Champions League Final: PSG vs. Bayern Munich preview and pick
Two of the biggest powerhouses in Europe are set to face off on Sunday afternoon for the biggest prize in continental football, as French Ligue 1 champions PSG take on Bayern Munich, the champions of the German Bundesliga.
Both sides are talented, love to attack, and will believe they can take home one of the most famous trophies in sports. Let’s break down how the teams match up, and give you some tips on how to make the most of your betting dollar.
Sun, August 23 2020, 7:00 PM
Both teams will have injured players vying to return, all of whom could play a role in the outcome of this match. It is absolutely vital that you check the team sheets an hour before kickoff before making your final selections.
Benjamin Pavard appeared late in Bayern’s 3-0 win over Lyon, which bodes well for his possible return to the lineup at right back. This would be crucial for the Bavarians, as his positioning and pace are superior to that of Joshua Kimmich, whose poor positioning was exploited multiple times by Lyon in the first half. This would also allow Kimmich to slide back into the central midfield defensive role that he has thrived in this season.
For the Parisians, they have two key players who could possibly return for the final. Marco Verratti is the heartbeat of the midfield and has missed almost all of the tournament restart, until featuring in the final 10 minutes in their 3-0 victory over Leipzig on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, PSG stated that keeper Keylor Navas may also be ready to go after injuring his hamstring against Atalanta. Navas has the third highest save percentage in the tournament at just over 80%, and in eight Champions League matches this season he has allowed just five goals. If they both were to be fit for the final, PSG’s chances of winning the trophy would go up exponentially.
How they match up
Both of these teams are flying high at the moment, and they both like to play in an up-tempo, fast-paced style. Bayern is unbeaten in 29 straight matches with 20 consecutive wins, and have won every Champions League match they have played in this season. They employ a very high line in defense, looking to use their speed and athleticism to press teams into mistakes, while keeping the action as far from their goal as possible.
Manuel Neuer plays a sweeper-keeper role, which was vital as Lyon broke the back line multiple times in the first half, and he prevented multiple goals with his positioning. One of these led to a counter-attack the other way, with Bayern scoring less than a minute after a Lyon shot hit the post. Unlike their French counterparts, PSG have more weapons to attack that high line, and it will be Neymar and Mbappe running in-behind looking for goals.
As for PSG, they have won eight straight competitive matches, and have scored in all but one of their last 39 matches. Mbappe looked to be feeling great in the match against Leipzig, and Neymar created multiple chances and was unlucky to score, hitting the woodwork with an audacious free kick. If given the chances that Lyon had, they could easily find the back of the net and make things tricky for Bayern.
Leandro Paredes was given the task of man-marking Marcel Sabitzer in the match against Leipzig, and did a phenomenal job. I would not be shocked to see him do the same thing with Thomas Muller or Serge Gnabry to limit their impact on the match.
How to bet
This match could truly go either way, depending on personnel. If Verratti and Navas both miss, Bayern should win in regulation, but the inclusion of both could easily see either squad lift the trophy. If both start, Navas can come up with critical saves and Verratti can be the key that unlocks the Bayern back line. That said, there is value to be had in this match without trying to pick a winner.
First, the total for the match is over 3.5, but there is solid value in the first half over 1.5 goals at -101. Both sides found the back of the net multiple times in the first halves of their semifinal matches, and this match will likely be full of counter-attacks. With the high-class finishers on both sides, there should be plenty of opportunities before halftime.
Robert Lewandowski has scored a headed goal in each of his last three matches, and his odds of scoring anytime do not pay out the greatest (-165), but Lewandowski to score via header at +600 is a terrific value bet that has a high likelihood of paying out big.
There are two other great player props to look at. The first is Serge Gnabry with Over 1.5 shots on goal at +120, as he has been on a great run of form. The other is for Kylian Mbappe to score anytime at +140, as he will likely find a chance or two breaking the high line of Bayern and getting a one-on-one chance with Neuer.
Finally, we have to give you a winner, so the best value for the bet is that Bayern Munich will win the match, with both teams finding the scoresheet at +180. As competitive as the match should be, this is simply Bayern’s competition to win, and they should do so in a high-scoring slugfest that will be entertaining for all fans to watch.