PSG 0-1 Bayern Munich: Mediocre Paris gave up from the start

Paris Saint-Germain v FC Bayern München: Round of 16 Leg One - UEFA Champions League
Paris Saint-Germain v FC Bayern München: Round of 16 Leg One - UEFA Champions League / Markus Gilliar - GES Sportfoto/GettyImages

What a game to forget by Paris Saint-Germain. The Champions League came back to the Parc des Princes and PSG lost 0-1 to Bayern Munich in the visit of the German giants to the French capital.

No one should be very surprised at the final outcome, though. Paris, led by an amateur-looking coach in Christophe Galtier, straight refused to trade punches with Bayern Munich instead playing the role of a lesser team from both a mental and physical perspective.

From the start of the game, and even though he got to put nearly the strongest possible XI (barring Kylian Mbappe), Galtier decided to tell his players to sit back, relax, and let the clock run out hoping for a counter-attack that never really arrived.

Perhaps Galtier knew that Paris Saint-Germain had not lost three consecutive games since 2011, and that's why he decided to try and avoid getting into the history books as the next man to accomplish that while at the helm of the Parisian club. Such an amateur, cowardly, simplistic, and ultimately blatantly wrong approach, Mr. Coach.

One thing is not to have Mbappe available from the get-go and to play the youngest player ever in the history of the UCL from the start. Another, very different one, is to try and get a positive result from the paws of Bayern with the Bundesliga behemoth (arriving in Paris guns blazing in their domestic competitions) by just letting time pass and hoping for the walking pair of Neymar and Messi to work out some magical moment.

Because, after 90 minutes of play and 60 of them without PSG-savior Mbappe, one has to worry about what is going on with Messi and if the Argentina World Cup winner has it in him anymore. This looks more like an old Cristiano at Manchester United redux than anything else. A clear reason for concern, if this little man only walks around the pitch, makes two sprints in an hour and a half, and not even can produce anything remarkable in those couple of runs.

Let alone the lack of defensive interest and 100% lack of pressuring tendencies. And something similar goes for Neymar, who at least tries to recover the ball sometimes but more often than not ends up committing a foul in frustration after retaliating from earlier developments.

Of course, Galtier is happy with that and with telling his (other) players to make the extra effort and the extra run so Messi and Ney can just have a handful of bright moments nightly.

Kingsley Coman of all men is the one whose name entered the scoreboard by the 53rd minute of the game, with Kylian Mbappe still sitting on the bench. It took Galtier no time to panic and throw his leading man to the pitch in exchange for the most industrial and dutiful player on the field on Tuesday, Carlos Soler.

Truth be told, you can't blame Warren Zaire-Emery nor can you drop the hammer on any Parisian player. It was all a bad game plan from the PSG coach. As simple as that. Could Gianluigi Donnarumma have done more to save Coman's shot? Sure. Could Galtier have told his players to raise the lines and bring the heat higher up the pitch in order to better deal with Bayern's dominance? You bet.

The game changed entirely with Mbappe's arrival by the hour mark. It took him no time to hit the goal twice. Only, you know, both times those play was ruled offside. Mbappe was returning from outside the borders of the field in his first goal, and Nuno Mendes launched his goal-assisting run from a close offside position after that. Thanks for being so precise, VAR.

A lot will need to change for Paris to make it past the first knockout stage of the Champions League this season, and it won't be easy.

For one, Bayern dominated PSG and they could probably have done so anyway, but on Tuesday that was possible because Paris Saint-Germain handed them the chance to do so in a rather innocent way.

Then, there is the fact that PSG have a very limited squad. Outside of those present on the starting XI yesterday, only Mbappe and perhaps Vitinha/Fabian Ruiz make the strongest initial squad on any given day. Those two changes are substantial considering they will bring two of Zaire-Emery, Soler, and Danilo off the pitch. Outside of them, though, alternatives are minimal.

Finally, and most concerning, is Galtier's approach to a crucial game in which the stakes were so high but at the same time playing out on their home turf.

The French manager looked like a newbie (which he was, as he's before dealt with a UCL knockout game), got outsmarted by his counterpart in Julian Nagelsmann, and unless he accepts to take risks and go all in Munich then Tuesday's result might be too ominous and indicative of what awaits PSG on March 8th.

Never say never when it comes to Paris Saint-Germain. As has been the case all year long, this team is built around a bunch of mediocre players who build a solid group of individuals accompanied and led by the three most egocentrically and gifted, genius players in the world soccer scene.

Galtier: "We know PSG players run less than anyone". dark. Next

It wouldn't be the first--nor the last--time Neymar, Messi, or Mbappe came to the rescue and wrapped things up with a flick of their individual magic wands. Galtier can only pray that's the case three weeks from yesterday.