Keir Radnedge – AIPS Football delegate
LONDON, August 19, 2020 – Bayern Munich will hope to see history repeat itself in the Champions League Final in Lisbon.
Sunday sees the perennial German champions confront the semi-permanent champions of France, Paris Saint-Germain. This will be the first Franco-German final since 1976 when Bayern defeated French opposition in Saint-Etienne 1-0 in Glasgow.
Bayern, five times champions of Europe, will be narrow favourites against PSG after a powerful charge through the European field including, above all, the 8-2 humbling of Barcelona in the quarter-finals and then the latest 3-0 semi-final dismissal of Lyon.
This was Bayern’s 10th win in their 10 games in this season’s competition.
Yet Lyon, surprise victors over Manchester City in the quarter-finals, brought a positive attitude into the game which should have been rewarded twice over in the opening minutes.
First Memphis Depay outpaced the Bayern defence and stepped wide of Manuel Neuer but shot wide then Karl Toko Ekambi wriggled into the penalty area only to hit a post.
That proved a fatal miss because, within one minute, Bayern had responded by taking the lead against the run of play. Serge Gnabry was the scorer, darting in from the right and bursting across the face of the defence before shooting up beyond Anthony Lopes.
Lyon had no answer to Gnabry at this stage. He had a low shot saved by Lopes after pouncing on a poor defensive header and then struck a second goal after Robert Lewandowski slipped while trying to convert an Ivan Perisic cross.
That was Gnabry’s ninth goal in nine Champions League games this term and his 23rd in all competitions.
Perisic should have extended Bayern’s lead early in the second half but Lopes saved his soft shot and Lyon, encouraged, began to play their football again.
Bayern, guilty of a lack of concentration which would have alerted a watching Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, were saved twice by Neuer. First he dived left to deny Marcelo after a corner then he saved in a one-on-one from Toko Ekambi.
Three minutes from time Lewandowski headed hs 15th competition goal and 55th in all competitions to lead Bayern’s march into an 11th Champions final and first since 2013.