Champions League final: Flick and Tuchel put on a poker face

Before the Champions League final, Bayern coach Hansi Flick and PSG coach Thomas Tuchel will play poker over line-up and tactics. Who has the better cards in the end?

The Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday (23.08.2020) cast its shadow the evening before. The coaches Hansi Flick and Thomas Tuchel answered questions from the media in Lisbon. So far, so common. But did they really let themselves be looked at in terms of line-up and tactics? Probably not.

Unfathomably friendly

Flick in particular was a bit unfathomable behind his, as always, friendly and this time also emphatically relaxed demeanor. Will he change his team against the extremely dangerous and extremely fast PSG attack involving Neymar and Kylian Mbappé? Especially in view of the fact that the Bayern defense was already vulnerable against Olympique Lyon in the semifinals after losing the ball and counterattacks quickly by the opponent?

Deception with Pavard?

One option for Flick would be to play Benjamin Pavard as right-back after a recently recovered foot injury against Neymar. But the Bayern coach declined: “I’m not convinced that he’s one hundred percent fit.” But maybe this statement was just a sham. Because if Pavard plays, Joshua Kimmich could switch back to defensive midfield and provide more stability there. Thiago would then be the one who would have to give way.

Tuchel: Last unit not “to confuse us”

Opponent Tuchel also had the topic in focus at his press conference. “Before that, I flirted that Pavard might be playing,” he said. After the final training in the “Stadium of Light”, in which Bayern trained as usual with Kimmich as a right-back, he no longer believes in it. The last unit does not serve the purpose of “confusing us,” Tuchel now believes.

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Finale not a game for big changes

The Paris coach also left open whether the goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who was injured against Leipzig, will appear again in the final. He was fit, however, reported the mostly well-informed French sports newspaper “L’Equipe”. The 33-year-old from Costa Rica has won the premier class three times in a row with Real Madrid. He is more experienced and better than his representative Sergio Rico.

Tuchel did not commit himself to midfielder Marco Verratti either. Both would have trained with the team, however. After all, Tuchel revealed that Verratti could certainly not play 90 or 120 minutes. Since he had no muscle injury, there was no risk to use him. In principle, Tuchel admitted: “A final is not a game for big changes.”

Coman for Perisic?

In principle, Flick should see it the same way. But something could also change at the front for Munich. Sure, Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Müller and Serge Gnabry are set. Flick could, however, replace the robust Ivan Perisic with the strong dribbling Kingsley Coman, who was trained as a professional at PSG – or Philippe Coutinho behind him.

“We have the third game in a week and of course we also have to pay attention to the strength,” said Flick ambiguously. It is also unclear whether central defender Jérôme Boateng, who was replaced against Lyon with muscular problems, is ready to play again. He was supposed to undergo an endurance test during the final training session on Saturday evening. The result is open.

FC Bayern is sticking to its game philosophy

Flick spoke plain text only in one respect: “We have implemented our philosophy in the last ten months, that was our guarantee of success and we will not change anything there.” In the past few months, Flick said, Bayern have been “honored that we stand so high” and have “pushed our opponents high”.

This is one of the reasons why the Munich team are still unbeaten in 2020 and currently have 20 competitive game wins in a row. A series that also inspires Tuchel with respect. FC Bayern had a “unique run” under Flick and was “the highest level in Europe”. The sports world will find out late on Sunday evening whether PSG is going one better.



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