Bayern beat Lyon to reach Champions League Final
The first 20 minutes were shaky for Bayern. Lyon had 2 excellent opportunities to take an early lead and potentially put the pressure on Bayern but Neuer did just enough to keep them out. A few minutes later, Gnabry took a ball from Kimmich and dribbled through the Lyon defense before blasting it past the Lyon keeper. 15 minutes later, he would finish off what looked like an unbelievable miss by Lewandowski to make it 2-0. Bayern had several more chances through the first half but failed to convert any of them.
The second half saw Lyon attempt to get back into the action, but largely fail, and Bayern look as if they had no fears of a legitimate comeback. Lewandowski would get his requisite goal in the 88th minute to finish off the French side and put Bayern through to their first Champions League Final since 2013.
Gnabry, without question was the best player on the pitch today. Lewandowski struggled to finish the way that we’re used to despite still ending up on the scoresheet. Müller failed to make the impact that he has over recent months. Perišić never found his footing. But Serge took the team on his back and willed them to a lead.
It is this type of performance in this type of game that has become a hallmark of the young German. It is the reason he is nearly a guaranteed starter when healthy. He steps up when it matters most. He isn’t afraid of the big lights. He has the confidence in himself and his ability to make plays and shoulder the burden when others are being smothered. Whether he is as consistent as some would like in the Bundesliga or not, he showed up today and has done so every time Bayern have really needed him to.
Despite the focus from the media on Bayern’s high back line, to me the area where Bayern looked the most vulnerable was when Lyon really put them under pressure via the press. The Bayern players did not look comfortable. They misplaced passes. They struggled to advance the ball. In the end, that high back line then became an issue because they made bad and careless mistakes.
While Lyon is a very different team to PSG and it is unlikely, based on my limited knowledge of them, that PSG will press the same way that Lyon did (relentlessly and as a team) it is something that Hansi Flick will presumably try to iron out prior to the Final on Sunday. Those little mistakes and easy giveaways will be disastrous against the offensive firepower that PSG have.
The second half of this match was very lack luster. Bayern looked supremely confident in their position with a 2-0 lead and if truth be told, it never really looked like Lyon was going to pose a threat. Yes they had a few opportunities, which even produced a very memorable save by Manuel Neuer, but the feeling watching the match never really changed after the second goal went in. Bayern knew they only had to see out the remaining 45 minutes and Lyon knew that the battle was largely lost. I give them all the credit in the world for putting forth as much effort as they did. Lyon worked as hard as they could to make it a match, but in the end made no headway.
While it was a little boring and even frustrating to watch as a Bayern supporter, you can easily understand why Hansi Flick and the Bayern players would try to make things as easy on themselves in the second half as possible. They now go into the final with all players available. No one got a card. No one got injured. Fringe or returning players got game time. No one was overly physically taxed. All of these things will be massively important come Sunday.
Now Bayern will prepare for another French side. One with a German manager that they all know very well. Paris Saint-Germain will be a significant challenge. They have high quality players and enough experience to not be too intimidated. However, if Bayern play to their capabilities, there is every reason to believe that they can win their 6th Champions League trophy. Now we all have to wait patiently and hope for the best. See you Sunday! Pack Ma’s!