PARIS — Bayern Munich took control of their Champions League round-of-16 match with Paris Saint-Germain as Kingsley Coman‘s goal gave them a 1-0 victory at Parc des Princes on Tuesday.

Bayern dominated much of the game and had chances to double their lead after Coman’s 53rd minute winner. Up to that point, the likes of Leo Messi and Neymar were struggling to find their way into the match, and it was the introduction of Kylian Mbappe in the second half that shifted the balance of the game back into the hosts’ favour.

Mbappe had two goals disallowed due to offside, while Messi had a shot turned over by a brilliant block from Bayern defender Benjamin Pavard block. But Pavard’s late red card for a second bookable offence was the only blight on an otherwise near-perfect evening for Julian Nagelsmann’s Bayern Munich. PSG and manager Christophe Galtier have it all to do if they are to overturn this deficit in Munich on March 8 for the return leg.

Rapid reaction

1. Bayern Munich’s well-executed game plan ensures the win

For about 75 minutes, Bayern enjoyed complete control of the match. The first half was a dire affair for both sides, restricted to one chance from Bayern’s Joshua Kimmich, but the visitor’s resolute set-up prevented PSG from getting into the game. For the first 45 minutes they pushed and pulled PSG, testing them out with jabs but then waited until the opening stages of the second-half to start landing a series of haymakers.

The winning punch came from one of PSG’s former sons Coman — the same man who scored the winner when the two teams met in the Champions League final back in 2020. It was a neatly-worked goal as half-time substitute Alphonso Davies‘ cross found an unmarked Coman, who side-footed it home underneath goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. Coman didn’t celebrate, the crowd went silent, and Bayern trotted back to the halfway line to plan another series of carefully-crafted attacks.

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That gave Bayern the platform to go close again with Donnarumma, pushing a Eric Choupo-Moting header onto the post and Dayot Upamecano planting a close-range header off a corner straight at the Italian goalkeeper. They were in control with Kimmich and Leon Goretzka suffocating the middle of the pitch, with Jamal Musiala dropping deep when required to snaffle up a loose ball. The same went for Choupo-Moting, whose movement up front pushed and pulled the PSG defence out of position and allowed Coman to get that space for the opener.

In short, PSG barely had a sniff for 75 minutes or so, until they unleashed Mbappe. VAR twice came to Bayern’s aid with Mbappe having two goals ruled out through offside. The first was obvious — coming after his break saw a shot well saved at close range by Yann Sommer. Sommer then parried the rebound effort from Neymar into Mbappe’s path but he was well offside. Mbappe had another close range finish that was again chalked out by VAR for the slimmest of margins. Lionel Messi finally had a decent chance in the 84th minute, but Pavard got in a key block. Bayern were finally scrambled, but the core of the team stayed true and guided them to a hugely important 1-0 victory. Nagelsmann won this battle of the minds.

2. Mbappe couldn’t save a PSG side that looked lost without him

When Mbappe picked up the hamstring injury at the start of February, he was given a three-week timescale for recovery. But Mbappe isn’t like other athletes, and there he was on the hour-mark ready to come on and save PSG.

At that stage, PSG had a lowly expected goals, or xG, of 0.04, meaning they hadn’t generated any half-decent scoring chances. Their star power had misfired, with the only danger to Sommer’s concentration in goal coming from the smoke from the flares lit by Bayern fans.

PSG’s first half was, in a word, dismal. They barely threatened, and they fumbled a free kick on the edge of the box where Neymar dummied, and Messi hit a drive straight at the wall. It summed up their first 45 minutes: hapless and ineffective. Neymar pressed, Messi looked frustrated and those out wide — like Nuno Mendes, Achraf Hakimi and the young 16-year-old Warren Zaire-Emery, who became the youngster ever player to start a knockout game in the men’s Champions League — were left isolated.

Mbappe did spark PSG into life and it was his pace and movement that gave the hosts the impetus for that late pressure on Bayern’s goal. Even if he was only half fit, it was still a remarkable cameo and Bayern will be fully aware of his threat when they meet again in Munich. But it should be alarming for PSG that they looked so toothless without Mbappe — they have enough star power to be threatening the best in Europe, but without him, they looked like a set of individuals rather than a team.

3. Pavard red card puts a damper on Champions League return leg

It was nearly a perfect evening for Bayern Munich. But that late red card for Pavard shifts the balance of this tie ever so slightly.

He’s indispensable on the right side of Nagelsmann’s three-man defensive system, and he did a brilliant job of keeping Neymar quiet for so much of the game. But his reckless challenge on Messi in injury time was costly, as he picked up his second booking of the game to add to the one he was handed in the first half for his tackle on Neymar.

Bayern Munich have bolstered their team well in January. They covered the injured absentees goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and left-back Lucas Hernandez with the signings of Yann Sommer and Joao Cancelo respectively. But if Nagelsmann is going to continue with that three-man central defence, then Pavard is going to be hard to replace.

The second leg could see Bayern shift to a back four instead, or Nagelsmann could opt to bring in Daley Blind on the left of a back three, but it’s a headache Nagelsmann could do without.

Best and worst performers

Best: Kingsley Coman, Bayern Munich

Outstanding against his former side as he was yet again the man who broke PSG hearts.

Best: Dayot Upamecano, Bayern Munich

Rock solid in the middle of Bayern’s defence, a brilliant performance.

Best: Joshua Kimmich, Bayern Munich

Controlled everything in the middle of the park for Bayern.

Worst: Achraf Hakimi, PSG

Substituted at half time after failing to make an impact on the match.

Worst: Neymar, PSG

A poor performance from the PSG Starman. Only had a couple of half chances and only came to life once Mbappe was on.

Worst: Joao Cancelo, Bayern Munich

Perhaps harsh, but was taken off at half time and Alphonso Davies offered more, albeit on the opposite flank with Coman shifting over.

Highlights and notable moments

After a lackluster first half in which PSG barely go into the attacking third at all and Bayern Munich had only so much as a sniff at goal, the second half brought a more decisive start.

French forward Kingsley Coman put Bayern up in the 53rd minute, finishing a lofted cross from Canadian full-back Alphonso Davies.

Kylian Mbappe came on as a substitute in the 57th minute for PSG.

He thought scored the equaliser in the 73rd minute, but VAR ruled it offside.

It wasn’t all good for Bayern Munich, however.

Benjamin Pavard, Bayern’s starting right-back earned a second yellow and saw red for a tough foul on Lionel Messi.

After the match: What the managers and players said

Julian Nagelsmann, Bayern Munich head coach: “We played really well in the first 25 minutes. We were a bit surprised by how much of the ball we had. We didn’t expect Paris to be so passive; it was a good first half. After the break, we had a great start and then things hung in the balance a little, though the two times they really threatened it was offside.”

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Bayern Munich forward: “We definitely had good phases. The first 25 minutes were good. We also started the second half well. In the end it was quite close, but Paris are a very good team, so we are very happy that we won. Everyone showed that we wanted to win today, and as a team. We know we have individual quality, but we need to bring it together on the pitch and fight from the first to the last minute.”

Sergio Ramos, PSG defender: “I’m very disappointed for the supporters. We’ll have to show more character in the second leg, and more verticality. We want to win and be the best we can be, but this is the nature of football. Sometimes we play well, sometimes we play badly. What counts is the final result. The more we play, the more experience we’ll have. It will get better and better.”

Kylian Mbappe, PSG forward: “It was difficult, unpredictable. I wasn’t supposed to play but I wanted to play and help my mates. We did everything, we worked night and day to get me some game time. I wanted to [start the game]. But sometimes you have to be satisfied with what you can do, and that’s all I could do.”

Key stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information research)

  • PSG have now lost three games straight, and it’s the first time the trio of Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar have ever lost that many in a row since joining PSG.

  • This is PSG’s first home loss since April 28, 2021 in UEFA Champions League semifinal against Manchester City. They had avoided defeat at home in 40 consecutive matches across all competitions (33-0-7 W-L-D).

  • This is the first time in the last 15 years that PSG failed to register a shot on target in the first 70 minutes of a home Champions League game. (Kylian Mbappe first put a shot on target in the 73rd minute.)

  • At 16 years and 343 days old, PSG’s Warren Zaire-Emery became the youngest player to start a UEFA Champions League knockout stage game. Bayern Munich’s Kingsley Coman scored his second career goal against his former club, PSG. Alphonso Davies assisted on the goal, and he now has one goal and two assists in last four games played (all competitions).

  • The last four UEFA Champions League knockout stage goals conceded by PSG have been scored by French players (Coman on Tuesday and three from Karim Benzema last season).

Up next

Paris Saint-Germain: Les Parisiens shift their focus back to Ligue 1 when they host Lille on Sunday, Feb. 19 at 7 a.m. ET. Their next Champions League fixture is the return leg of the round-of-16 series against Bayern Munich in Germany on Wednesday, March 8 at 3 p.m. ET.

Bayern Munich: Die Bayern resume their Bundesliga campaign with a visit to Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday, Feb. 18 (stream live on ESPN+ at 9:30 a.m. ET). The Bavarians will pick back up with the Champions League when they host PSG on Wednesday, March 8 at 3 p.m. ET at Allianz Arena.

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