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PSG 0 Bayern 1: Coman header seals sixth Champions League trophy for German kings on frustrating night for Neymar and Co

THEY have thundered across Europe, this irresistible Bayern Munich team.

They have steamrolled London’s finest, Tottenham and Chelsea, scoring 17 goals in the process.

They have demolished that great footballing institution, Barcelona, in a dizzying eight-goal rampage.

And even when patience was demanded of them in this Champions League Final, Bayern prevailed against a Paris Saint-Germain side containing the two most expensive footballers on the planet in Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

They have scored 43 goals in this European campaign, winning 11 out of 11, and not even all the oil wealth in Qatar could knock them off course.

The French had been eagerly anticipating their first club to reach a European final in 16 years.

Yet despite defending stoutly for an hour and spurning some excellent chances, PSG were undone by a Frenchman, Kingsley Coman, who had not been expected to start.

Bayern boss Hansi Flick, brought in as a stopgap after the sacking of Niko Kovac in November, is certainly no caretaker now.

He has masterminded a run of 21 straight victories in all competitions and produced a masterstroke in preferring Koman to Ivan Perisic, who had scored against Chelsea and Barcelona over the previous couple of weeks.

So finally, we have reached the end of football’s longest campaign – more than 14 months after this competition got under way – with worthy champions of Europe.

The only surprise was that there was no goal for Robert Lewandowski – with 59 to his name this season – who struck a post but failed to score for only the second time in 17 outings.

They say form is temporary. For Bayern and for Lewandowski, it is pretty damned-near permanent.

A PSG victory would have been celebrated beneath the Eiffel Tower, in the oilfields of Qatar, and in few places in between.

The nouveau riche of the French capital have few friends in the wider footballing world.

And Bayern’s sixth European Cup will have pleased the cartel of traditional clubs who have attempted to keep the likes of PSG and Manchester City in check with Financial Fair Play rules.

These are two clubs who have turned great European leagues into processions – Bayern winning eight Bundesliga titles in a row, PSG claiming seven Ligue 1 crowns during the same time.

Unlike their English, Spanish and Italian rivals they were both physically fresh and mentally focussed for this unique tournament in Lisbon.

For PSG, this has still been a groundbreaking season – like their fellow arrivistes City they had held a long-term mental block in the Champions League, unlike Pep Guardiola’s men they had overcome it to reach the final.

And it was the French club who produced for the first clear-cut opportunity on 19 minutes when their two superstars combined, Mbappe slipping in a pass for Neymar, whose was denied twice by Manuel Neuer’s left boot.

It was not long, though, until Lewandowski got a sniff, with a rapid turn and shot which cannoned off the post.

But Bayern were lacking their usual fluency and Di Maria, man of the match for Real Madrid in this fixture in 2014, skied a great chance after Neymar had scampered clear.

Bayern defender Jerome Boateng was forced to limp off in the 25th minute and there was a sense that PSG fancied their chances against a defence which has shipped goals regularly despite such dominant form.
An instinctive header from Lewandowski forced Keylor Navas into a fine save.

But Paris should have taken the lead on the stroke of half-time when an absent-minded defensive pass from David Alaba let in Mbappe, who exchanged passes with Ander Herrera but could only shoot straight at Neuer.

Almost immediately, Bayern had a decent penalty shout when Thilo Kehrer appeared to push over Coman – but ref Daniele Orsato was having none of it, and neither was his VAR.

Yet a match-up which had seemingly guaranteed goals was somehow scoreless at the break.

Neymar descended into his familiar wounded-swan mode, twice bringing out the theatrics early in the second half.

But for a side usually characterised by its dependency on individual attacking flair, PSG had been defending with discipline and unity.

Suddenly, though, Bayern found their swift-passing stride and made it count on the hour.

Thiago Alcantara’s searching pass found Joshua Kimmich, who exchanged passes with Serge Gnabry and centred for Koman, free at the back post, to head home back across goal.

Lewandoski and Koman both squandered decent chances to swiftly double Bayern’s lead.

Then there was a flurry of attacks from PSG – Kimmich surviving a decent penalty appeal when he appeared to foul Mbappe and Neymar curling one narrowly off-target.

In injury-time Mbappe found Neymar with a cute reverse-pass but the Brazilian’s cross-shot flashed across goal.

Bayern held firm, as they always do.

A 100 per cent record, unprecedented in the Champions League.

And 100 per cent the finest side in Europe.

A 100 per cent record in all competitions since football’s coronavirus lockdown.

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