Six-time Champions League winner Bayern Munich beat Paris Saint Germain in a thrilling first leg pre-quarter at the Parc De Princess. The match’s lone goal came from the boots of Paris-born former PSG academy player Kingsley Coman in the 53rd minute. His goal two years ago gave Bayern their 6th Champions League title, denying PSG’s first ever.
The big profile UCL match started with a flurry of Bavarian attacks while PSG struggled to get hold of the ball. PSG played with a 4-4-2 formation with Messi and Neymar upfront, whereas Choupo Moting was the lone striker for the Bavarians. Christopher Galtier did not include the star striker Kylian Mbappe in the starting eleven, as he had recently recovered from a thigh injury. Bayern controlled the first half giving constant headaches to the PSG backline. Despite having the legendary combo of Messi and Neymar, PSG failed to hit a shot on target in the first half.
In the second half, Galtier changed underperforming right back Achraf Hakimi for Presnel Kimpembe. Nagelsmann brought a half-time substitute, Alphonso Davies, in place of Jao Cancelo. The match’s lone goal came from a howler by PSG goalkeeper Donnarumma. A well-whipped Alphonso Davies cross found Coman, who took the shot for the first time. It looked like an easy catch for the PSG shot-stopper, but he made a mess of it, and the ball went past him. PSG brought Mbappe for Carlos Soler, and the PSG found themselves in the driving seat. Mbappe’s pace wreaked havoc in the Bayern backline as a Nuno Mendes and Kylian Mbappe move looked to have given an equaliser for PSG, only to have called off for offside by VAR (Video Assistant Refereeing) later. Bayern went into a defensive mode for the last quarter, in which Mbappe and Messi failed to break the Bavarian defence. In the match’s closing stages, Benjamin Pavard received a red card for a horrific tackle on Lionel Messi. Referee Michael Oliver didn’t hesitate to book the French man for the second time giving him his marching orders. Pavard will miss the second leg in Munich due to suspension. PSG’s first-leg defeat over Bayern earned them their fifth defeat of the year, one more than the entire 2022. The second leg of this clash will happen on March 8th at Allianz Arena, the home ground of FC Bayern Munich. Tough competition awaits PSG in the Ligue1 as they have to face Lille and Marseille in the next two matches.
PSG’s worst run of form may have raised concerns over Galtier’s future as PSG gaffer, but a decision will be based on the progress of PSG in the Champions League. A news report from Le Equippe came last week suggesting a dressing room clash between Neymar and other teammates over their French Cup defeat over Marseille. PSG will have to change their attitude on and off the pitch to pull off a remarkable comeback against Bayern Munich next month. It will be interesting to see how Mbappe will be handled in the match.
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