Bayern Munich v Paris Saint-Germain - Old order meets new money

GERMANY and France, the two undoubted powerhouses of post-war continental Europe.

Predator - Bayern's Robert Lewandowski. (Franck Fife/Pool via AP)
Predator - Bayern's Robert Lewandowski. (Franck Fife/Pool via AP)

The nations of leaders such as Adenauer, Kohl, Mitterrand and d’Estaing – figures of stature in the Europhile hall of fame.

Given the way in which both Euro super-powers have driven the continent politically, economically and culturally since 1945, it is somewhat staggering that the clubs from both nations have competed in the blue-riband domestic game in Europe just once since its inception in 1955-56.

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That came in 1975-76 when that great Bayern side of Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Muller and Sepp Maier edged past that romanticised French outfit Saint-Etienne – the iconic ‘Les Verts’ line-up of Dominique Rocheteau and Dominique Bathenay – in Glasgow.

Lethal - PSG's Kylian Mbappe. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Just as incomprehensible is the fact that a team from Paris, one of the great European cities, has never even made it to a European Cup or Champions League final before now, let alone win it.

There is a first for everything, with Paris Saint-Germain – with a German at the helm in former Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel – seeking to become only the second French team to be crowned European champions as they strive to emulate the feats of that legendary Olympique de Marseille side of 1993.

Just like that L’OM team who beat AC Milan 1-0 27 years ago, PSG must defeat something akin to Europe’s establishment in Bayern Munich to make their own piece of joyous history in Lisbon’s Estadio da Luz tomorrow.

The Parisians may lack the historical cachet of Bayern, but they are by no means inferior.

Dependable - Bayern's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, left, makes a save as Lyon's Karl Toko Ekambi. (Miguel A. Lopes/Pool via AP)

With justification, PSG will view it as their time, backed by the petrodollars of Qatar Sports Investments, as they aim to do what Manchester City’s similarly mega money owners from Adu Dhabi have not yet done by way of winning the biggest one-off game in club football. In terms of kudos, that would be massive in the sport-mad Gulf.

Bayern have the trophies, but PSG have the superstars, with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe costing more than the entire Bayern match-day squad that brushed aside Lyon in the semi-final.

Neymar is the world’s most-expensive player at £199.8m, while Mbappe set PSG back £131m – but there are others who have dined at the top echelons of the game for several years in Angel di Maria, Marquinhos and Juan Bernat.

The neutrals may be willing on PSG and there would be sentiment if they triumphed with classy captain Thiago Silva set to play his last game for the club.

But would anyone seriously bet against Bayern? Five-time winners of the trophy known as ‘Old Big Ears’ and a side who can show pragmatism and polish in equal measure; their pedigree is matched only by Real Madrid, Barcelona, Milan and Liverpool.

While their evisceration of Barcelona was earth-shattering, their semi-final win over Lyon was brisk, but equally brutal.

It smacked of a side who are comfortable in their skin, know what they are doing with the ball and without it, and expect to win every time thy take to the field.

Bayern are a side blessed with the sagacity of Manuel Neuer and Thomas Muller and the dynamism of Alphonso Davies and Serge Gnabry, two of Europe’s form players.

It is also a side sporting the most natural born predator in football in Robert Lewandowski.

His goal against Lyon took him to 55 this season, which ties with Gerd Muller for the most goals in a season by a Bayern player.

He may lack the explosive brilliance of Neymar or Mbappe, but he possesses an unerring sense of certainty in front of goal.

Victory will most likely depend on who defends the better and while Bayern hit the heights in their 8-2 destruction of Barca, some of their defending should also encourage the Parisians.

Will it be a night for history or will the old order reign supreme?

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James Mitchinson