Bayern's Robert Lewandowski celebrates (AP photo)
The UEFA Champions League title match between Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich is already being called as a final of the ages and with good reason. The sheer amount of talent in each team makes it a must watch game. Moreover, both consider attack as their best form of defense. Here are six interesting observations ahead of the much awaited encounter at Estadio da Luz in Lisbon
1 - Two champions trying to be the championBoth Bayern and PSG are reigning champions of their respective leagues in Germany and France. It is for the first time since the 1998-99 season that the Champions League will feature two champions battling it out to be the champion. Back in 1998-99, Bayern lost to Manchester United. Mario Basler's early goal was cancelled out by Injury time goals from Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjær to give the Red Devils a 2–1 win.
2 - Battle of two German coaches
Hans-Dieter Flick and Thomas Tuchel will put their tactics to the test in the final. This will be the first time since the 2012-13 season that two German coaches are putting their wits against each other in the Champions League final. Back in 2012-13, it was Jupp Heynckes’s Bayern and Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund. Bayern won the match 2–1 with goals from Mario Mandžukić and Arjen Robben coming either side of an İlkay Gündoğan penalty for Dortmund.
3 - Treble or trouble
Bayern had secured a treble in 2012-13 and Hans-Dieter Flick can repeat the feat this time by beating PSG. Flick is only the sixth person to play for and manage the same side in a Champions League final. The former midfielder had played in Bayern's 2-1 defeat to Porto in the 1987 final. However, Flick could be the first of the six to lose in the final as both player and manager at a single club.
4 - First timers PSG and seasoned BavariansPSG are in the Champions League final for the first time in the club’s history. After 25 long years, the Parisians have managed to enter the semi-final stage. The last time PSG entered the semi-finals was in 1994-95 when they lost to AC Milan 3-0 on aggregate.
Meanwhile, the German giants are advancing further than the semi-final stage for the first time since winning the trophy in 2012-13. After winning the title last time, they lost four straight semi-final ties between 2013-14 and 2016-17.
5 - Recent history is not kind to PSG
Recent history of the Champions League has not been kind to first-time finalists. All six of the last first-time Champions League finalists have lost their debut finals appearance. Tottenham lost to Liverpool in 2019, Chelsea lost to Manchester United in 2008, Arsenal lost to Barcelona in 2006, Monaco lost to Porto in 2004, Bayer Leverkusen lost to Real Madrid in 2002 and Valencia also lost to Real Madrid in 2000.
However, in 1997, Borussia Dortmund had defeated Juventus 3-1 in their first ever Champions League final.
6 - There will be goals
PSG vs Bayern promises goals. The Germans have been scoring for fun in the Champions League. They won all six of their group stage matches scoring 25 against 5. In the round of 16, they demolished Chelsea 7-1 on aggregate. Their 8-2 humiliation of Barcelona in the 90 minute quarter-final is being referred to as the most dominant display in club football in modern history. But in the semi-final against this year’s surprise package Lyon, they struggled early on but came out 3-0 winners in the end
The French have not been on such scintillating form but they are a force to be reckoned with. They won five out of their six group stage matches with the only draw against Real Madrid in the away leg. They got the better of Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16 and Atalanta in the semi-final. But they showed their class comprehensively beating RB Leipzig 3-0 in the semi-final.
No matter how it ends, it will be an exciting game of football.