After four thrilling quarter-finals, the upsets stopped at the last-four stage in the Champions League, setting up Sunday’s final between Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain in Lisbon.
Bayern, five-times winners, are back in the final for the first time since 2013 after ending a streak of four losses in the semi-final stage with Wednesday's comfortable 3-0 win over Lyon.
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PSG have reached the final for the first time, having struggled to translate their dominance of the French league into a real challenge in Europe until wins in Lisbon over Atalanta and RB Leipzig secured their place.
For the first time since 1998, the Champions League final will feature two teams who entered the competition as domestic champions, a throwback to the days of the old European Cup when only a country's title winners were allowed to enter.
Leipzig were unable to lay a glove on PSG, but while Bayern ended up winning by the same score-line against Lyon, the German club were far more reliant on their opponent's wastefulness in front of goal.
That is not something you would normally associate with Neymar but he has been squandering big chances since the competition moved to Portugal, against both Atalanta and Leipzig.
Neymar's scintillating displays of skill and ambidexterity have already lit up the Estadio da Luz, but on Sunday he stands potentially 90 minutes away from completing his mission.
The 28-year-old scored in the 2015 final for Barcelona and could become only the third player to score in the final for two different teams, along with Cristiano Ronaldo and Mario Mandzukic. In 19 Champions League appearances for PSG, Neymar has been directly involved in 23 goals, scoring 14 times and assisting nine.
Neymar traded the Nou Camp for the Parc des Princes having been instrumental in consigning PSG to La Remontada in 2017, when the world-record £198m transfer was widely condensed to an arrangement that suited both parties.
PSG would have the superstar to bridge the gap to the elite competing for Champions League honours, while the player was amenable to being removed from Lionel Messi's shadow and sold the vision of being better placed to win the Ballon d'Or, an obsession among Brazil's golden boys.
With Kylian Mbappe subsequently making his move from Monaco permanent the follow summer for £163m, this is a side that was bought at an exorbitant cost in order to reign across Europe.
While Barcelona flounder at the offset of a complex rebuild, the Parisians are peaking at the opportune moment on the biggest of stages.
Tuchel to target fast start
Remarkably, Bayern have only been behind for 22 minutes this calendar year, which could represent a double-edged sword given the novelty that an early PSG goal would bring.
Lyon were the better side in the opening 15 minutes of Wednesday's semi-final but failed to take their chances. Bayern may find PSG will not prove so generous.
Tuchel's side have scored 136 goals this season and often look to bury teams by half-time. Atalanta were asphyxiated long before Angel Di Maria doubled PSG's lead on Tuesday - and the same approach may be taken in spite of the superior opposition.
PSG's route to the final
|Champions League group stage||PSG 3-0 Real Madrid|
|Champions League group stage||Galatasaray 0-1 PSG|
|Champions League group stage||Club Brugge 0-5 PSG|
|Champions League group stage||PSG 1-0 Club Brugge|
|Champions League group stage||Real Madrid 2-2 PSG|
|Champions League group stage||PSG 5-0 Galatasaray|
|Champions League last 16 first leg||Borussia Dortmund 2-1 PSG|
|Champions League last 16 second leg||PSG 2-0 Borussia Dortmund|
|Champions League quarter-finals||Atalanta 1-2 PSG|
|Champions League semi-finals||RB Leipzig 0-3 PSG|
Tuchel, who has lost more matches in his managerial career against Bayern than any other team, will call on his fleet-footed forwards to exploit Bayern's weakness at the back.
Mbappe, in particular, presents a real problem given his lightning speed from the left flank. Neymar's ability to make runs from deeper positions and Di Maria's ability to pick them out with the perfect pass mean Bayern's back-line will be tested on Sunday.
In the same way Dayot Upamecano found handling the world's two most expensive players to be his toughest career assignment to date, it will be fascinating to see if Bayern manager Hansi Flick encourages the same amount of space behind in which Neymar and Mbappe could wreak havoc.
Flick to focus on Bayern's strengths
Flick is only the sixth person to play for and manage the same side in a Champions League final, having played in Bayern's 2-1 defeat in the 1987 final to Porto, and could be the first of the six to lose as both a player and manager at a single club.
"Paris are a great team," the Bayern coach said. "We will analyse some things, we know they have quick players. We will look to organise our defence, but we know our biggest strength is putting our opponents under pressure."
PSG will know only too well about Bayern's chief marksman Robert Lewandowski, who leads the tournament's scoring charts with 15 goals this season and has found the target 55 times in all competitions.
Bayern Munich's route to the final
|Champions League group stage||Bayern Munich 3-0 Red Star Belgrade|
|Champions League group stage||Tottenham 2-7 Bayern Munich|
|Champions League group stage||Olympiakos 2-3 Bayern Munich|
|Champions League group stage||Bayern Munich 2-0 Olympiakos|
|Champions League group stage||Red Star Belgrade 0-6 Bayern Munich|
|Champions League group stage||Bayern Munich 3-1 Tottenham|
|Champions League last 16 first leg||Chelsea 0-3 Bayern Munich|
|Champions League last 16 second leg||Bayern Munich 4-1 Chelsea|
|Champions League quarter-finals||Barcelona 2-8 Bayern Munich|
|Champions League semi-finals||Bayern Munich 3-0 Lyon|
Then there is the 19-year-old left-back Alphonso Davies has been the most exciting young player in the tournament and was born in a refugee camp in Ghana before moving to Canada, who he represents at national team level.
On a tactical level, the final pits two German coaches against each other for only the second time in the tournament's history.
Tuchel, the former Borussia Dortmund coach, has managed to give the French champion's expensively assembled squad the balance and steel they have lacked in recent years.
Flick only took over as Bayern coach in November but has had an astonishing impact. Since mid-December, Bayern have enjoyed 28 wins and a solitary draw, scoring 97 goals and conceding just 22.
Which defence will stand firm?
In previous editions since PSG's state-owned shareholding organisation Qatar Sports Investments purchased the club in 2011, the club's failure to replicate domestic success in Europe has been partly due to a suspect defence.
But greater solidity has been evident this season - PSG have kept seven clean sheets in 10 Champions League games while Bayern have conceded eight goals to their opponent's four. Marquinhos has provided Tuchel's side with a welcome protective screen to allow the 35-year-old Thiago Silva to look reborn alongside the ever-improving Presnel Kimpembe.
But Tuchel's side have not faced a forward line with the same potency as Bayern. Lewandowski has scored in nine consecutive Champions League matches, and his tally of 15 this term places him two behind the record of 17 set by Ronaldo in 2013/14.
Bayern Munich's success in reaching the final of the Champions League has been built on a very distinct tactical approach but it is one that carries big risks against PSG, leaving coach Flick with a major dilemma.
The Bundesliga outfit play an aggressive pressing game, pinning back their opponents, maintaining pressure on their defence and making it difficult for them to move the ball through the midfield.
But what if PSG beat the press? Leon Goretzka and Thiago Alcantara are not naturally holding midfielders with Goretzka in particular helping pin back opposition defences.
Their system based on swarming teams carries with it the risk of being picked off by well-constructed counter-attacks.
Lyon managed to do just that on Wednesday but lacked the clinical finishing to make the most of the opportunities that came their way. Neymar and Mbappe are unlikely to be so forgiving.
Will experience tell in Lisbon?
Bayern, who thrashed Barcelona 8-2 in their quarter-final, also have experience on their side. The Bavarians have already featured in the Champions League final on 10 occasions, winning their fifth title in 2013.
How do you stop the red machine? Bayern have won a record-equalling 10 consecutive Champions League games while they are currently on a 20-game winning streak in all competitions.
They have been imposing going forward ever since Flick took charge in November. In 2020, not one team has managed to beat Bayern, with only RB Leipzig managing a draw back in February.
Indeed, Bayern have scored 42 goals in the competition this season at an average of 4.2 goals per game, with only Barcelona in 1999/2000 scoring more in a single season (45) having played 16 games that term.
PSG have only reached the last four once before and their best performance in Europe came in the old Cup Winner's Cup which they won in 1996. As Bayern prepare for their 11th European Cup final, this will be PSG's first.
It promises to be a classic: Neymar vs Lewandowski. Mbappe vs Muller. Gnabry vs Di Maria. Basketball football in a blue riband event to conclude this most unique of seasons.
Tuchel may well be tempted to field the same starting PSG line-up that thrashed against Leipzig. Idrissa Gueye (muscular), Layvin Kurzawa (thigh) and Keylor Navas (thigh) are all doubtful. PSG will hope to start with goalkeeper Navas and midfielder Marco Verratti if the duo can prove their fitness.
Mauro Icardi may have to make do with a role on the substitutes' bench after Angel Di Maria excelled on his return to the side.
Jerome Boateng (knock) is the only doubt for Bayern Munich, and should he be declared fit Flick is likely to field an unchanged team. Bayern will have to call upon Niklas Sule should Boateng be ruled out but Lucas Hernandez and Javi Martinez are other options.
Flick may be tempted to reinstate right-back Benjamin Pavard and push Joshua Kimmich up into midfield ahead of Leon Goretzka.
I saw that it was the first time in seven years that Bayern Munich have reached the Champions League final - how is that the case? They have been decent in those years. I don't recall a bad time for Munich, but that is some period of time without them being in the business end.
PSG, looking at the competition as a whole, could have been the dark horse I thought, despite their resources up front and a team that should have been performing better than what it was. Edinson Cavani was their No 9 and it was not really working, but they need to get this over the line now.
It was the right draw for PSG, so it could be their time. There is too much talent on show, and I do love Neymar. I don't like his antics, and I think Neymar has even got to the stage where he wishes he could stop, but can't!
Lionel Messi is the superstar of football, but football has caught up with Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo by nature, and they will go into slumps. Kylian Mbappe is also on the edge of being the next superstar for a while. We have lots of fine young talents coming through the world of football, who are attack minded and dynamic.
Mbappe has been the one, even since his days at Monaco. He was rumoured to be going to Liverpool, and if Liverpool got him, what a move that could have been. He is probably not that much quicker, but he looks it on the pitch, just with his added intensity too. He has the tricks, charisma, and he wants to entertain people, and enjoys doing so. He enjoys the game at his age, which he should.
He is a true player. We have been waiting to replace the two giants of the game. Is it his time? Can he deliver? Is he as fit as he should be? I don't know, as I watched him coming off the bench against Atalanta and he looked brilliant, but I watched him against Leipzig and thought he struggled.
Serge Gnabry looks unreal and Bayern look strong. It has been a massive effort from both of these sides and it is a treat to have them in the final. The wine list is already prepared for this final, it looks breathtaking! I see goals again here.
It has to be the defence for Bayern which will be their undoing. Messi should have scored against them and was furious at himself, which then changes the format of the game. Bayern killed them in the end, but they do give away chances.
I am not sure Jerome Boateng will make it, although I am not convinced he is a great defender, but they will miss him if he is not there. There will be little defending in this one. The full-backs will bomb on, and the midfielders do not like players running off them, so Leon Goretzka will be important, but it will fall down to pace. David Alaba is quick, but he is not quick enough for these guys. PSG will be the kings of Europe.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 2-2 (11/1 with Sky Bet)
PSG to win in extra time: 14/1 with Sky Bet
- Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain have met eight times previously, all in the UEFA Champions League group stages - Paris SG have won five of those matches, with Bayern winning the other three, including the most recent game in December 2017.
- This is Paris Saint-Germain's first ever European Cup/Champions League final, becoming the 41st team to reach the showpiece final. The last six teams competing in their first final have all lost, with the last first-time winner being Borussia Dortmund in 1997 against Juventus.
- Bayern Munich have reached their 11th European Cup/Champions League final, with only Real Madrid playing in more (16). They currently have five titles, the fourth-best tally behind Real Madrid (13), AC Milan (7) and Liverpool (6).
- Paris Saint-Germain have reached only their third major UEFA final, previously doing so in the 1995/96 and 1996/97 Cup Winners' Cup, winning the former 1-0 against SK Rapid Wien and losing the latter 1-0 to Barcelona.
- Paris SG are the fifth French side to reach a European Cup/Champions League final, and first since Monaco in 2004. Only one of the previous four has been victorious, with Marseille winning 1-0 against AC Milan in the 1993 Champions League final.
- Bayern Munich are looking to become the first team in the history of the European Cup/Champions League to win 11 in a row - the previous two instances of a team winning 10 in a row were Bayern themselves (April-November 2013) and Real Madrid (April 2014-Feb 2015).
- Robert Lewandowski (alongside Serge Gnabry) is looking to become the fifth player to score in the group stage, round of 16, quarter-final, semi-final and final in a season, after Diego Milito (Inter, 2009/10), Messi (Barcelona, 2010/11), Ronaldo (Real Madrid, 2013/14) and Sadio Mané (Liverpool, 2017/18).