Jupp Heynckes’ Bayern Munich capped off their Champions League Group Stage campaign with victory over a hapless Paris Saint-Germain under Unai Emery at The Allianz Arena yesterday evening.
The home side went ahead early through prolific Polish forward Robert Lewandowski and that advantage was doubled by Corentin Tolisso just before the break.
Young French sensation Kylian Mbappe made things interesting on the 50-minute mark for the visitors, but Tolisso, against the showcase club of his home Nation, sealed the deal for the hosts shortly after.
Three points for Bayern ensures that they finish joint first with Paris in Group B, however, the French side remained on top with a far superior goal difference than their German counterparts ensuring an easier Quarter-final draw on paper.
From the start in the German Capital, Heynckes decided on seven changes from Saturday’s victory over Hannover 96 in The Bundesliga on home turf, one that ensured a six-point lead at the top of the Table.
Departing from the side was keeper Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Mehdi Benatia, Jerome Boateng, Thiago, Arturo Vidal and former Borussia Dortmund man Mario Gotze, to be replaced by Sven Ulreich, German International Joshua Kimmich, Niklas Sule, Mats Hummels, Corentin Tolisso, central midfielder Sebastian Rudy and Real Madrid loanee James Rodriguez.
Meanwhile, Unai Emery made four alterations from the shock Ligue 1 defeat to Strasbourg on Saturday afternoon at The Stade de la Mein au, a defeat that still saw them come out of the weekend with a nine-point cushion at the summit of the Standings.
In defence, Presnel Kimpembe and Yuri Berchiche came in for Thiago Silva and French International Layvin Kurzawa, whereas, further up the field, Javier Pastore and Angel Di Maria were ousted in favour of Marco Verratti and Argentinian forward Edinson Cavani.
On a very chilly night indeed at The Allianz, the away team made the brighter start as Mbappe tested Neuer early on with a powerful effort, but their pressure was short lived.
After just eight minutes of the affair, a surging run and pass from Frank Ribery picked out Rodriguez on the left, who was able to find the head of Kingsley Coman.
The French International’s poke forward fell perfectly into the path of Lewandowski the Poland Legend to turn and finish nicely past Alphonse Areola, hints of offside or not.
The visitors threatened to draw level twice after this, both through the man who recently became the World’s most expensive player Neymar as he fired over from a free-kick and then couldn’t beat Ulreich from close-range on the left, a golden opportunity wasted for the Brazilian.
He and PSG were made to pay for this huge miss on 37 minutes when Tolisso, formerly of Olympique Lyon, grabbed the first of his two goals to make things a little more comfortable for his side.
Rodriguez, pulling the home strings, picked out the attacker with a delicious whipped free-kick, giving him a headed opportunity that just couldn’t be missed.
Early in the second period though, The Parisians were able to hit back, with the youngster Mbappe getting on the scoresheet by heading home a brilliant Cavani dink from midway inside the penalty box.
This set the scene for an onslaught from Emery’s men, who came the closest to levelling around the 60-minute mark as Julian Draxler could only force Ulreich into an easy save from a superb shooting chance.
And then the German between the sticks produced a magnificent save to keep out a powerful Mbappe volley from the edge of the box on the break, again paving the way for his side to wrap things up.
They did this not too long after with Coman bagging his second assist of the night by showing extraordinary pace to lay the ball on a plate for Tolisso to fire low past the Areola and secure the hosts’ three points.
Both outfits tying at the top of their Group by a staggering 12 points from Celtic and Anderlecht means that the two Capital City clubs will await the outcome of the draw for the Round of 16 in just six days’ time.
In the meantime, next up for Heynckes’ men will be a tough trip to face Eintracht Frankfurt away from home in The German Top-Flight, whilst Emery’s Paris are up against Lille at The Parc des Princes in their next outing, but who will the two face in The Knockouts come next spring?