Daily Schmankerl: The aftermath of Bayern Munich vs. PSG in the Champions League; More Bayern links to Harry Kane; Neymar to leave PSG?; Manchester United convinced on Marcel Sabitzer; Bayern eyeing PSG youngsters; Max Kruse to MLS?; + MORE!

    Bayern Munich pulled out a 1-0 victory over Paris Saint-Germain that was equally well-earned, scary, and dramatic.

    However you want to describe it, Bayern Munich won the match and took an invaluable one goal lead into the return leg at the Allianz Arena. Let’s take a look at some quick hitters from the match:

    • Let’s start things off by looking at the starting XI:

    • The decision to leave Thomas Müller out was very curious. Even with Julian Nagelsmann’s explanation, it sort of ignores that the attack was better with the Raumdeuter involved:

    • I was less surprised by Alphonso Davies being left out. He has not been very good of late, but I’m sure Nagelsmann will point to it being strategic, given the fact that Mbappé was undoubtedly going to enter the match as a sub. Whatever the reason, it worked out, eh?
    • Using Kingsley Coman in the left-back role was a neat wrinkle to the back three-based formation. Coman hustles like a madman defensively, and also when transitioning to offense.
    • Neymar’s 23rd minute foul on Kimmich was dirty. Minutes after he felt he was fouled, the Brazilian purposely got his forearm up in Kimmich’s face for some solid contact.
    • The attack was pretty toothless early in the match despite having a good amount of possession. Kimmich’s 43rd minute attempt was probably the best of the first half. Otherwise, Coman was doing his best to create offense as well. It was not the finest showing for players like Leroy Sané and Jamal Musiala in the game.
    • Musiala has not looked like himself. He has not been bad by any means, but I think the rigors of the schedule and the physicality he has faced have taken its toll. As a wise coach once said to me about a player going through something similar, “sometimes it’s hard to keep getting beat up.” I think it’s a nice concept to stay “#MusialaAlwaysPlays”, but the kid is rail thin and probably a little tired. Some rest this weekend for him — a whole game — would do him well.
    • As for Sané, he is being asked to take on different positions and responsibilities than he is used to. At times, he looks uncomfortable and not as assertive. I don’t worry about the long-term effectiveness of either Sané or Musiala, but patience will be needed for both.
    • Bayern Munich’s defenders did well to limit the threats posed by Neymar and Lionel Messi. Matthijs de Ligt’s 45th minute foul on Messi was a bit sloppy, and put Yann Sommer in a very precarious spot with both Neymar and Messi hovering over the attempt. Messi, however, hit the wall.
    • Nagelsmann’s substitution of Davies for Cancelo was intuitive and deft — and it also paid off quickly when Davies sent in a cross that Coman knocked in for the game’s lone goal.
    • As for Cancelo, he appeared to be tentative at times, and to make poor choices at others. It was not his best effort for sure.
    • This was one of those games where we saw everything that has defined Coman as a player. The ability to create chaos, the blazing burst of speed, the penchant for the big play, and then…the injury. Let’s hope it’s just a minor knock. In all seriousness, Coman was fantastic and his ability to adapt to playing that wing-back role typically goes really well when he’s placed there. What an outstanding effort from Bayern Munich’s PSG killer.
    • I thought Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka did a great job in the midfield.
    • Matthijs de Ligt, Dayot Upamecano, and Benjamin Pavard were really, really good. Pavard’s red card was probably not necessary, but he let Neymar know he was going to be there all night early on (as you read above, Kimmich ultimately paid the price for that, before Neymar took a shot at Pavard later as well). Sometimes, that means something. Clearly, Neymar was thinking about retaliation for at least part of the match, which is better than him thinking about scoring.
    • Yann Sommer was pretty incredible during the match as well.
    • Overall, it was not the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre some thought it might be, but Bayern Munich will take that 1-0 advantage and run home to the Allianz Arena. Things certainly could have been better, but there were a lot of positives from the effort. Most importantly, though, confidence is building — and you cannot place enough emphasis on how vital that will be moving forward.

    If you missed our Initial Analysis, Match Awards, Observations, or Postgame Podcast give them a look or a listen:

    Goal journalist Marc Mechenoua reported Bayern Munich might be going back to the well (PSG’s youth system) one more time — which will undoubtedly improve relations between the clubs:

    Bayern are still monitoring the situation of PSG talents El Chadaille Bitshiabu (17) and Warren Zaïre-Emery (16) very closely, despite the fact they signed professional contracts in Paris. The German club is regularly enquiring about both players.

    Bayern were also very close to signing Ayman Kari (18). The midfielder visited the club’s facilities and spoke to Nagelsmann, who promised him to be a regular member of the first team. Kari then signed a pro contract at PSG, where he hasn’t made appearances yet.

    Let’s take a look at what we have on tap for this episode:

    • Captain-gate: Is Bayern Munich set to replace Manuel Neuer with Joshua Kimmich?
    • Looking at the transfer news of the week, including the stories on Benjamin Pavard, Erling Haaland, Randal Kolo Muani, and…Harry Kane.
    • An early look at some storylines for Bayern Munich vs. PSG.
    • Some thought on episode three of “The Last of Us.”

    The rumor that will just never die is back.

    According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Bayern Munich is still planning to pursue Tottenham Hotspur star Harry Kane during the summer. Should that fail, the Bavarians could look at Eintracht Frankfurt’s Frenchman Randal Kolo Muani:

    Bayern Munich have set their sights firmly on Tottenham striker Harry Kane, with Eintracht Frankfurt’s Randal Kolo Muani their preferred alternative.

    I still cannot see it. Kane seems like too much of a long shot, while Kolo Muani feels like he will be too expensive for the track record he has. A good talent, but I think Bayern Munich would want a more proven player for the price that Die Adler will command for Kolo Muani.

    I guess we can also see how this shakes out with the recent news regarding Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting as well.

    Max Kruse has been without a contract or a club for quite some time now. That said, he might be getting the itch to play once more, and could be looking at MLS as a potential home:

    Max Kruse has been without a club since the end of 2022 after his contract with VfL Wolfsburg was terminated. In the STAHLWERK double pass on SPORT1 , the offensive player commented on his future. Will he possibly return to the Bundesliga?

    “I would say ‘yes’ when it comes to footballing ability. But I’m not the manager of any club,” said the 34-year-old. At the same time, he revealed that there were inquiries from the Bundesliga in winter: “Of course I spoke to clubs,” explained Kruse, who stated that “1-2 clubs from the Bundesliga were also there, which may not play the role that they imagined”.

    In the end, however, no new arrangement was reached. “There wasn’t always just a sporting reason, but also social media or this echo of what would have happened in the club if the change had come about.” He indicated “fear of it” in the clubs, “that in the situation they are in, it might not have been the right one.”

    In addition, the left-footed player hinted that the American MLS would be “interesting” for him. Finally, he also made it clear that his career is not over yet. “I still want to play football properly.”

    In this episode, INNN and Samrin talk about the following:

    • A quick recap of the injuries at Paris Saint-Germain and whether Messi, Neymar, and Mbappe will all play.
    • Moving onto the lineup discussion in-depth, starting from the back and the question of Joao Cancelo.
    • Why Joshua Kimmich could be the key to Bayern’s first leg performance vs PSG.
    • A quick aside to talk about the referee. Michael Oliver, why?
    • The main lineup question — should Alphonso Davies or Kingsley Coman play on the left? Samrin and INNN disagree.
    • The weird compromise situation between Thomas Muller, Jamal Musiala, and the rest of Bayern’s attackers.
    • How important is this game for the future of Julian Nagelsmann at Bayern Munich?
    • The backing Nagelsmann has been given by the board and how it ties into a power play between the new board and the old guard of senior players.

    Could Neymar’s time with PSG be nearing an end? According to Foot Mercato, Neymar’s attitude toward his teammates is having adverse effects on any future he might have in Paris:

    Paris Saint-Germain are prepared to offload Neymar at the end of the season amid concerns over his attitude towards his teammates.

    Manchester United seems to love what it has seen from Bayern Munich loanee Marcel Sabitzer:

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