UEFA Champions League: Bayern Munich defeat reveals how Kylian Mbappé is by far PSG’s most important player

PARIS —Paris Saint-Germain’s UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg underlined the importance of Kylian Mbappé for the French giants. All pre-match talk focused on his fitness and involvement, all eyes were on him once the players left, and many stuck with him during a poor first half for the hosts.

The 24-year-old Mbappé was only fit enough to come on the bench for the start of the clash with the Germans and yet the game was essentially a countdown to his return to action. Absent from pre-match warm-ups, there were fears around the Parc des Princes that PSG might have overdone their fitness in a bid to win some early mental games.

Les Parisiens’ top 45 only served to strengthen the case that Christophe Galtier’s men desperately needed to get Mbappé involved as soon as possible. Bayern were comfortable and dominant without really asserting their control in the clash, while PSG created nothing with their two forwards. Lionel Messi It is Neymar.

Mbappé was off the pitch at half-time recovering and it was at this point that the home crowd really woke up after what had been a rather subdued home atmosphere. PSG started the second half better than the first and started to press and create what they had failed to do in the first 45.

However, arguably against the grain of the game, kingsley coman put Bayern ahead in the 53rd minute, when the home fans were lifting the team with Mbappé about to come on. The French superstar took to the pitch and immediately injected a sense of urgency as Galtier also opted to add more experience in midfield with Fabian Ruiz.

Young Warren Zaire Emery may be offended at making his way alongside the ineffectual Carlos Soler, but it was telling that PSG remained without a shot on goal beyond 70 minutes. In fact, the Ligue 1 leaders’ best players all night were veteran defenders Sergio Ramos and midfield reinforcement Danilo Pereira who thrived on the hosts’ dueling environment.

When PSG finally opened Bayern, Mbappé and Neymar arrived in January Yann Sommer in inspired form to keep the visitors in front despite the former’s offside. It was a shame for Gianluigi Donnarumma that the Switzerland The international was so accurate that the Italian goalkeeper was excellent, except for Coman’s goal, and kept Bayern at bay.

Mbappé had the second goal disallowed seven minutes from time, when the brilliant Nuno Mendes broke through the visiting defense to score the Frenchman only for another offside call. Ultimately, PSG woke up too late and now have everything to do in Germany next month, but there was no doubt that the French champions were infinitely better for having him on the pitch.

It was unfortunate for Galtier and Mbappé’s teammates that he was only fit for 30 minutes or so, given the season-crushing potential of this result.

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