The Estadio Da Luz, located in the hometown of Cristiano Ronaldo, at the magnificent sporting arena of Sporting Lisbon, will host FC Bayern Munich and PSG in the last game of the footballing calendar. All eyes of the footballing world will be glued to the screen as we promise you an absolute goal-fest.
While Bayern are eyeing their whopping 6th Champions League title, their contenders will fight to win their first. As a matter of fact, this is Paris Saint-Germain (PSG’s) first-ever Champions League finals. But this is football, and football matches aren’t won on stats. Let’s dig a bit deeper and determine who might have that slight edge.
The stakes are higher than ever with a resurgent Bayern side thumping Barcelona and would be fair to add – humiliating them with an 8-2 scoreline. Adding salt to injury, on-loan Barca player, Philippe Coutinho, scored twice and assisted a goal after coming on in the 80th minute. The Barcelona management will probably keep a keen eye on this game because if Bayern does go on to win the Champions League, it will activate a clause in the ex-players contract. The said contract states that if Coutinho wins a Champions League medal in his time at the German club, the Spanish giants will have to pay Bayern approximately $5million.
FC Bayern Munich has been led this season by the exploits of Polish striker, Robert Lewandowski. He has scored 15 goals in just 9 games and goes into the finals with a real shot at surpassing Ronaldo’s record-breaking 17 goals CL season at his hometown. Bayern aren’t a one-man army though, nothing close to it – as they demonstrated in their quarters against the Catalonians. With the pacey and dynamic winger, Gnabry and a solid midfield of Perisic, Muller, and Thiago behind them. Probably the best Bayern Munich side since 2013 – they will look to repeat the same Champions League-winning season.
On the other hand, first-time finalists have reached the biggest stage, thanks in many parts to Kylian Mbappe. The French sensation is from a different generation to his counterpart, Lewandowski. 32-year old Lewandowski had scored 100 goals and won Bundesliga 5 times before Mbappe made his debut at Monaco. What binds them is the tryst for their first Champions League title, and the good news is – the wait will be over for one of them.
Along with Mbappe, PSG boasts the services of Neymar – the Brazilian has exceptional skills at his disposal and would be hungry for a Champions League medal. His shocking move to PSG from Barcelona made him a traitor in the eyes of the Catalonians. The hushed tones suggested he needed to get out of Messi’s shadow and captain his own team to a Champions League win. The Brazilian’s time at PSG has seen a lot of ups-and-downs and probably not the results he anticipated. This might be his chance for redemption. In this contest of Lewandowski vs. Mbappe – Neymar might be the X factor.
While the exploits of the Brazilian superstar and the French sensation is well-known, Di Maria is probably even more critical for the Parisians. He has played a humongous part in their journey. Bayern reject, who is now a starter at Paris, Juan Bernat will have a point or two to prove as well.
I guess our conclusion is none of the teams have even the slightest of edge. While Bayern Munich has a lot of experience at the biggest stage, sometimes the naivety of youth might just blaze through never conquered heights. May the best win!