Paris Saint-Germain has the opportunity to win its first Champions League final on Sunday, but will face off against an in-form Bayern Munich in Lisbon for the European title.
Both teams dominated their respective Champions League semifinals, winning by identical 3-0 scores.
Verratti: ‘The Most Important 90 Minutes of Our Lives’
PSG brushed aside RB Leipzig in the first semifinal, while Bayern made short work of Lyon in the second.
That set up a clash between two European powerhouses that have very different histories in the Champions League and its predecessor, the European Cup. Bayern has five titles and five more finals appearances, last winning the competition in 2013.
Meanwhile, PSG will make its first finals appearance on Sunday. Only one French team has ever won the competition: Marseille, which did so in 1993.
That gives PSG a chance to make history for both club and country.
“The Champions League is always difficult. So far, we’ve had an incredible journey,” PSG midfielder Marco Verratti told reporters on Thursday. “We have 90 minutes left, these are the most important 90 minutes of our lives as a footballer and of the history of the club.”
Bayern comes into the final on a hot streak. The club has won 10 straight Champions League games, tying the best mark in the tournament’s history. Bayern hasn’t lost a competitive match since last December, and its recent results – including an 8-2 demolition of Barcelona in the quarterfinals — provide no indication that the club is flagging in any way.
Lewandowski Can Set Scoring Record in Champions League Final
Bayern manager Hansi Flick remains wary, however. He believes that his side must defend better to assure themselves of victory on Sunday.
“Paris are a great team,” Flick said after the semifinal win over Lyon. “We will analyze some things, we know they have quick players. We will look to organize our defense, but we know our biggest strength is putting our opponents under pressure.”
While Bayern enters the match as the favorite, bookmakers see the game as fairly open. FanDuel Sportsbook sees Bayern as the -180 favorite to win the Champions League, with PSG listed at +125.
Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski also has an outside chance of breaking a record on Sunday. He’s scored 15 goals this season, just two short of Cristiano Ronaldo’s record of 17 in a single Champions League campaign. FanDuel lists Lewandowski at +330 odds to score at least two goals in the final and +1200 to score a hat trick.
Despite his shot at history, Flick says his superstar won’t be distracted by personal milestones.
“He won’t think about that, he’s happy that he finished our game. He works a lot for the team, that’s very important,” Flick told reporters. “He’s also important defensively. For me, he is the world’s best center forward, and I hope he scores against Paris, too.”