Three reasons to watch PSG vs Bayern Munich in the Champions League - live on BT Sport!

Two of the most fancied teams left in the Champions League face off in a star-studded last 16 tie.

By Callum Rice-Coates Published: 14 February 2023 - 11.34am
Lionel Messi

Paris Saint-Germain host Bayern Munich tonight in one of the most attractive fixtures of the Champions League last 16.

It’s a clash of two teams hoping to win the competition, the former for the first time in their history and the latter for the seventh time.

With some of the most talented players in world football on show, it promises to be spectacular whatever the outcome. Here are three reasons to watch the first leg, live on BT Sport 2.

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Two European heavyweights clash

When the draw was made this was the tie that stood out. The financial might of PSG against the regal power of Bayern, a meeting of two clubs that don’t deal very well with failure.

But one of them will inevitably fall short and drop out of the Champions League in the first knockout round. With such jeopardy and so much at stake, it will be a fascinating watch for the neutral and an unbearably tense one for fans of either team.

These are clubs with similar dilemmas in the domestic game, too. Both are by far the dominant forces in their respective leagues and as a result winning the Bundesliga or Ligue 1 becomes something of a formality, a secondary consideration.

Bayern Munich fans

The aim is to conquer Europe for PSG, who despite the investment of their Qatari owners have so far failed to win the Champions League. They reached the final in the Covid-hit 2019-20 season and, fittingly, lost 1-0 to Bayern. 

Bayern have been to plenty of finals and won a few of them, but the demand for success is constant in Bavaria and Julian Nagelsmann, after facing some criticism this season, will be expected to win trophies.

PSG and Bayern played in the quarter-finals in 2020-21 and it didn’t disappoint, finishing 3-3 on aggregate with the French side progressing on away goals. Let’s hope for a similarly eventful tie this time around.

Messi and Neymar take centre stage

With Kylian Mbappe expected to be out injured for the first leg, the focus will turn to Lionel Messi and Neymar.

Both players are, of course, capable of moments of pure genius, even if PSG’s form in recent weeks has been unconvincing.

Neymar hasn’t quite hit his usual heights since the World Cup, but Messi has been typically exceptional. Buoyed by Argentina’s glorious victory in Qatar, could this be the year he wins a first Champions League since 2015?

Messi and Neymar in action for PSG

PSG will hope so, given their clear prioritisation of this competition. The absence of Mbappe is a blow, but these are the occasions Messi and Neymar were brought to Paris for.

Against a strong Bayern team with aspirations of their own, the Ligue 1 champions will need their talismanic attacking players to produce.

And they generally do when it matters most. For any fan of Champions League football, watching Messi, now 35, in the knockout stages is an opportunity not to be missed.

Cancelo leads former Premier League contingent

Joao Cancelo’s sudden and unexpected exit from Manchester City at the end of the January transfer window was a big talking point.

And any curious City fans will be able to watch the full-back in action for his new club on Tuesday night.

Cancelo has joined up with fellow ex-City man Leroy Sane at Bayern, while former Liverpool forward Sadio Mane is close to a return from injury and could feature against PSG.

Joao Cancelo

The Bundesliga leaders also added Daley Blind, once of Manchester United, to their ranks in January, so there’ll be no shortage of familiar faces on the pitch in Paris.

PSG’s star-laden squad doesn’t include as many ex-Premier League players, but you might recognise one or two of their forwards.