Bayern Munich are now priced at 5/2 (3.50) to qualify for the semi-finals of the Champions League after last night’s first leg defeat to PSG.
The reigning European champions dominated the game, enjoying 61% of the possession and creating chances at will. Bayern had 31 attempts on goal, 12 of them on target, but they only managed to score twice.
Meanwhile, PSG had just six shots on goal, but scored with three of them. Mauricio Pochettino’s side broke with pace and purpose throughout the game, and Bayern’s lumbering defenders simply could not deal with Kylian Mbappe.
The French forward scored twice, while Marquinhos was also on target to hand PSG a 3-2 victory. Those three away goals could prove vital, and Bayern now have a mountain to climb in the second leg, but this tie is by no means a foregone conclusion.
Choupo-Moting Toils in Lewandowski’s Absence
Bayern badly missed Robert Lewandowski as a snowstorm pelted the Allianz Arena on Wednesday night. The Polish striker has banged in 42 goals in just 36 games this season, and he would have had a field day against PSG.
Understudy Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting performed reasonably well, and scored with a strong header, but Lewandowski would have had a hat-trick if he had played. Bayern also missed the directness of Serge Gnabry, as Leroy Sane looked out of sorts throughout the game.
Yet Bayern absolutely dominated the midfield and they were unlucky to lose the game. They hit the woodwork and forced several strong saves from Keylor Navas in the PSG goal.
Leon Goretzka limped off with a muscular injury, which was a blow, but Joshua Kimmich was in imperious form, as was Thomas Muller.
Injury Woes Mount for PSG
The injury problems were also piling up for Pochettino. He was already missing midfielders Marco Verratti and Leandro Paredes, and injuries to Juan Bernat and Layvin Kurzawa forced him to play Abdou Diallo and Colin Dagba in the full-back roles.
Marquinhos had to come off in the first half with a muscle injury, and Neymar and Angel Di Maria looked pretty banged up when they were substituted. It will be interesting to see who is still standing by the time the second leg rolls around.
Bayern are seven points clear of second placed RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga, so they can afford to rest players for their games against Union Berlin at the weekend. They will be without Lewandowski again for next week’s second leg, but many of their stars should be fresh.
PSG trail Lille by three points at the top of Ligue 1 after losing to Christophe Galtier’s men at the weekend, so you would expect them to field a strong team for Saturday’s game against Strasbourg as they bid to make up the deficit. However, a second string PSG team should still be capable of beating Strasbourg, and Pochettino is unlikely to risk playing anyone that is carrying a knock. Neymar is suspended for the Strasbourg game, so he will be fresh for the second leg against Bayern.
Can Bayern Turn it Around?
Flick’s must find a way to contain Mbappe on the break, while still displaying the requisite levels of ambition in attack. They looked a lot better after Alphonso Davies came off the bench in the first half, and the Canadian should start the second leg.
If they concede in Paris next week, Bayern will have to score three in order to qualify. That is a tall order, but it is by no means impossible. They created chance after chance against PSG last night, and they would have won the game if they had been more clinical. If they repeat that performance in the second leg, they have every chance of turning the tie around.
William Hill has 5/2 (3.50) on Bayern qualifying for the next round, which looks pretty tempting. They are also priced at 5/4 (2.25) to simply win the second leg, and that is really appealing.