PSG vs Bayern Munich – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Tuesday 14th February 2023
Parc des Princes
As part of our Champions League predictions, we examine PSG’s clash with six-time Champions Bayern Munich. With both Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe struggling for fitness, can Bayern capitalise? Read on with our PSG vs Bayern Munich prediction.
PSG vs Bayern Munich Match Preview
With both teams having drawn 1-1 in their back-to-back matches in Group H and having already qualified ahead of Juventus and Maccabi Haifa, PSG and Benfica each entered matchday 6 with a chance of finishing top of the group. The French side won in Turin, but in a shocking turn of events, Benfica racked up five second-half goals to win 6-1 in Israel. This result left the two sides level on points, head-to-head results, goal difference, and goals scored. The tiebreaker was overall away goals scored, which meant PSG finished second.
Domestically, PSG could be in better form. They sit 9th in the form table in Ligue 1 over the last six games, having won only two of these matches. They are still top of the league, but with a five-point gap to Marseille, it is tighter than they would like. PSG come into the game off the back of being eliminated by Marseille from the Coupe de France and a 3-1 loss in Monaco. With injury doubts looming over crucial players such as Messi and Mbappe, they do not have their troubles to seek.
PSG’s punishment for finishing second is this last 16 tie with German powerhouse Bayern Munich. Bayern stormed Group C, winning all six games for the second consecutive season. They comfortably beat fellow European giants Inter and Barcelona both home and away. They scored 18 goals and kept five clean sheets, the only two goals conceded away in Plzen; their form was imperious.
Domestically, Bayern had a slight blip at the end of January, where they drew three consecutive games. However, February has gone well for the Bavarians so far. A 4-0 hammering of Mainz away in the round of 16 of the German Cup was followed by convincing wins in the league against Wolfsburg and Bochum. They sit top of the Bundesliga, one point ahead of Union Berlin, aiming to make it 11 titles in a row. Despite injuries to key players such as Neuer and Mane, they will feel confident coming to Paris.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Verratti, Messi, Mbappe
Will Not Play: Sanches, Mukiele
Might Not Play:
Will Not Play: Neuer, Hernandez, Mazraoui, Gravenberch, Mane
PSG vs Bayern Munich Lineups (Predicted)
PSG (4-3-1-2): Donnarumma; Mendes, Ramos, Marquinhos, Hakimi; Danilo, Verratti, Ruiz; Vitinha; Neymar, Messi
Bayern (4-2-3-1): Sommer; Davies, Upamecano, De Ligt, Cancelo; Kimmich, Goretzka; Coman, Musiala, Sane; Muller
PSG vs Bayern Munich Analysis
With doubts over vital players such as Mbappe and Messi (we think the former will be on the bench and the latter will start), PSG might modify their formation and system. We see them playing four at the back, but overloading in midfield areas to nullify Bayern’s passing ability. Therefore, Verratti (if fit) will likely play as the main central midfielder attempting to dictate play. Verratti is a very talented player and can pull the strings in midfield. Alongside him will probably be Danilo and Ruiz, with the three being crucial in making tackles and interceptions and covering for Mendes and Hakimi when the full-backs go forward.
For Bayern, Kimmich will start, and he is a similar string-puller for Bayern as Verratti is for the French side. He and Goretzka will try to get the ball down on the floor and play passes around the PSG midfield. They will also cover spaces in which the dangerous Messi and Neymar like to operate. We see Vitinha being the most advanced of the PSG midfield four. However, he will also come back into the middle to cope with the threat of the two Bayern midfielders and Musiala, who will drop deep at times. Musiala will try to link the play between the midfield two and the three forwards. He is crucial to finding spaces between the PSG lines in this game.
This game is set to be a technical, tactical, and physical battle in midfield. Both teams have completed over 3,000 passes in their six games, and we see this ebbing and flowing. We don’t see either side having the lion’s share of possession, as both enjoy keeping the ball. However, there may be more onus on PSG to attack as the home team (and the shackles might be lessened given the elimination of the away goal rule since last season).
Wide Areas and Attacking
It is clear that both these teams possess an abundance of star quality and world-class talent in forward areas. This statement is true nowhere more than in Paris, where the attacking trident of Messi, Neymar, and Mbappe comprise three of the best forwards in the world. There have been questions, though, if the three can play together because the midfield gets overrun due to their lesser defensive work rate. In fairness, Mbappe has improved in this area of his game, and coach Christophe Galtier has worked hard to give the team more balance out of possession.
Mbappe and Messi are both battling injuries (the former with his thigh and the latter with his hamstring). If Mbappe does start on the bench, this ironically means that PSG will likely have more control in midfield. If the midfielders can gain possession, they can unleash the playmaking attackers of Neymar and Messi. The Brazilian and Argentinean are both incredible dribblers, passers, and finishers, with Messi likely being the greatest player of all time.
Even at his advanced age, Messi can create something from nothing, and he will drift all over the attacking and midfield thirds to try to run the game and make things happen. His link-up on the right-hand side with Hakimi is dangerous for Bayern (as is Neymar’s with Mendes on the other side). The two attackers will try to create and find spaces and gaps for passes and shots. The potential addition of Mbappe’s pace and technique against tired Bayern legs in the second half is also ominous. The forwards will look to test Sommer in the Bayern goal, who is replacing the injured Neuer.
Davies and Cancelo might have to be more restrained than they usually are in Bayern’s full-back positions, given the threat posed by PSG in wide areas. There will be occasions they are both pinned back. Nevertheless, both players are integral to the Bayern attacking game plan. Both must get forward on the occasions that Bayern have ascendancy in the game. However, they must beware of counter-attacks as giving Messi and Neymar space is the last thing Bayern will want. The pair will link up with the wide forwards (likely Coman or Gnabry and the flying Sane).
The full-backs must try to offer overload opportunities and work with Coman and Sane to make their way into the box. The two wingers will also look to cut inside and shoot. The pace of Sane, in particular, is a massive threat. Mendes and Hakimi (who are equally as attacking as Davies and Cancelo) must be wary in the same manner when they attack, as Sane and Coman can destroy teams on transitions.
As stated, Musiala is vital in this game. His moving around the field and dropping deep can confuse PSG’s shape. Ramos or Marquinhos will be trying to decide whether to follow him out or leave him to the midfielders. He and the intelligent Muller may operate more as false nines and try to create space for the wingers. Musiala’s ability to dribble in tight areas and his incisive passing could prove dividends as he is a brilliant young playmaker.
Kimpembe is a potential starter in defence for PSG. He might start ahead of Ramos. Soler might be preferred in midfield, and Ekitkie is an option as a more traditional number 9. Mbappe could start if he is fit enough. For Bayern, there is the option to play three at the back, using Blind or Pavard. Tel, Gnabry, and Choupo-Moting are attacking reinforcements from the Bayern bench.
This game is one between two of European football’s powerhouses. It has come early due to PSG’s surprise second-place finish in Group H. Bayern beat PSG in the 2020 final. However, PSG gained a measure of revenge the following season by progressing from the quarter-final. Therefore, these teams are pretty evenly matched. PSG are strong at home, but Bayern are in tremendous form and will fancy their chances of going to Paris and claiming a win.
Bayern can get that win. Yes, PSG are good at home, but they have issues with injuries and form at the moment. In contrast, Bayern have been ticking along nicely all season and often come strong in the latter stages of this tournament. We also cannot forget the bizarre ways PSG have been eliminated from the Champions League several times in recent years, and these failures will play on the players’ minds. The logical prediction for us is 2-1 to the Germans or a 2-2 draw, but we are going with the former. Bayern may have a lead to protect in Munich in three weeks.
PSG 1-2 Bayern Munich
PSG vs Bayern Munich Betting Tip – Bayern Munich Odds:
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