Neymar and Kylian Mbappe will not persuade Bayern Munich to abandon their natural attacking instincts in the Champions League final against Paris Saint-Germain.
Bundesliga champions Bayern have been in rampant form since arriving in Lisbon and booked their place in Sunday’s showpiece with a 3-0 win over PSG’s Ligue 1 counterparts Lyon , having sensationally demolished Barcelona 8-2 in the quarter-finals.
Despite those resounding victories, Bayern’s high defensive line frequently appeared vulnerable to pacey attacks – a factor a PSG forward line boasting Neymar, Mbappe and Angel Di Maria is expected to place under the microscope.
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Nevertheless, head coach Hansi Flick told a pre-match news conference that Sunday’s showdown at Estadio da Luz was no time to deviate from a formula that has propelled the Bavarian giants to 20 consecutive wins in all competitions.
“I think it’s one of our trademarks that we play up high and defend up high. By doing this, we don’t give space to our opponents,” Flick said.
“Obviously, behind our back four there’s lots of space but it’s very important that we get pressure on the ball.
“Normally, if a ball is played in [behind] then we have to run with our opponent. We have looked at the games against Lyon and Barcelona.
“If you compare both games, Paris are a team who have enormous quality, the same as Barcelona. Lyon are a team who play very direct on their attacks and try to finish their attacks quickly, sometimes with long balls.
“It’s important that we close down the passing lanes and don’t leave any space open. We know Paris have a lot of speed. They’re a great team with outstanding players
“This is going to be an interesting match, but I think in the past 10 months we have stuck to our philosophy. We have pressed the opponent high and that was the secret to our success. We won’t change too much there.”
Joshua Kimmich is expected to start at right-back and could find himself in frequent confrontations with Neymar and Mbappe as a result.
Nevertheless, the versatile Germany international is of a similar mind to his coach.
“Against Leipzig, Mbappe played up front and Neymar to the left but they have speed everywhere in their offence, so we have to really be careful – perhaps even more so than in the other games,” Kimmich told reporters.
“But I don’t think that we should just sit back the whole game.”
Bayern great Franz Beckenbauer believes PSG are a team without a significant weakness – something with which Flick concurs, and he feels the defensive resilience of Thomas Tuchel’s star-studded side might have been underplayed.
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“Well, he’s absolutely right – it’s a top team,” he said. “They have lots of speed on the pitch – very experienced players, lots of top players, especially up front but also in defence, with Thiago Silva, for example, one of the best centre-backs of the past years.
“In the Champions League they only conceded five goals, this is the best defence of the Champions League. The defence, as well of the offence, works.
“We have a plan ourselves. I hope it works out and we can play according to the plan. We’re looking forward to it. We can only win this game if we are all at 100 per cent.”
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