Some might say it’s too early in the competition, but a Paris Saint-Germain vs. Chelsea Champions League final is slowly shaping up.
PSG are favorites to advance in the semifinals against Bayern Munich, after the French side carved a masterful 3-2 away win against the defending champions in the Allianz Arena last April 8.
The two clubs meet anew tomorrow at 3 a.m. for the second leg at the Parc des Princes in Paris.
But PSG carries a huge away goals advantage going into tomorrow’s encounter against the Germans.
It is not insurmountable, but Bayern needs to go all out and win by a margin of at least two goals to advance outright on aggregate or with more away goals than PSG already has.
PSG, of course, are more than willing to counter, probably utilizing Neymar in the middle anew.
The surprise switch in the previous match was a brilliant move from PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino, as the Brazilian succeeded in freeing the flanks and striker Kylian Mbappe to sow terror upon the Bayern defense.
Bayern will still probably be dangerous in the air as in the previous leg, when Jean-Eric Choupo-Moting and Thomas Muller both scored from wicked headers to give Bayern much hope.
But while the German side will be expected to press forward, PSG will be willing to wait on the wings with precise counterattacks that could prove to be Bayern’s undoing.
Bayern manager Hansi Flick will have to dig deep from his bag of tricks and set plays to mount a comeback of this scale.
Chelsea, on the other hand, are favorites to advance against Porto in the return leg also tomorrow at 3 a.m.
Interestingly, any home advantage has been out of the question, as a stadium in Seville, Spain served as the venue for the tie, no thanks to travel restrictions arising from the pandemic between Portugal and England.
But with a commanding 2-0 lead going into the second leg, Chelsea won’t throw this match away.
Blues manager Thomas Tuchel has proven his tactical acumen anew, and this, coupled with the club’s strength and depth, will be too much for Porto and manager Sergio Conceicao to handle.