Bayern Munich and Paris Saint Germain (PSG) In the Champions League round of 16 tie, many players contributed to Bayern's 2-0 victory, sending them through 3-0 on aggregate. But who was the most crucial player for Bayern Munich on the night?
Was it Thomas Muller, the man of the match and winner of the 'tackle of the night' award for his challenge on Marco Verratti that led to the home side's first goal? Or was it Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, the forward who scored the second goal and gave Bayern the momentum and confidence they needed? Alphonso Davies also played a vital role, with his ability to make up an opponent's 10-meter head start underpinning Bayern's risky setup in attack.
Champion League Quarter Finals
Bayern Munich vs PSG analysis
Dayot Upamecano kept Kylian Mbappe quieter than the home side had feared, and his pivotal challenges won him roars of appreciation from the fans. However, the most crucial player on the night was probably Matthijs de Ligt, the former Ajax captain who cleared Vitinha's shot off the line with a desperate lunge, saving Bayern from going behind and preserving their confidence. Josip Stanisic, Jamal Musiala, Joshua Kimmich, and Leon Goretzka also played important roles in the victory. Overall, it was a team effort, and each player contributed in their own way to Bayern's success.
Bayern Munich secured a place in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League with a 2-0 victory over Paris Saint-Germain in their round of 16 second-leg clash. While the German side’s overall performance was impressive, some individual players stood out, making significant contributions to the team's success.
Bayern Munich Players Step Up
One of the most important players on the night was Thomas Muller. The forward's performance earned him the UEFA Man of the Match award, and his tackle on Marco Verratti helped open the door for Bayern's crucial first goal. In the second half, Muller's leadership and communication skills were on full display, as he directed his teammates and helped them break down PSG's attacks.
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, who scored the second goal for Bayern, was also crucial in the match. His physicality and presence in the box unnerved PSG's defenders, and he played a key role in providing the momentum and confidence that Bayern needed to win.
Alphonso Davies also had a significant impact on the game, playing two positions at once in Julian Nagelsmann’s hybrid system. His ability to make up an opponent’s headstart helped to underpin Bayern’s risky setup in attack. The Canadian star's epic battle with Achraf Hakimi was one of the highlights of the match, and his contribution did not go unnoticed.
Dayot Upamecano, the French centre-back, was another standout performer for Bayern. He showed composure on the ball and pure energy off it, personifying Bavarian competence. His pivotal challenges and ability to keep Kylian Mbappe at bay earned him roars of appreciation from the home crowd, and he has quickly attained cult hero status at the Allianz Arena.
Matthijs de Ligt, the former Ajax captain, also played a vital role in Bayern's victory. He cleared Vitinha’s shot off the line with a desperate lunge, preventing Bayern from going behind and boosting their confidence. Sommer, the Switzerland international, promised de Ligt "a van-load of Swiss chocolate" in gratitude.
Josip Stanisic, a 22-year-old academy graduate, was trusted to deal with Mbappe and Nuno Mendes, and he did not disappoint. The Croatia international did not put a foot wrong, and his performance earned him high praise from sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic.
The fall of PSG, Again!
Paris Saint-Germain’s (PSG) Lionel Messi has failed to bring the success that the club had hoped for. After the team’s 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, it is evident that the trio of Messi, Neymar, and Mbappe may not lead the team to European glory. Although Messi has a decent record of 13 goals and assists in his 14 Champions League appearances for PSG, his weakness without possession and his tendency to drop too deep when the team is struggling makes it difficult for him to contribute to a cohesive team.
In contrast, the Bayern Munich team is backed up by a cohesive unit, with attacking players who do not have the reputation of PSG’s superstars but who play for the team. PSG had already reached the Champions League final in 2019-20 and the semis in 2020-21 without Messi, so it is questionable how much his arrival was needed.
Furthermore, the mid-season Qatar World Cup has affected the fitness levels and motivation of PSG’s superstars. It is unlikely that PSG will build a European Cup-winning side that features all three of Messi, Neymar, and Mbappe. The only time in the whole Bayern tie when PSG looked like a serious attacking force came when all three were on the pitch together.
When his team has possession, it is tough to find anything specific to criticize Messi for. However, when the team is struggling, he tends to drift too far from goal, making it difficult for his teammates to connect with him. PSG's coach, Christophe Galtier, has often solved this issue by asking Portuguese midfielder Vitinha to make reverse movements, staying deep when Messi is high, and pushing high when Messi drops deep. However, this doesn't suddenly make Vitinha a serious attacking threat.
It is important for Messi to trust the ability of his teammates in possession and concentrate on receiving the ball from them where he can do damage. PSG had made progress at the European level in the seasons before Messi's arrival. After seven years of failing to make the Champions League semi-finals, they got to the final in 2019-20 and the semis in 2020-21. Now, they have been eliminated twice in a row from the round of 16. PSG has gone backward with Messi, although it is debatable to what extent this represents a failure for PSG's owners. For them, bringing Messi to PSG was almost an end in itself, a boost for the Qatar brand.
For more Champion League and football insights click the button below. To never miss out on amazing data and statistical sports news at The Stats ball.