Bayern Munich claimed their sixth European Cup on Sunday evening as they edged Paris Saint Germain 1-0 in Lisbon.
In what was a cagey final between the two European powerhouses, it was Kingsley Coman’s strike just before the hour that proved to be the difference.
Here are five things we learnt from the conclusion to 2019/20 European season…
Not a predicted goal-fest
Coming into the match, it was somewhat expected that there would be plenty of goals considering two of the highest-scoring teams in the competition this season were facing off. Indeed, Bayern had previously netted on 42 occasions throughout the campaign, whilst PSG had managed to score 25 goals in the Champions League this campaign.
Neither side really were able to harness that irrepressible goal-scoring ability though, with just one goal from Coman the decisive moment for Bayern Munich.
Paris-born Coman breaks PSG hearts
Considering the talent on the pitch in the form of Robert Lewandowski, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, it was somewhat of a surprise to see the winning goal come from the aforementioned Frenchman. Having progressed through the youth system at the Parc des Princes, Coman was only afforded four appearances for his boyhood club before departing for Juventus.
That decision somewhat came back to haunt Thomas Tuchel and his charges, with the 24-year-old scoring with a deft header at the back post from Joshua Kimmich’s cross. One wonders whether there is a tinge of regret at the choice to let Coman leave the club at such a young age.
Neuer keeps Bayern in with a chance
Whilst in the end, Bayern did enough to earn glory, the Germans were somewhat indebted to their goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. The 34-year-old produced a string of crucial stops to keep the scores level before Hansi Flick’s men did eventually hit the front.
He at first had to twice keep out Neymar after he was played through by Mbappe before gathering a shot from the latter just before the half-time whistle. His heroics continued after the break and he needs to take a huge slice of the credit as Bayern claimed yet another European crown.
Experience proves key for Flick’s men
Before the match, it was already known that Bayern had far more experience when it comes to UEFA Champions League finals. The clash in Lisbon was their 11th appearances in a European Cup final and in the end, it became their sixth success, the joint-third most in history. However, PSG had never managed to reach a final and thus never lifted the trophy. Indeed, the Germans boasted double the amount of Champions League winners in their squad.
Throughout the match, that prior experience and know-how became far more apparent. Following Coman’s opener, the Bavarians remained calm and collected in their hunt of glory, whilst PSG quickly became desperate to get back into the game. That was indicated in the numerous occasions throughout the match that PSG players reacted to challenges from their counterparts. That indeed played into Bayern’s hands as they closed out the match and secured the trophy.
Historically it is extremely difficult to retain the Champions League since its rebranding; Real Madrid being the only team to manage to do that. Flick’s troops appear to have the best chance to do that in recent memory though. Bayern have blown away their rivals this season, scoring the second-most amount of goals in the competition’s history.
As a matter of fact, they have actually become the the first team ever to win every game on route to lifting either the UEFA Champions League/ European Cup. Should they continue that momentum into next season or indeed throughout the next couple of seasons, there is no reason why they cannot enjoy yet more glory.
Paris Saint Germain: Navas (6); Bernat (6) (Kurzawa (N/A), 80′), Kimpembe (7), Silva (7), Kehrer (6); Paredes (6) (Verratti (6), 65′), Marquinhos (6), Herrera (5) (Draxler (6), 72′); Mbappe (6), Neymar (6), Di Maria (5) (Choupo-Moting (N/A), 80′).
Bayern Munich: Neuer (7); Davies (6), Alaba (7), Boateng (6) (Sule (7), 25′), Kimmich (7); Thiago (7) (Tolisso (N/A), 86′), Goretzka (6); Coman (7) (Perisic (6), 68′), Muller (7); Gnabry (6) (Coutinho (7), 68′); Lewandowski (6).
Goals: Coman (59′)
Referee: Daniele Orsato
Yellow Cards: Davies (28′), Gnabry (52′), Paredes (52′), Sule (56′), Neymar (81′), Silva (83′), Kurzawa (85′), Muller (90+4′)
Red Cards: N/A