By Ade Ojeikere
The longest ever European football season ended on Sunday night in Lisbon, Portugal, with Bayern Munich clinching the UEFA Champions League by beating Paris Saint Germain 1-0. Kingsley Coman’s nifty header from a cross separated both sides, with the French ruing their missed opportunities during the game due largely to inexperience. Mbappe must be cursing himself for missing that sitter. You ask how many times has Mbappe seen this open chance? Mbappe showed with that missed chance that he isn’t a box-six player. Need I name several box-six players who would have converted that chance with aplomb?
Those who watched the final game expecting plenty of goals didn’t factor the experience of Thomas Tuchel, a German who shone with Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga. Tuchel knows Bayern Munich like his palm but lost because his opponents were the most experienced, not necessarily the most talented. Missed chance come back to hunt wasteful teams. Perhaps, the first recruitment by PSG, if Tuchel remains as the manager would be to shop for a box- six player whose knack for goals is akin to what Cristiano Ronaldo exhibits with ease. The Ligue 1 champions missed the services of Edinson Cavani – the Uruguay goal poacher did not renew his contract at the club.
Cavani has even refused to join Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus where Andreas Pirlo now calls the shot. Why, you may ask? It’s simply because he is loyal to Napoli, where he reigned goals with the ease of a Sunday playground goal-machine. Which is better? Messi’s one club situation or Cavani’s loyalty to a club he left several years ago.
Gianluca Di Marzio told Sky Sports Italia Monday that PSG chiefs are discussing the possibility of ending their association with the German coach following the loss and hiring Massimiliano Allegri as Tuchel’s replacement.
Tuchel has been in charge of the Ligue 1 giants since 2018 and has won back-to-back league titles as well as this year’s French Cup and League Cup. The 46-year-old coach, who was at Borussia Dortmund before moving to Paris, has won 80 out of his 104 matches in charge of PSG – a win percentage of over 76 per cent. Club owners are truly wicked souls.
Tuchel sat through the last two matches writhing in pains from his leg in cast, yet the German’s tactical savvy gave Bayern Munich a lot to ponder over as the game progressed, caging Lewandoski and Muller, until Coman’s chance changed the game and its eventual result. Bayern Munich munched most teams which crossed its path this season, making PSG’s feat one to commend the coach and players not to sack them. There are lots of benefits from retaining this squad, perhaps replace those who have left and those whose form have dwindled. PSG’s management should be told clearly that the champions were the best this season, winning all its 11 games en route lifting the trophy on Sunday.
Already, Bayern Munich has recruited Sane from Manchester City, with pundits wondering how the team’s midfield would look like, going by Sane’s immense talent. Sane was awesome playing for the Citizens, making his inclusion in Bayern next season one to cherish, especially with the ease in which the Germans scored goals – don’t remind me about the 8-2 whiplash of Barcelona.
Interestingly, Sané has made it clear that his favourite position is right wing, but it wouldn’t be a problem for him to play on the left like he did most times at Manchester City.
“I usually played on the left at City, but as a youth player and at Schalke, I played on the right. My favorite position is on the right wing. I feel most comfortable there. But I have no problem with playing on the left,” Sané said in an interview with Kicker.
“Pep helped me to learn how to play on either wing. That helped me take a step forward. Many players can only play on one side.
“I learned a lot from Pep Guardiola, especially when it comes to positional play, perception of the game and attacking and defensive behaviour. He reprogrammed the way I play.”
It would be fascinating to watch Sané compete with Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman.
Hans-Dieter “Hansi” Flick, a German professional football manager and former player led Bundesliga club Bayern Munich with an unmatched 11 consecutive wins. From August 2006 to July 2014, he was the assistant coach of the German national football team under manager Joachim Löw, according to Wikipedia.
Flick’s combined experience in coaching national team players and domestic ones helped a great deal in shaping how the team played each game distinct from the others. It was Bayern Munich’s joker until the final game. Many pundits were taken aback that Flick opted for Coman on the left flank instead of Ivan Perisic. On the hindsight, Flick could have chosen Coman because he was a faster runner. That tact counted in the final game as Coman’s goal justified his preference for that particular match.
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