch him you completely forget how old he is: he’s marauding up the pitch but his recovery pace is astonishing so he gets them out of so many problems. But also there’s such a maturity to his game. He seems to know exactly the right runs to make.
“It will be interesting to see what happens next season when Leroy Sane is there. At the moment Ivan Perisic is happy to nominally start on the left and drift inside, and basically let Davies have the whole flank. That’s not quite what we expect from Sane.”
The fact that Davies is there at all is a testament to how Bayern are run, as James Horncastle pointed out.
“We have this – spot on – perception of them being one of the superclubs (you only have to look at how much money they make), but Lewandowski was a free transfer – the most expensive free transfer of all time – Gnabry cost €8million, then they had the courage to look at what Davies was doing in Canada and think “yeah, we’ll have a bit of that”, when some others dismissed him.
“For all they can go out and spend what they have done on Sane and others, their three match winners against Lyon cost them very little.”
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