A seventh clean sheet
Thu, 09/03/23, 02:13
Operation Champions League
A defensive masterclass helped FC Bayern beat PSG 2-0 and book their place in the Champions League quarter-finals. Matthijs de Ligt personified the Bundesliga leaders' show of steel with a spectacular piece of defending, with the score delicately poised at 0-0 on the night. Racing back after Yann Sommer had been caught out of position, the Dutchman stretched every sinew to clear Vitinha’s open-goal-bound effort off the line. Much like in the first leg, a rock-solid defensive effort proved Bayern's winning foundation.
Seventh Champions League clean sheet
It's the seventh time in eight Champions League matches that Bayern have shut out the opposition - an unparralled feat in this season's competition. De Ligt, Dayot Upamecano, Josip Stanišić & Co. defended like their lives depended on it as Julian Nagelsmann's bulwark made it 411 Champions League minutes without conceding. Their mission: to bring home the trophy.
A triumph of the collective
It wasn't only de Ligt who put everything on the line for the Bayern cause. Be it Joshua Kimmich thwarting PSG superstar Kylian Mbappé; a back-tracking Leon Goretzka foiling 2022 World Cup winner Lionel Messi; Yann Sommer pulling off a stunning reaction save from Sergio Ramos; the brilliant Alphonso Davies twice outdoing Mbappé; or Upamecano winning out against Achraf Hakimi, Bayern were rock solid to a man. Each decisive intervention had the crowd on their feet, while chants of 'Super Bayern!' reverberated around the Allianz Arena following a richly deserved eighth win from as many Champions League games.
Nagelsmann praises de Ligt, Upamecano & Stanišić
"He's come on leaps and bounds. He's a real boon for us," Nagelsmann had said of de Ligt after the Netherlands defender scored in the 2-1 win at Stuttgart this past weekend. And so it proved against PSG as the imperious Bayern No.4 threw himself into every challenge, whilst making a game-leading five clearances.
Upamecano and Stanišić - the latter having won more tackles than any player on the pitch - were equally watertight. "A top defender" and "world-class" were Nagelsmann's respective post-match appraisals. As Upamecano observed, "We had to be on it, and we were."
Bayern's defensive prowess is nothing new. After losing Benjamin Pavard to two bookable offences in the first leg, the record champions held off the inevitable PSG onslaught to win 1-0. The Frenchman will be available again for the quarter-finals, when Nagelsmann's trusty back line goes in search of clean sheet number eight.
🗞 Read the match report below: