The Champions League returned from a three-month break and immediately gave fans the most anticipated match of the 1/8 finals – the confrontation between PSG and Bayern Munich. But it was not possible to justify the expectations of the fans, because the teams gave sparkling football only at the end of the match.
The main intrigue was not even the result, but Kylian Mbappe’s participation in the match, around which the entire series revolves. The Frenchman was injured in a recent match with Montpellier, after which the Parisians said that the striker would miss the first meeting with Bayern. Then the real circus began.
Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier said at first that Mbappe would definitely not enter the Parc des Princes, and then left hope to the Parisian fans. It got to the point that his opponent, Julian Nagelsmann, asked not to be considered a fool and not to deceive the public.
As a result, Kilian remained on the bench, and his place was taken by 16-year-old Warren Zaire Emery, who became the youngest player in the starting line-up in the history of the Champions League playoffs. But youth and enthusiasm did not help the hosts in any way – PSG played extra in the first half and could not oppose anything to Bayern Munich.
In the first half, the hosts fired only one blow into the gates of the Germans, and then it fell into the goal post. Bayern pressed gracefully and waited for their chance eight minutes into the game. The defenders forgot Kingsley Coman and quietly flashed Gianluigi Donnarum.
Mbappe sadly watched Kumana’s goal, who at that moment was already preparing to enter the field. The striker played for “Paris Saint-Germain” for more than half an hour and added to the game of the Parisians the very suit that they lacked so much. Before Kylian was released, Lionel Messi and Neymar could do nothing in attack. Bayern handled their superstar pair with ease as if they were defending against attackers from outside the Bundesliga.
Time and time again, Killian ran away from his rivals and created several dangerous moments. And in the 83rd minute he scored a goal, but it was disallowed due to microscopic offside. By the end of the match, it was clearly felt that if Mbappe had been willing to play every 90 minutes, PSG would certainly not have left the “wheel” in the goals scored column.
The defeat to Bayern was a logical continuation of the problems that haunted the Parisians after the World Cup. In 2023, Paris Saint-Germain won only three out of seven matches in the tournament and managed to get out of the French Cup.
Galtier’s main problem after the resumption of the season is the triple star match in attack. Before the World Cup, Messi, Mbappe and Neymar simply tore Ligue 1 and quietly took the team to the Champions League playoffs. Now the championship advantage has been reduced to five points, and the odds of winning the main club championship in Europe are heading to zero.
Loss can be a catalyst for big changes in the club. A year and a half ago, the Sheikhs managed to put together one of the most brilliant offensive lines in football history, which has so far failed to achieve anything significant. Seriously, PSG could win Ligue 1 without Neymar and Messi, who are called upon to solve more ambitious tasks.
If in the return match the Parisians do not perform a miracle and are knocked out of the Champions League at the 1/8 final stage, then the whole project can wait for restructuring. For several months now, the French press has been reporting that Messi is still considering a career that may or may not be linked to Paris. And the latest rumors say that the leaders of Paris Saint-Germain are preparing for the summer if Messi and Neymar leave the club.
And it will be increasingly difficult to keep Mbappe at a club that suffers annual Champions League defeat. Of course, money is always important, but how long will Kilian last, who looks year after year at the victories of other teams in the main tournament of Europe? So already on March 8, when the teams play the return match, the fate of PSG may be decided for the coming years.
The author’s opinion may not coincide with the editors’ position.
Danil Marchenko 1851 posts