After winning at the Allianz Arena in the first leg (2-3), PSG must confirm on Tuesday against Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the second leg of the Champions League. The German ogres are certainly weakened, but Paris are used to unsuccessful return matches.
PSG is getting revenge at their fingertips. Paris beat Bayern Munich (1-0) in the Champions League final last August, and Paris can knock out the “Record Records” in the quarterfinals this time. PSG arrives at the Parc des Princes for the return leg with a favorable waiver, between an away win in the first leg (2-3) and a Bayern team decimated by absences. What to calmly think about ranking in the last four? Yes, unless the old Paris demons return …
If the magical attacking duo of Mbappé (two goals) and Neymar (two assists) are on the same level as the first game, if Navas remains the invincible stronghold of their last Champions League encounters and if the team shows the same solidarity as at Allianz Arena, PSG has every chance.
In Bavaria, Paris wrote a chapter that its fans will not forget – despite being closed – for example, George Weah’s 1994 anthological goal against the same adversary. In a team that has not lost 19 matches in the competition, without midfielder Marco Verratti, the men of Mauricio Pochettino have achieved a feat that no French club has achieved since 2009 at the Allianz Arena.
After such a result, the invisibility of the semifinals would be considered a failure. Or even more: the last four times Bayern lost at home in C1, it was against the future winner (Real Madrid in 2014, 2017 and 2018, Liverpool in 2019).
Exploitation or a stroke of luck?
However, Germans should not be buried too quickly. Their defeat in the first game has all the statistical anomaly: the Bavarians had 61 percent of the ball, they shot 31 times on goal – the absolute record this season in the Champions League -, 12 times on target, Paris goalkeeper Keylor Navas performed no less like ten defenses! According to Opta’s statistics, PSG have never received so many shots in the Queen’s competition, at least since the start of those statistics in 2003.
“The football we played tonight was impressive,” even Bavarian coach Hansi Flick said immediately after the match. “We weren’t as efficient at the door as usual (…), but I’m very happy with the team’s performance.”
1 – Records of the winning team in the Champions League elimination match (without extra time):
Suffering shots (since 2003/04): Paris 🇫🇷 against Bayern yesterday (31).
Suffered xG (since 2013/14): Paris 🇫🇷 against Bayern yesterday (3.79).
– OptaJean (@OptaJean) April 8, 2021
“Munich was better than PSG: this defeat is a joke,” the Focus Online website said in agreement with the national press. “Bayern have failed because of their atypical inability to turn opportunities into goals, and their well-known defensive weaknesses.”
Lothar Matthäus, a former Ballon d’Or, world champion and Bayern star, remains optimistic and even sets Munich as his favorite in qualifying: “Paris will have to go back on a very big day, he warns. He won’t have the same luck twice in a row.”
If we should never look forward to the plight of others, Parisians still need to take a good look at the uncertainties currently surrounding Bayern’s workforce. Robert Lewandowski, Corentin Tolisso, Douglas Costa and Niklas Süle are injured, Marc Roca and Serge Gnabry are positive for Covid-19, so they are all certainly not available. Finally, Lucas Hernandez and Leon Goretzka are uncertain.
The result: six executives are probably not present, although there is still hope for Hernandez, and two very solid replacements, Roca and Douglas Costa, stand out. He is expected to be replaced by Kingsley Coman, who scored in the knee in the draw against Union Berlin on Saturday.
On the Paris side, too, the infirmary remains occupied even as the horizon begins to illuminate: Leandro Paredes, suspended from his first leg, has returned. Marco Verratti and Alessandro Florenzi (positive test for Covid-19) will be available if they are negative before the start of the test. But captain Marquinhos, who was injured after scoring the second goal of the first game, is finally seized. Like striker Icardi (thigh) and side defenders Layvin Kurzawa (calves) and Juan Bernat, still too tight.
Missed return match, Parisian specialty
Paris haunts Paris: those in the return leg, omitted in the Champions League. In fact, the Qatari version of PSG has made a special feature in recent years to dazzle the first leg to make it collapse better in the second round.
A tradition that can be traced back to March 8, 2017 and “remountade”. That evening, PSG arrives with a win on the pitch of Camp Nou, the author of the force against Barça from “MSN” (Messi-Suarez-Neymar) a month earlier (4: 0). After the end of a disastrous evening, concluded with a 6: 1 defeat, the main club entered the history of the Champions League at the back door as the first team to be eliminated after a four-goal advantage in the first match.
In 2019, resist, even if the failure is less spectacular. PSG felt they had done the harder part with a 2-0 victory at Old Trafford against Manchester United. However, when a dozen injured players and Paul Pogba were suspended, the “red devils” changed (3-1) the defensive mistakes in Paris. Paris thus became the first team in the history of the Champions League to be eliminated despite a 2-0 away win in the first leg.
– OptaJean (@OptaJean) March 6, 2019
PSG are hardly reassuring at home this season: Paris have lost five times already, which has been unheard of since the 2008-2009 budget year, including three defeats against rivals in the top 4 of Ligue 1: Lille, Monaco and Lyon. The Parisians also lost at home at the start of the Champions League campaign against Manchester United.
Even the return of the round of 16 against FC Barcelona in early March was not reassuring. After a resounding victory at Camp Nou (4: 1), the Parisians were content to head to the Parc des Princes and head back. Kaylor Navas needed an outstanding performance to avoid a new accident (1: 1), proof that the old demons are never far away.
How do you say “remountada” in German?