Tough Task After Messy Loss
The starting lineup had no changes to the side that faced Leipzig this past weekend. However, the results would be very different. Mbappe would get PSG on the board in just the third minute as Süle made a poor decision to play off the French striker to cover Neymar. Still all might not have been lost but Neuer made a rare mistake and guessed the wrong direction and the ball bounced off his legs into the back of the net. 25 minutes later, Neymar would gather a poorly cleared ball and the Bayern defenders would appear to fall asleep as Marquinhos left the entire backline behind him to make it 0-2.
Outside of those two chances however, it was Bayern who had the majority of the chances. Goretzka and Müller both missed excellent early chances to put Bayern on the board but the goal would not come till the 37th minute when Choupo-Moting would head home a beautiful cross from Pavard and end the half at 1-2.
The second half would start the way the first ended with Bayern looking by far the more dangerous of the two sides. Müller would eventually level the match in the 60th minute as Kimmich sent in an excellent freekick delivery that the German forward would head home. Unfortunately, those warm feelings only lasted minutes as Mbappe would beat Boateng in the 68th minute to make it 2-3. From there, Bayern again had by far the most opportunities to score but ultimately would be denied.
It was always unquestionable that Bayern would miss Lewandowski. He is unquestionably the most inform player in the world right now. They did miss him, though Choupo-Moting played as well as we could possibly have expected. The reality is that the likes of Müller, Coman, Sane and Goretzka, not to mention a few others, were the ones who failed to step up.
I said during the match, and I stand by it, that Lewandowski likely would have scored 2-3 goals in this match. However, that is not to say that Bayern shouldn’t have scored 2-3 more than they did regardless. When you have 31 shots, 12 on goal and 10 blocked, you are creating enough opportunities to score.
While PSG only had 6 total chances, they were nearly all clear cut chances and they put 3 of them away. That is not completely unexpected given the counterattacking style they employed but that is the difference. Bayern had at least 7-8 very good chance to score in this match. They were clearly the more consistently dangerous side. But they failed to take those chances and now have a ton of work to do in the second leg.
There will be speculation about whether Lewandowski will be able to return for the second leg until the lineups come out most likely, but Bayern can’t count on that. In reality, they may not need to either. Tonight proved that they can create chances. They just have to be clinical enough to put a few of them away. If they are able to create 31 shots again in Paris, it certainly doesn’t seem impossible to me for Bayern to win this tie over two legs.
More Defensive Issues
No matter how many chance we create though, we cannot gift PSG the type of chances we did in this match. Regardless of whether Neuer might have done better on the first goal, the reality is that Mbappe got in behind the defense far to easily for a 1-1 with Neuer and more often than not, a player of his skill is going to score in that situation.
It’s the second goal however that is the most worrisome. The entire backline seemed to switch off and it only took a moment for Neymar to completely undo them putting in a perfect pass to a on running Marquinhos. It looked like amateur hour out there as all of them appear to take it for granted that Neymar would play the ball back as they jogged forward.
The introduction of Davies did seem to help some as his pace helped a little do deal with the speed of PSG. Honestly, I was a bit surprised when the lineups were announced that Davies was not playing at left back simply for that reason. PSG have so much speed up front and it’s no surprise that they were planning to counter Bayern’s high line. It likely didn’t have any affect on the first two goals and I am not blaming Hernandez for them but having him there does change the dynamic of the game on both ends.
However, the fact that Goretzka came off with an apparent injury and then Süle did as well adds even more worry to this team defensively. Alaba will almost certainly be the one who steps into the midfield if Goretzka misses serious time and things are getting dangerously thing if Süle is out as well. To top it off, Bayern picked up four yellow cards in this match with Kimmich, Hernandez, Boateng and Choupo-Moting all collecting one, several of which were needless.
Reason to Hope
However, despite the less than desirable result, there is still reason to believe that Bayern can move on. As mentioned above, Bayern created a ton of chances and if they are able to do that again, sure you have to expect them to convert more than they did tonight. They are also up against a side that has a history of blowing bigger leads than they will have heading into the return leg of this tie.
I also think there is reason to hope that the back line will look a bit better than they did today, though primarily because I’m not sure how they could look worse. The addition of Davies really did seem to help things tremendously and it seems likely that he’ll get the start come Tuesday. Additionally, PSG appear to be dealing with some injury issues of their own as their captain Marquinhos was forced to come off shortly after his goal with a groin issue. If he were to miss the second leg, that would be a huge blow for PSG defensively.
Regardless of who plays or doesn’t though, a 2-3 loss at home is not insurmountable. Bayern can easily score 3 goals in Paris and if they do, things become very interesting. In the mean time, lets hope that those injuries sustained tonight were not serious, that maybe…just maybe a miracle happens and Lewandowski gets fit and most importantly, that it doesn’t snow next Tuesday. If I’ve learned anything about Bayern this season, it’s that they do not play well in the snow.