Paris Saint-Germain vs Bayern München – Wednesday, September 27, 19:45BT/20:45CET – Parc des Princes, Paris.
Bayern’s rollercoaster ride at the start of the 2017-18 season continues. A poor season preparation was followed with a Bundesliga start that has seen the club already drop five points in the first six matches. Bayern were defeated 2-0 by Hoffenheim on matchday 3 and looked poor against RSC Anderlecht on matchday 1 of the UEFA Champions League.
Both results were accompanied by considerable unrest both on and off the pitch. What followed was die Englische Woche were Bayern first defeated Mainz 4-0 and then Schalke 04 0-3. The two results seemed to calm down the situation at Bayern a bit. Then on Friday Bayern hosted Wolfsburg and after going up by two goals let die Wölfe back into the match dropping another two points in their attempt to defend the Bundesliga title.
Then on Saturday Bayern’s competitors Hoffenheim and more importantly Dortmund did their part and moved ahead of the table—as a result, the crisis returned in full force at the Säbener Straße. The biggest point of criticism was of course that Bayern seemed lethargic after going up two goals and made it easy for Wolfsburg to get back into the match.
Carlo Ancelotti reacted forcefully on Saturday citing lack of intensity in the second half. “We did not have the game under control, as usual, so the game went like this. Sven [goalkeeper Ulreich] made a mistake, but the result is that we did not play well as a team.” Thomas Müller called the result a step backwards.
The game against Wolfsburg highlighted some significant shortcomings of Bayern’s squad. Up front the ageing squad is increasingly dependent on striker Robert Lewandowski—he is the only all-out striker in the squad—and at the back, Bayern do not have a backup, which allows Bayern to play with a high defensive line. The dependence on Lewandowski means that Bayern are not able to bring on a fresh striker to re-kindle the team should they struggle on the pitch.
Pundits like Stefan Effenberg have, therefore, rightfully pointed out that Bayern would be in trouble with such a performance on Saturday in France. Paris Saint-Germain has dominated the news this summer signing both Brazilian Neymar from Barcelona for €222 million and Kylian Mbappé in a loan to buy deal worth €180 million. The two attackers compliment an already tantalising attacking line that includes Angel Di Maria, Julian Draxler and Edinson Cavani.
Not all is well at Paris either ahead of Paris Saint-Germain vs Bayern München, however. PSG stuttered to a 0-0 draw against Montpellier on Saturday. Ahead of the match Neymar and Uruguayan star striker Cavani had clashed on and off the pitch. There has even been a rumour that Neymar has demanded that PSG should sell Cavani. Neymar was absent in the match against Montpellier. Officially, Emery rested the Brazilian but rumour has it that Neymar was taken out of the squad to as a warning that he is not above the team.
The internal disputes and the poor performance this weekend aside PSG have had an excellent start to the Ligue 1. The Parisians are first in the league ahead of last year’s champion AS Monaco. The two points dropped this weekend were the first all season, and with Neymar, back in the side, Paris should have more than enough to not only challenge Bayern but to also beat them.
Paris Saint-Germain vs Bayern München – Player to look out for:
Neymar #10 – Paris Saint-Germain
Signed for €222 million Neymar is the most expensive transfer the world has ever seen. The expectations in Paris are accordingly high. The Brazilian is supposed to lead PSG to the club’s first Champions League trophy and return the club to the top of the Ligue 1. On top of that PSG hope that Neymar’s arrival will also catapult the club to the same level as Barcelona, Real Madrid and Wednesday’s opponent Bayern München. So far the Brazilian has delivered scoring four goals and four assists in his first five games. Unfortunately, his arrival has also upset the team hierarchy with Uruguayan superstar Edison Cavani feeling increasingly isolated by the growing Brazilian presence in the squad. A recent conflict between Neymar and Cavani has meant that Emery left Neymar out of the squad showing that not all is well in Paris.
Robert Lewandowski #9 – FC Bayern München
Robert Lewandowski is Bayern München’s goal machine. Unfortunately for Bayern, he is one of two players that cannot be replaced—the other one is injured, Manuel Neuer. Hence, if Lewandowski does not score the Bavarians find it increasingly difficult to find goals. Hence, when Lewandowski was shut down in the second half against Wolfsburg, the Bavarian machine stuttered significantly. Lewandowski has recently reacted aggressively towards PSG’s spending spree suggesting that Bayern would also need to spend to stay competitive. Lewandowski has hinted that he would force a move away from Munich should he feel that Bayern are no longer a Champions League winning candidate. The Bayern bosses have responded by requesting performances and silence—starting with Bayern’s match against PSG.
Paris Saint-Germain vs Bayern München – Match Stats
- The teams have met in six previous matches—all in the UEFA Champions League group stage—and all but one of those contests were won by the home side.
- The most recent encounters came in the first group stage in 2000-01. Home substitute Laurent Leroy’s 90th-minute strike gave Paris a 1-0 victory at the Parc des Princes on 26 September 2000.
- Bayern turned the tables in Munich, goals from Hasan Salihamidžić (3) and substituted Paulo Sérgio (89) securing a 2-0 success.
- In 1997-98 Bayern ran out 5-1 winners in the first game in Germany, Giovane Elber and Carsten Jancker each scoring twice and Thomas Helmer getting the other despite Marco Simone’s consolation.
- Paris, however, were 3-1 victors back in France, their goals coming from Franck Gava (17), Florian Maurice (73) and Leroy again (75); Markus Babbel had levelled for Bayern.
- The French club also came out on top in 1994-95, George Weah and Daniel Bravo earning a 2-0 home win and Weah, again, claiming the only goal in Germany—the only away victory either team has managed in this fixture.
- Paris have lost just one of their last 43 European home games since crashing 4-2 to Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC in the 2006-07 UEFA Cup group stage (W27 D15). They lost 3-1 to Barcelona in the 2014-15 quarter-finals.
- Paris’ last meeting with German opposition came in the 2013-14 round of 16, a 4-0 triumph at Bayer 04 Leverkusen setting up a 6-1 aggregate success.
- That extended the French side’s record of never having lost at home to German visitors (W5 D1).
- Bayern have not faced a French club since the 2012-13 group stage when they beat LOSC Lille 1-0 away, Thomas Müller scoring from the penalty spot, and 6-1 at home with Arjen Robben on target.
- The Bundesliga team have won on their last three visits to France, where their overall record is W6 D3 L6. A 2-1 loss at FC Girondins de Bordeaux in the 2009-10 group stage is Bayern’s sole reverse in their last eight trips (W5 D2).
Prediction: Paris Saint-Germain vs Bayern München – 3:0
Paris Saint-Germain vs Bayern München – Possible Lineups
Areola – Berchiche, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Alves – Rabiot, Motta, Verratti – Mbappé, Cavani, Neymar
Coach: Unai Emery
Ulreich – Rafinha, Hummels, Boateng, Kimmich – Tolisso, Rudy – Ribéry, Müller, James – Lewandowski
Coach: Carlo Ancelotti
Manuel Veth is a freelance journalist and social media junior editor at Bundesliga.com. He is also a holder of a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.