All you need to know about 2019/20 UEFA Champions League finalists Paris and Bayern. The Champions League final will be played on 8/23/2020.
UEFA ranking: 7
This season: P10 W8 D1 L1 F25 A5
How they got here: Group A winners, 3-2agg Dortmund (R16), 2-1 Atalanta (QF), 3-0 Leipzig (SF)
Last five games: WWDWW
Top scorer: Mauro Icardi, Kylian Mbappé (5)
Last season: round of 16
European Cup best: final (2019/20)
Chris Burke, Paris reporter
Just 90 minutes away from their maiden Champions League title, Paris are brimful of the belief that this – the 50th anniversary of their foundation – is the year they finally leave their mark.
The French champions have been a team transformed since their round of 16 loss at Dortmund, forging an impressive squad spirit to turn that tie around and then stun Atalanta in the quarter-finals with two late goals. Add that to the obvious talent they displayed to cruise past Leipzig and this is a side with both the means and the confidence to take one more historic step.
Who’s in charge?
After replacing Jürgen Klopp at Dortmund, Thomas Tuchel joined Paris in 2018. He has since landed two Ligue 1 titles, adding the French Cup and League Cup this season. Having also won the Trophée des Champions at the start of 2019/20, the German coach can now complete a historic clean sweep of five trophies. The first manager to steer Paris into a Champions League final, he has won 12 of his 18 matches in the competition with the club.
Key quote: “I’m very happy to coach this team – it’s fun. They’re not only talking, they’re delivering. We will give everything; the final will be a big match.”
Paris began 2020 with Neymar, Kylian Mbappé, Ángel Di María and Mauro Icardi as the star performers in a stable 4-4-2, but Tuchel has since had to improvise to cope with absences. The French champions began with Neymar as the playmaker in a 4-3-1-2 against Atalanta and, with Icardi left on the bench, the Brazilian then operated as a false No9 in the 4-3-3 that dispatched Leipzig. Tuchel may be inspired to stick with that solution, while keeping faith with a defence that has yielded just five goals in ten games – fewer than any other team.
Star player: Neymar
Volume 0%00:0102:05Great Neymar, Mbappé, Di María Paris combinations
The highest-scoring Brazilian in Champions League history, Neymar has been inspirational for Paris in recent rounds – the first time he has been injury-free in the knockout phase since joining in 2017. Though he has yet to score during the Lisbon mini-tournament, the Paris No10 has driven the team forward with his dribbling, passing, energy and hunger.
UEFA ranking: 2
This season: P10 W10 D0 L0 F42 A8
How they got here: Group B winners, 7-1agg Chelsea (R16), 8-2 Barcelona (QF), 3-0 Lyon (SF)
Last five games: WWWWW
Top scorer: Robert Lewandowski (15)
Last season: quarter-finals
European Cup best: winners x5 (most recently 2012/13)
Jordan Maciel, Bayern reporter
Volume 0%00:0001:00Highlights: Lyon 0-3 Bayern
Though always named among the favourites, nobody gave Bayern much of a chance of winning this season’s competition. Yet despite high-profile departures last summer and a mid-season change of coach, the German champions have won ten out of ten while racking up 42 goals in the process.
Under Hans-Dieter Flick, they are playing with a confidence, hunger and a frightening intensity that few sides have been able to live with. Some have suggested this side are even better than the 2013 treble winners; in Sunday’s final they can at the very least prove their equal.
Who’s in charge?
Replacing Niko Kovač, former assistant Hans-Dieter Flick took the reins in November. His side have won 27 of their last 28 games, and come into the final on a 19-match winning streak, with Flick having earned a contract until the summer of 2023.
Key quote: “We will look to organise our defence, but we know our biggest strength is putting our opponents under pressure.”
Bayern’s high intensity, quick pressing and desire to keep possession, have been key to their dominance under Flick. Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry are long gone, but exploiting the wings remains fundamental in Bayern’s approach – made possible by the incredible work rate of their full-backs Joshua Kimmich and Alphonso Davies.
Star player: Robert Lewandowski
‘Lewangoalski’ has contributed a season’s best 15 goals (in addition to 34 in the Bundesliga), and needs two more in the final to match Cristiano Ronaldo’s single-campaign UEFA Champions League record of 17. The Polish international’s six assists are worth a mention too.