The UEFA Champions League quarter-finals have kicked off with some interesting results. Real Madrid and Manchester City took giant steps in the first leg after beating Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, respectively.
Bayern and PSG have been consistent in the Champions League in recent years and faced each other in the final last season. While the German side eventually won, it was a very close encounter.
As both teams prepare to meet once again, there is a lot at stake. Bayern may be favorites but PSG equally have the quality to eliminate the defending champions.
Revenge or repeat?
A lot has changed since Bayern and PSG locked horns in last season's Champions League final. The Ligue 1 giants have since sacked manager Thomas Tuchel, replacing him with Mauricio Pochettino.
In terms of form too, there is a stark difference. While Bayern are still dominating the Bundesliga and currently sit seven points clear, PSG have been underwhelming this season.
The Parisians have won just two of their last five matches in all competitions and have dropped to second place in the league after losing to Lille in a top-of-the-table clash last week.
PSG’s porous form puts Bayern in a very good position ahead of the game. The German side has all the momentum and will be aiming to further deepen the woes of their opponents.
How PSG will respond, though, will go a long way in deciding the tie. The Parisians are usually unpredictable and it remains to be seen if it’ll be revenge or a repeat of last year’s Champions League final result.
Biggest challenge of Pochettino’s career
The biggest game in Pochettino’s career remains the 2019 Champions League final, where his Tottenham side lost 2-0 to eventual winners Liverpool.
The Argentine’s stock has since fallen, leading to his sacking in December 2020. However, he now has the chance to put his name back among Europe’s elite managers.
The 49-year-old has never won anything with Tottenham, but domestic trophies alone won’t cut it at PSG, where the league and other minor titles are mere formalities.
Pochettino’s legacy at the club will be defined by how he performs in the Champions League. And for a club that has already reached the final once, “performs” here means winning it.
"The final is not a benchmark match for us, we weren't there with my staff, we were just spectators," the PSG boss said ahead of the game, as quoted by Sky Sports.
"In addition, it's going to be played over two matches, the context is different. Revenge exists in sport but for us it's more of a challenge to beat such a strong team, maybe the best in the world. It's a source of motivation."
Indeed, Pochettino and PSG have all the motivation to beat Bayern on Wednesday. The players may be targeting revenge but their manager has the chance to make history and to enhance his own reputation in the game.