Champions LeagueFootball

Champions League Final betting preview: Lewandowski to cap his perfect season and seal a sixth European Cup for Bayern

August 20, 2020

FOR the first time since 1997/98, the Champions League final will be contested between two reigning league champions. Two tales of domestic dominance over the last decade collide as first-time Champions League finalists Paris Saint-Germain meet five-time winners Bayern Munich.

It's only the second Champions League final in the last 16 years not to feature a side from either La Liga or the Premier League, but with a combined 11 World Cup winners on displays, I'm sure we'll cope. For the last time this season, here are your Champions League betting tips.
 

Paris Saint-Germain vs Bayern Munich | Sunday August 23, 20:00 GMT
 

Both teams come into this final in truly astonishing form. Since Hansi Flick took over, Bayern have played 35, won 32, drawn one and lost two: a 91% win ratio. In the same period, Paris Saint-Germain have played fewer but also lost fewer matches – 32 games, 28 wins, three draws, one defeat: an 87.5% win ratio. Borussia Dortmund's 2-1 win over Paris in the first leg of their Champions League Last 16 tie is the only defeat either side has suffered in 2020.

Bayern's Champions League form is particularly impressive. No side has won 11 straight Champions League matches, and no side has ever won every single match in a Champions League campaign, but having beaten every opponent in front of them this season, Flick's side can accomplish that with a win here. Bayern's record of 42 goals in this year's competition has only been bettered once, by Barcelona (45) in 1999/20, but Barca played 16 games, Bayern have played only 10.

Paris Saint-Germain's defence has been excellent in the Champions League this season. In 10 matches, they've kept seven clean sheets. In fact, only Karim Benzema (2), Erling Haaland (2), and Mario Pasalic have scored past them. Paris will be hoping to buck the trend of the first-time Champions League finalist: the last six have all lost. Whereas only Real Madrid (16) have reached more European Cup finals than Bayern (11). 

Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski have each scored in every round so far. Only Diego Milito (2009/10), Lionel Messi (2010/11), Cristiano Ronaldo (2013/14), and Sadio Mane (2017/18) have ever maintained that right through to the final. 15-goal Lewandowski is also just two behind Ronaldo's all-time record in a single campaign, and three behind Raul's total of 71 on the all-time list.

Neymar, who averages 0.74 goals per Champions League game for Paris, can become only the third player to score in finals for two clubs after his 2014/15 final goal for Barcelona (following Ronaldo for Man Utd/ Real Madrid, and Mario Mandzukic for Bayern/ Juventus). He will fancy his chances after seeing how easy it was for Barcelona and Lyon to exploit Munich's high line. Poor finishing benefited Bayern in the last two rounds – they are unlikely to be so unfortunate with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe bearing down on goal.

Understandably, many expect a goalfest given the vast array of attacking talent on display. But finals can often disappoint in that regard, and high-scoring finals tend to involve two sides with a clear difference in quality. In the history of the Champions League, they have only been more than four goals twice (excluding matches that went to extra-time), so erring on the side of caution might be the play here.

Bayern have trailed for just 22 minutes in 2020. They've won 20 consecutive matches. Paris Saint-Germain have finally morphed into an irresistible force on the continent, but Bayern might just be the immovable object that keeps them from glory. Back Bayern, and while you're at it, back that decent Polish lad they've got up front to score again.

Match Odds: Paris Saint-Germain (47/20) Draw (29/10) Bayern Munich (21/20)
Tip: Match multi – Bayern Munich to win and Robert Lewandowski to score (37/20)
Correct score: Paris Saint-Germain 1-2 Bayern Munich (15/2)