Kingsley Coman scored against his former club Paris Saint-Germain to earn Bayern their sixth European Cup. The victory also secured Bayern Munich their first treble since 2013 in Hansi Flick’s first season in charge.
A thrilling feast of attacking football it wasn’t, but a high-quality game was settled by Kingsley Coman. The man born in Paris 24 years ago and discarded as a teenager by the club he supported as a boy and made history as the youngest player to ever represent them has now made history against them.
The crucial moment was a header at the far post in the 59th minute, but the simplicity of the finish belied an incisive Bayern move that involved Thiago Alcantara and Joshua Kimmich.
The German champions and cup winners had come into the game as favorites but struggled to impose themselves as an attacking force, with Robert Lewandowski going closest in the first half when his quick pivot and shot came back off the post on 22 minutes.
It wasn’t a game that created the number of opportunities many expected, and PSG showed a resistance many thought was beyond them but Bayern were clinical when their moment came.
Bayern become the first team to win the Champions League by winning all of their games, but that just scratches the surface of what they’ve achieved in this phenomenal season.
Hansi Flick, Bayern’s coach, had the courage not to change tack out of respect for P.S.G.’s fearsome front line. Bayern played the high defensive line which, common consensus had it, Mbappé in particular would relish. He trusted his players not to blink. The margins were fine, and P.S.G. hardly played badly, but the reward justified the risk.
Coman is, in other words, the ultimate player for European soccer’s superclub era. He is the embodiment of the game’s stratification, for how different the world of the elite is from that of those mere mortals who might not win a championship every single season of their career. In these circumstances, it feels almost inevitable that at some point he was going to score the winning goal in a Champions League final. He is proof that, at a certain height, it is almost impossible to fall.
Flick’s achievements since replacing Niko Kovac in November have been nothing short of miraculous. Kovac’s final game was a 5-1 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt, a game where Bayern were so insipid that this kind of night seemed beyond their wildest dreams. In a few short months Flick has galvanized the team, reinstated Munich’s favorite son Thomas Müller, and established a brand of flowing, progressive football that is the envy of Europe. One wonders what he’ll do in his second season.
Bayern have reached the Promised Land, and along with Jupp Heynckes, Ottmar Hitzfeld, Dettmar Cramer and Udo Lattek, Flick has joined the pantheon of Bayern greats.
By Linda Amiani