PSG's quality was on full display as the Ligue 1 leaders beat visiting Bayern 3-0 on the second matchday in Group B. Many will question coach Ancelotti's decision to leave his top two central defenders out of the side.
Paris Saint-Germain 3-0 Bayern Munich
(Alves 2', 63, Cavani 31', Neymar 63')
Many had expected a much tighter contest going into Wednesday night's Champions League Group B match at the Parc des Princes in Paris, but when it was all over, Paris Saint-Germain had emerged with a 3-0 victory over the visiting perennial Bundesliga champions, Bayern Munich. It could have been a few more too, had PSG not been so wasteful with their chances in the second half.
The Germans were back on their heels almost from the get-go and things got exponentially worse when PSG's star-studded attack struck early. The world's most expensive player, Neymar, seemed to glide past three or four Bayern players as he swept down the left wing with the ball, before making a perfect pass into the path of Dani Alves on the far side of the penalty area. Neymar's fellow Brazilian made no mistake, sliding the ball past Sven Ulreich to make it 1-0 to the home side in just the second minute of play.
Bayern remained back on their heels for the next few minutes, before finding their feet and exerting some pressure of their own on the Paris defense for about 15-20 minutes around the middle of the first half. However, they never really looked like scoring and PSG started coming at them in counterattacking waves, led by Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, and Edinson Cavani – looking dangerous almost every time.
The next wave that paid off started on the half-hour mark, with Mbappe taking pass in the top right corner of the Bayern area, box, faking off two defenders, and teeing up a perfect pass for Cavani, who finished sweetly to double the Parisians' advantage. By this time at the latest it had to be clear to everybody watching that Bayern couldn't come close to dealing with PSG's pace.
Changes at the half prove too little too late
Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti made a couple of changes at the half – mainly bringing on Kingsley Coman in the hope that he could cause PSG's defense trouble out on the left. This worked to some extent, but Bayern's largely slow, methodical build-ups meant that PSG always had time to get seven or eight men behind the ball before any real danger could develop.
For the rest of the second half, Bayern never really looked like scoring, with the best chance being a long-range attempt from Sebastian Rudy just before the hour-mark.
Leaving out veterans 'not risky'
Asked after the match why he had chosen to leave first-choice central defenders Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels, as well as wide players Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, coach Ancelotti said he stood by the decision.
"It wasn't risky, I picked a team that I thought could control the game," he told German pay-TV broadcaster Sky. "This was thought through, that wasn't the problem."
However, he did concede that the early goal had hurt.
"We had some good control and possession in the first half, we created some opportunities, but we weren't dangerous enough," he said. "They played the whole match on the counterattack and we weren't able to control that."
After scoring eight goals without conceding in their first two matches, PSG lead the group with six points, with Bayern and Celtic tied for second place with three each. Celtic won 3-0 at Anderlecht in Wednesday's other Group B contest.
As it happened:
90 + 3 Coman draws a foul just outside of the PSG area. And Lewandowski forces a good save out of the PSG keeper - the last play of the match!
90' + 2 One more minute to go...
89' German international Julian Draxler gets onto the pitch for the last minute or so. He replaces Marco Verratti.
85' Thiago Motta comes off for PSG and is replaced by Giovani Lo Celso
84' Thiago Silva falls hard after an encounter with Lewandowski, but he can continue.
83' Neymar kicks Süle from behind but gets away with it.To be fair, the Brazilian has been getting kicked at in the last few minutes here and there as well.
79' Mbappe goes off to a standing ovation. He is replaced by Angel di Maria.
73' Verratti gets yellow for a foul on Coman.
70' Alves fires one wide after another precise and quick build up. PSG have been quite wasteful in the second half. Bayern are lucky not to be down by 5 or more.
69' Arjen Robben comes on for Thomas Müller - and takes the captain's armband as well. That will help Bayern with their width, but it could well be too late.
63' Goal for PSG! Neymar gets his second! Mbappe worked his way deep into the area. His pass/shot was blocked by Martinez, who was then caught flat-footed. Neymar swept in to put it into the gaping mesh.
61' Thiago gets yellow for deliberately handling the ball as Cavani tried to take it past him.
60' Free kick Neymar from about 7 or 8 meters outside of the area... But Ulreich has it.
58' Martinez just gets a toe in to block a perfect pass from Mbappe to Cavani, otherwise it would have been an almost sure goal.
57' A long shot from Rudy is bobbled by the PSG keeper, but no real danger there.
54' Neymar takes a shot from the just outside the area, but fails to test Ulreich yet again!
53' Süle gets on the end of Bayern's 12th corner, but head well over and wide of the mark
50' And another...PSG on the counterattack now. Mbappe passes to Neymar, should be a goal - but he misses the target!
47' Bayern win their 10th corner... But it too fails to trouble the PSG defenders.
46' We're back underway in Paris!
It will come as no suprise that Carlo Ancelotti is making a couple of changes for the second half Kingsley Coman and Sebastian Rudy come into the match for Tolisso and James.
45 + 1 Alves fires his free kick into the Bayern wall and the ref blows the whistle for halftime.
45' Vidal goes into the book for tripping Neymar.
44' Bayern waste their 9th corner.
42' Vidal launches a looping ball into the area looking for Kimmich, but Areola hauls it in easily.
39' After Bayern had had more of the ball for much of the half, PSG have been coming at them in waves of counterattacks for the last few minutes.
37' Almost another for PSG, but Ulreich manages to stop it. Cavani should have done better.
31' Goal for PSG! Cavani with a sweet finish from the top of the box after Mbappe fooled two defenders to tee it up for the Uruguayan. Quality!
31' A nice ball down the right wing is gobbled up by Müller, he plays a nice pass to Lewandowski at the top of the box, but the Polish international's strike is easily saved.
27' The three PSG danger men bear down on Bayern's area, but Cavani's finish rolls harmlessly past the post to Ulreich's right.
26' Another corner for Bayern. But nothing comes of it.
23' A couple of dangerous counterattacks from PSG. Kimmich is given the yellow card for a mistimed tackle just Bayern's side of the halfway line.
22' Another decent chance for Bayern: Alaba plays a high ball into the area, but Lewandowski's header is easily saved.
20' Bayern have definitely shaken off the shock from that early goal and are looking more and more like getting an equalizer.
18' Martinez launches a rocket from the edge of the box. Areola with a sharp save.
16' Müller returns with a bandaged knee. Had been bleeding after sliding into the studs of a PSG player.
14' Bayern temporarily down to 10 men with Müller off for treatment.
13' Another Bayern corner and Müller gets onto the end of it from close range - but misses the target.
12' Martinez and Müller both got their heads to the ball but failed to put it even towards the PSG goal.
11' James crosses the ball into the box, it's cleared for another corner.
9' Corner for Bayern, but it is cleared by the PSG defense.
6' Neymar plays a lob into the Bayern area, but Kurzawa can't make anything of it.
5' PSG continue to pour on the pressure.
2' Goal for Paris Saint-Germain! Neymar walks past three or four Bayern players on the left wing, steps into the penalty area - a pass across the area and Dani Alves makes no mistake! Not the sort of start Bayern were looking for in the French capital!
1' We're underway in Paris!
20:44 CEST -- The subs are out on the bench and the players come out of the tunnel for the playing of the Champions League anthem. We are just moments away from what promises to be a very interesting contest.
-- Good evening from the heart of Europe! After a weekend that saw both Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain held to draws domestically, two of Europe's premier sides clash at the Parc des Princes. Here are the starting lineups for tonight's Group B match:
Paris Saint-Germain: Alphonse Areola, Dani Alves, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva (C), Layvin Kurzawa, Marco Verratti, Thiago Motta, Adrien Rabiot, Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani, Neymar.
Bayern Munich: Sven Ulreich, Joshua Kimmich, Niklas Süle, Javi Martinez, David Alaba, Corentin Tolisso, Thiago Alcantara, Arturo Vidal, Thomas Müller (C), James Rodriguez, Robert Lewandowski.
Notable by their absence in Bayern's starting lineup are Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben. Prior to the match, sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic told Germany's Sky news that the plan with to be "compact though the middle of the park" to cope with PSG's potent attack in the Parc des Princes.