Ahead of Sunday’s UEFA Champions League final between PSG and Bayern Munich, The Hard Tackle picks out the combined XI from both squads.
The elongated 2019/20 season is finally upon its end, with the UEFA Champions League final set to be played out on Sunday to bring the curtain down on European football. PSG and Bayern Munich will lock horns at Estadio da Luz, in what is expected to be quite the blockbuster affair.
The Hard Tackle now seeks to pick the combined XI from both the squads. The only two caveats are that the players who are certain to miss out on the Champions League final do not make our lineup, while only the performances in the competition has been considered for the players’ selection.
There is a selection dilemma right from the word go, with veteran goalkeepers, Manuel Neuer and Keylor Navas both enjoying excellent European campaigns. However, Navas has been a part of the best defensive unit in the Champions League this season, conceding just 5 goals to Neuer’s 8. And, seeing as he also has a better save percentage, we are going with the PSG goalkeeper.
Up ahead in defence, Benjamin Pavard, Colin Dagba and Thilo Kehrer are vying for the right-back slot. Here, there is absolutely no doubt as to who gets picked, with Pavard not only being the first-choice right-back for Bayern all throughout, but also being more consistent than Dagba and Kehrer.
At the heart of the defence, there is no looking past David Alaba and PSG captain Thiago Silva, with the likes of Presnel Kimpembe and Jerome Boateng missing out due to the superior consistency of the duo that has been picked. Out on the left, Alphonso Davies is an automatic pick as well, despite Juan Bernat’s solid displays, with the Canadian showing superb adaptability to become a full-back.
The midfield double pivot is not a difficult pick either, with Idrissa Gueye and Joshua Kimmich picked. Gueye makes it ahead of Marquinhos and Marco Veratti on the basis of top class displays in the Champions League, although the Brazilian has been better in all competitions. Kimmich, on the other hand, is in a league of his own and could have even made it as a right-back, if Pavard was unavailable.
Attack is where the real bone of contentions begin. While this season’s Champions League top goal scorer, Robert Lewandowski was the first name in the Combined XI, the three behind him were anything but straightforward to pick. Those who are in contention are namely Serge Gnabry and Thomas Muller from Bayern Munich, with Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria from PSG.
Di Maria, Mbappe and Gnabry are the players vying for the two wide slots, having mostly played on the wings. As for the no. 10 slot, one of Neymar and Muller get the nod, with both the players not only reprising the role, but also being the creative supremos for PSG and Bayern, respectively.
It is Neymar who gets the nod through the middle, as he has a better minutes per goals/assist ratio than Muller and has been the single most influential player for PSG this term. Di Maria, Mbappe and Gnabry have similar numbers in the Champions League this term, which makes the omission of Mbappe the trickiest of decisions, thanks to Di Maria’s superior influence in games.
PSG vs Bayern Munich Combined XI: Navas; Pavard, Silva, Alaba, Davies; Kimmich, Gueye; Di Maria, Neymar, Gnabry; Lewandowski