Manuel Veth –
Paris vs Bayern 3-0
Goals: 1:0 Dani Alves (2’), 2-0 Edison Cavani (31’), 3-0 Neymar (63’)
Paris vs Bayern – Match Facts
- Home teams continue to dominate this fixture.
- Neymar and Cavani both score for PSG.
- Paris take charge of Group B.
Bayern München went into this game in Paris following a disappointing result against Wolfsburg last Friday in the Bundesliga. The big question was therefore how Bayern head coach Carlo Ancelotti would respond tactically to Bayern’s sluggish second-half performance against Wolfsburg.
The answer was without width. Benching both Arjen Robben and Frank Ribéry Ancelotti opted to start with James, Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller up front. It was an interesting selection one that promised plenty of tactical creativity up front, but at the same time lacked the speed and power that Robben and Ribéry offer when at their prime.
Adding to the front three Ancelotti also fielded Thiago—the result was predictable. Bayern had the majority of the possession, akin to a European handball team—passing the ball around the box for 90 minutes without creating dangerous situations they did little to test Paris. The most dangerous chance came from Javi Martinez in the 19’ minute—PSG keeper Alphonse Areola spectacularly saved his shot. Bayern also had chances in the 22’ minute, Lewandowski’s header was straight at the keeper and 26’ minute when David Alaba missed the ball by just a few inches.
PSG in the meantime was scoring the goals. Dani Alves brought the Parisians up front in the 2’ minute after a fantastic cross by Neymar, who had the entire Bayern defence at his attention. Then in the 31’ minute, it was Edison Cavani, who doubled the lead. His shot from the edge of the box was a hammer blow, and it is doubtful whether injured Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer would have made the difference on that particular occasion.
The second half of Paris v Bayern continued with more of the same. Bayern were dominant and at one point had 67% ball possession. At the same time, the Bavarians lacked the effectiveness to half the lead. Over and over again the ball was worked around the box. Bayern created plenty of shots (16) and corners (18), but could not find a way through. The big problem was that Bayern’s wingers could not come at PSG’s defence with speed. Kingsley Coman was brought on at halftime, but he is no Frank Ribéry. Ancelotti tried to rectify his tactical mistake in the 69’ minute by bringing on Arjen Robben.
The Dutchman finally brought some pace to Bayern’s wing play. At that point, the game was, however, already decided. France’s super talent Kylian Mbappé danced through Bayern’s defence making the heavy Niklas Süle and Martinez look like amateur defenders out on a Sunday kick around. Ulreich just about managed to clear the situation, but the ball fell to Neymar, who made it 3-0.
The reminding 30 minutes were an exercise of Bayern keeping possession and Paris propping for more goals. PSG should have had two more, in the 71’ minute and 80’ minute, and Bayern were lucky that the Ligue 1 side did not play with more consequence. Notable perhaps that Cavani and Neymar did the utmost to take the fire out what seemed to be a difficult situation between the two. Neymar gave the ball to Cavani ahead of a freekick in the 80’ minute. The result will certainly do the rest to defuse the situation and pave the path for Paris Saint-Germain to break into the echelon of the very top clubs in European football.
Bayern were part of that elite group of clubs for many years. But there are now signs that time could come to an end. Without Ribéry and Robben Bayern are a side that can pass the ball well and dominate the opposition. But they lack the special extra to break through well-organised defensive lines. Ancelotti in the meantime does not seem to be the right man to guide Bayern through what will be a transitional period. The Italian was testy after the match stating that he did not feel that his starting eleven was off balance. The ongoings on the field would suggest otherwise though and with Bayern having already dropped five points in the first six Bundesliga matches as well as stars like Ribéry and Müller showing frustration with the head coach the Christmas tree could be truly on fire at the Säbener Straße this year.
Paris vs Bayern – Match Stats
- Bayern had 18 corner kicks 17 more than Paris Saint-Germain.
- Bayern ended the match with 63% ball possession.
- The teams have now met seven times, and all but one of those contests were won by the home side.
Paris vs Bayern – Line-ups
Areola – Kurzawa, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Dani Alves – Rabiot, Motta (Lo Celso 86’), Verratti (Draxler 89’) – Neymar, Cavani, Mbappé (di Maria 79’)
Coach: Unai Emery
Ulreich – Alaba, Süle, Javi Martinez, Kimmich – Vidal, Thiago, Tolisso (Rudy 45’) – James (Coman 46’), Lewandowski, Müller (Robben 69’)
Coach: Carlo Ancelotti
Manuel Veth is a freelance journalist and social media junior editor at Bundesliga.com. He is also a holder of a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.