This year’s Champion League has been historically unique from the rest as it started way back in 2019, delayed because of the global emergency, reopened after a lengthy delay, and finally, the matches were held in an empty stadium of Lisbon, no live audience to cherish or intimidate the players. Similarly, strict protocols were set in place for safe conduct. While things looked frail for the championship, the matches this year were just as exciting as in the past, if not better. On Sunday, German champion Bayern Munich hit another milestone in its unbeaten streak of victories this year as they also won the domestic cup and league early on. The UEFA Champions League’s sixth victory by the German Champion will open more significant avenues for the team.
The global pandemic initially halted this season, but eventually, it resumed, albeit moved to Portugal to be held behind closed doors and empty seats. Another interesting change was the elimination of two-legged fixtures; instead, only one-offs were to be held this time around. When both teams were set to face each other in the final round, Bayern was aiming to hold its win streak with a quadruple, whereas PSG was working hard towards the first win of Championship League trophy. In the end, it was only the former who maintained their glory.
Let us take a look back today at what brought the two ambitious contenders to face to face for the first time with only the second time it is between a team from France and a team from Germany.
To take the top place in Group A, Paris Saint Germain had to get the best results while facing the extraordinary team of Real Madrid. PSG managed to take the victory from the hand of Real Madrid by a fabulous 3-0 score making their first win in Champions League. All this while beating the giants of Spain. In the second game, Keylor Navas made ten great saves at the world-famous Santiago Bernabeu, making PSG only the second to ever bring it from two goals down to a draw against Madrid after what Dortmund did in 2016. During the group stage, these were the only goals under the current format to be let in by the side of Tuchel. Meaning that only Real Madrid had reached the knockout stages with conceding only by two goals in a group of six matches more times than PSG (once in 2015-16 and now in 2019-2020).
For the last 16, Dortmund was eliminated at the two-legged after winning the first game. It was also during the last 16 when Neymar scored the incredible away goal in the opener when match returned behind closed doors in Parc des Princess right before the pandemic enforced a lockdown around the world while Juan Bernat had a triumphant 3-2 aggregate.
But it was the quarter-finals, where PSG actually looked in a disappointing state as they were left behind Atalanta. However, it changed in two minutes and 25 seconds of the second-half stoppage as Choupo-Moting brought a winning strike. Mbappe was not being utilized as much due to his ankle injury, with only 30 minutes out of the bench. Despite a lackluster finish, Neymar also played his fair share of role, making a record of 16 complete dribbles being the most since Messi in 2008. In the semi-final, PSG booked a spot in the final place by beating RB Leipzig with a 3-0 after 109 games of the competition. They beat Arsenal’s record of most played before reaching the final stage. Angel Di Maria has two assists, and one goal got 59 goal involvement.
Bayern Munich was making theirs a reality by showing the best performance in the Champions League as they racked up 18 points. Robert Lewandowski almost reached the brilliant record of Christian Ronaldo of 11 goals by scoring ten goals. They beat Tottenham in their home ground by a thumping 7-2. Gnabry also performed exceptionally as he scored four and assisted one. After five months were passed between both legs due to coronavirus, Bayern made a 3-0 victory at the opening encounter in Stamford Bridge. The quarter-final was extravagantly better for Bayern as they beat Barcelona by a historic 8-2. Thomas Muller made his record of six against Barcelona in the competition. The streak of 10 consecutive wins was continued as Bayern made a 3-0 win against Lyon becoming rivals of record-holding Real Madrid for this achievement.
This trend was not odd at all in terms of its outcomes as Bayern Munich won the final match, albeit with a one-goal victory. It was a sad day for PSG but a day marked in history for the German Champion.