Before Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé got in the mood for the ultimate round of 16 showdown on the pitch, Bayern leader Thomas Müller made a bold announcement from inside the Munich Champions League fortress.
"I think the whole world likes to watch him play football. We won't watch him, we'll bother him to do his job," announced the Munich captain in the Allianz Arena with determination towards World Cup top scorer Mbappé. Even world champion Messi should not be allowed to do magic on Wednesday (9 p.m. / DAZN). "If our plan works, he won't have much fun," said Müller - targeting both PSG stars.
The smiling Ur-Bayer Müller also demonstrated as the first outfield player at the final training session that Munich was confident of a historic performance.
"Having eleven captains on the pitch"
"The anticipation is there. Two great teams will meet," said Müller before the 500th European Cup game of the German record champions. "It's about us having eleven captains on the pitch."
In a premier class cracker of the highest quality against the Paris Saint-Germain ensemble, who played without the injured Neymar, FC Bayern want to make the quarter-finals entry perfect after the 1-0 win in the first leg. For coach Julian Nagelsmann, a win against Messi, Mbappé and Co. would be the most prestigious moment in his one and a half year tenure in Munich. "It's a duel between two top teams," said the 35-year-old about 30 hours before kick-off: "And then we hope that we'll have a cake on Wednesday evening and I'll eat a small piece of it."
Bayern want to "steal the desire" for Messi and Mbappé
They want to “rob the desire of the Messi/Mbappé duo, who recently took first and second place in the world footballer freestyle,” said Nagelsmann about the key task in the new edition of the 2020 final. While the Munich team successfully slowed down the actions of world champion Messi three weeks ago in Paris's Prinzenpark, they fought against the X-factor Mbappé, who could not be grasped and was only substituted after the break due to an injury, in the gripping final phase, largely in vain.
Mbappé is currently the "most spectacular" attacker for Müller. "It's not just beautiful, beautiful what he does, it's also effective." In Munich, Mbappé, who scored twice in Paris 3-2 in Munich in the 2021 Champions League quarter-finals, will start alongside Messi.
Stanisic should start on the right back
During the final training session on the club grounds, Nagelsmann and his assistant trainers put their heads together. Was the answer to the exciting question about the right defensive formation against the world's two best kickers on the little piece of paper in Nagelsmann's hand? After all, the Munich team have not conceded a goal in six of seven Champions League games this season - including against Robert Lewandowski's FC Barcelona.
After the annoying yellow-red suspension of the in-form Benjamin Pavard from the first leg, the rather inexperienced Josip Stanisic (22) should defend the right back despite slight thigh problems; as in the summer in the Croatian national team in the 1-0 win in the Nations League against France with Mbappé. "He's gallant in duels and is very quick on the track," said Müller. "I think he's absolutely up for the task."
Nagelsmann relies on the internationally proven Dayot Upamecano and Matthijs de Ligt against the PSG attacks in a chain of three next to Stanisic. On the left side, the fast Alphonso Davies is said to be traveling for miles as a track player. The focus is on the zero - but Nagelsmann warned: "It will be a key not to limit yourself to defending."
PSG with earlier arrival
A day earlier than usual, the PSG star squad, who had been pushed from Qatar with many millions of euros, moved into their quarters at the English Garden on Monday evening. The reason was the concern that otherwise there would be problems with the journey because of the strikes at home. "We are able to turn the situation against Bayern," said Messi, who was admired, cheered and photographed by some onlookers on his way to the hotel.
The final on June 10th in Istanbul will drive the Argentinian world champion just as much as the Bayern stars. Honorary President Uli Hoeneß is bursting with confidence in the pioneering weeks in Munich. "If everything turns out the way I think it will, we will no longer be discussing the Nagelsmann issue in six to eight weeks," said the 71-year-old. On a milestone evening in his club's glorious European Cup history, he is not only absolutely convinced of Bayern's entry into the quarter-finals, but also of further victories in the DFB Cup and championship.
Nagelsmann: "An important game for me too"
Nevertheless, the round of 16 second leg has a decisive influence on the evaluation of Nagelsmann's second season in Munich. After the quarter-finals last season against Villarreal, the 35-year-old should deliver more with his expensively strengthened team. "It's an important game for me too," said Nagelsmann.
The starting position is dazzling thanks to the winning goal by Paris fright Kingsley Coman - and so are the statistics. FC Bayern has won 15 of the last 17 home games in the Champions League. The fact that the away goal rule, which saved PSG in the duel two years ago, no longer applies could prove to be a Munich trump card. And there is a good omen on top: Italian referee Daniele Orsato was also the referee in the 1-0 triumph against PSG in the 2020 final in Lisbon.
The expected lineups
Bayern Munich: Sommer - Stanisic, Upamecano, de Ligt - Coman, Kimmich, Goretzka, Davies - Müller, Musiala - Choupo-Moting
Paris Saint-Germain: Donnarumma - Ramos, Marquinhos, Danilo - Hakimi, Vitinha, Verratti, Ruiz, Nuno Mendes - Messi, Mbappé
Referee: Orsato (Italy)