Created on 2021-04-06 at 15:13 PM
FC Bayern host Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League quarter-final first leg on Wednesday evening. It’s the first meeting between the two sides since that magical night in Lisbon, when FCB claimed Europe’s top prize for the sixth time thanks to a 1-0 win over PSG. fcbayern.com has compiled the most important background information on the opposition ahead of the rematch of last year’s final.
Bayern’s Champions League story began in Paris
Going back a long time, Bayern’s first outing in the recently reformed Champions League was away to Paris Saint-Germain in September 1994, when they suffered a 2-0 defeat. Since then, the two teams have faced each other nine times in this competition – and after the French side initially dominated the head-to-head record, Bayern have pulled it back, not least with the final triumph last August. With five PSG wins to four for FCB, the Bavarians have the chance to level it up on Wednesday.
Incidentally, last season was not the first time that Bayern have beaten PSG en route to the title. In the 2000/01 group stage, the Reds lost 1-0 in the French capital to a team containing the likes of Jay-Jay Okocha and Nicolas Anelka. In the return fixture at the Olympic Stadium, however, Bayern claimed an important 2-0 win thanks to goals by current board member Hasan Salihamidžić (3’) and Paulo Sérgio (89’). Ottmar Hitzfeld’s side pipped PSG to top spot in the group by one point and went on to lift the famous trophy.
Unfamiliar position in Ligue 1
Since 2013, PSG have been champions of France every year bar one (2017). But despite Mauricio Pochettino taking over from Thomas Tuchel as coach at the start of the year, the serial Ligue 1 winners have not been at their best domestically. The Parisians lost 1-0 at home to OSC Lille in their dress rehearsal for the clash with Bayern, which saw them cede top spot to their opponents. It was also the holders’ third home defeat in a row.
More on PSG’s most recent match here:
New PSG boss Pochettino is already familiar with Bayern from last season. The Argentinian was in charge of Tottenham Hotspur when they were beaten 7-2 by FCB on home turf in the group stage. The ‘man of the match’ that evening was undoubtedly Serge Gnabry, who netted four goals in London.
Like last year: Via Leipzig to Bayern
The French capital club have already come up against Bundesliga opposition in this season’s competition. In the group stage, PSG went through as winners ahead of RB Leipzig and Manchester United, before making everyone sit up and take notice with an emphatic victory over Barcelona in the round of 16. After a 4-1 win in the away leg, a 1-1 draw was sufficient at home. The Parisians also had plenty of experience of German teams last season as they reached the final of the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history. After beating Borussia Dortmund 2-1 away and 2-0 at home in the group, they knocked out Leipzig 3-0 in the semi-finals.
Three Bayern players facing ex-club
“It just had to be him,” would’ve been the thought of many football fans last August. Kingsley Coman’s headed goal against his former club decided the final in Lisbon and earned the winger the greatest success of his career to date. Coman joined the Paris Saint-Germain academy at the age of eight in 2004. In February 2013, he made his professional debut in Ligue 1 under Carlo Ancelotti. In 2014, the Frenchman moved to Juventus before joining the German record champions a year later.
Tanguy Nianzou is also a product of the PSG talent factory. The summer signing recently returned to the Bayern squad following a long injury lay-off and could even make his Champions League debut against his former club. But the quickest reunion with former teammates belongs to Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, who came on as a substitute for PSG in last year’s final before swapping the Seine for the Isar in the autumn. During his two years in Paris, the striker won two league titles as well as one Coupe de France, scoring nine goals in 51 appearances in all competitions.
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is fired up for the reunion with his former teammates:
Bernat set to miss out
On the Paris side, Juan Bernat will miss out on the latest reunion with his ex-club. The full-back donned the FCB jersey from 2014 to 2018 and was a four-time league winner and one-time DFB Cup winner during that spell. The 28-year-old Spaniard left for PSG two and a half years ago and has established himself as a first-team regular, although he suffered a cruciate ligament tear just a few weeks after the Champions League final – in which he played 80 minutes – and will miss the Champions League encounter with Bayern.
Neymar and Mbappé leading the attack
The biggest names in what is a star-studded PSG squad are obviously Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, who are also the team’s joint leading scorers in the Champions League this season with six goals apiece. The two most expensive players in the world form the core of a deadly attack, which also includes Ángel di Maria, German World Cup winner Julian Draxler and Everton loanee Mosie Kean.
Guarding the goal at the other end is keeper Keylor Navas, who won the Champions League three times with Real Madrid. He’s normally protected by France international Presnel Kimpembe together with Brazilian captain Marquinhos, or by Thilo Kehrer and Abdou Diallo, two players familiar from the Bundesliga. PSG have personnel concerns in the centre of midfield ahead of the quarter-final, with Argentinian Leandro Paredes suspended for the first leg and Italian duo Marco Verratti and Alessandro Florenzi both ruled out following positive COVID-19 tests.
Here are the top stats ahead of a mouth-watering Champions League showdown with PSG: