Pick your poison: Bavarian aristocrats and self-styled FC Hollywood Bayern Munich or PSG, a soft power exercise for an autocratic regime with a questionable human rights record?
In many respects then, this is not a Champions League final for the romantics and yet…on the pitch it is. There will surely be goals as two of Europe’s most potent attacks trade blows and players of the quality of Robert Lewandowski, Serge Gnabry Kylian Mbappe and Neymar seek to formally declare this the post-Messi and Ronaldo era.
Bayern have won all 10 Champions League matches this season and have won 20 consecutive games in all competitions. Incredibly, they have averaged four goals per game in the Champions League, putting seven past Tottenham and eight past Barcelona. Lyon created three or four good chances in the semi-final though, and there remains a sense that an attack of the highest class could breach them.
Some pundits have urged Hansi Flick to drop his defensive line five yards deeper to cover the speed of Mbappe but that is easier said than done. All departments of the team need to drop deeper in unison, or else space will appear in between a retreating defence and midfield which Neymar will feast on. Angel Di Maria was the technical glue in an assured performance from Thomas Tuchel’s side against RB Leipzig and will give Bayern left-back Alphonso Davies a different sort of test as he wanders into central positions. If Bayern do show PSG respect, that could offer more time on the ball to Leandro Paredes who was the metronome at the heart of the French team’s semi-final victory.
With two attacks capable of overwhelming both defences, it could come done to who has the best midfield and there Bayern have an edge. Thiago Alcantara, soon to move to the Premier League perhaps, and Leon Goretzka are formidable, and the revitalised Thomas Muller can drop in to make the extra man.
Team news on the way shortly.