One of the notions of Paris Saint-Germain was that they were a poor team before their Qatari investors arrived in 2011. However, Les Parisiens edged past Bayern Munich in the group stage back in 2000 thanks to a late goal from Laurent Leroy.
Paris Saint-Germain Edge Past Bayern Munich in 2000 Classic Thanks to Late Laurent Leroy Goal
Bayern Munich were the opponents in September 2000, on matchday three of the first group stage of the Champions League. Bayern came into this Group F game on the back of two openings wins, having beaten Scandinavian side Helsingborg and Rosenborg.
PSG, meanwhile, lost 3-1 at Rosenborg in their first group game but made up for that by thrashing Helsingborg 4-1. And so, the French side had three points to their name as they welcomed Bayern Munich to the Parc des Princes.
Tactically, there were shades of the Champions League final last August in Lisbon. Bayern Munich were the more patient side, whose primary aim was to play their way through the PSG defence. Mehmet Scholl looked to be the main creative hub for the side, as they were content with having the ball, sometimes with little attacking threat.
PSG, meanwhile, were set on breaking quickly once they had the ball. Particularly using teenage full-back Bernard Mendy on the left, and letting their forwards drift wide, they were intent on getting the ball in behind Bayern’s defence.
First Half – PSG make Bayern Munich Uncomfortable
PSG were set on using their forwards, Nicolas Anelka and Christian, to drift wide and run in behind, particularly on the left. Combine that with Mendy and Laurent Robert, and Philippe Bergeroo’s side unnerved Willy Sagnol on the right for Bayern Munich. Les Parisiens put on some early pressure, and 15 minutes in, had a claim for a penalty denied. PSG were also denied by Bayern Munich goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, who foiled Anelka and Christian. Kahn also made a decent save from Frederic Dehu late in the first half.
Bayern Munich were set on patient play, and playing via Scholl. They didn’t trouble the PSG backline, until when Carsten Jancker broke through on goal on 32 minutes. Jancker was denied by Lionel Letizi in PSG’s goal, while Scholl fired the rebound wide. Die Roten would get a foothold on the game later on, as PSG’s energy sapped a bit, but there was no real penetrative threat.
Second Half – Laurent Leroy Sets Paris Alight
The second half had a pacey opening to it, the first 20 minutes specifically. Only ten seconds had gone in the second period when Hasan Salihamidzic got in behind the PSG defence and headed a long ball wide.
At the other end, Christian had Bayern’s defence on the back foot, and he glided past two players before firing a shot at Kahn. Kahn also denied Stephane Dalmat, while PSG faced a scare when Scholl’s free-kick landed on the top of the net. Letizi was beaten for the free-kick, but soon after parried a long drive from Michael Tarnat.
The second period followed something of a reverse pattern from the first. As the half wore on, PSG looked the most likely to score, even though the threatening Christian had been replaced by Laurent Leroy. But Bayern Munich had a big chance to grab a winner when Scholl was teed up for Giovanne Elber late on. But the German midfielder spooned his big chance weird.
PSG were off the hook and took that chance to turn one point into three. Substitute Leroy, from a ricochet, twisted past Bayern’s defence and then toe-poked a shot past Kahn in the 91st minute. Off went the shirt, away went the PSG players, and the French side had snatched a memorable victory in Paris.
What Happened Next
Bayern Munich won the reverse fixture on matchday four and went on to finish top of the group. Ottmar Hitzfeld’s side also won their second group stage and beat Manchester United and Real Madrid on their way to a final against Valencia. A penalty shoot-out beckoned in Milan, and Bayern celebrated their fourth Champions League title and a first in 25 years.
PSG, meanwhile, went on to the second group stage, but only won one game to finish bottom of their group. On the domestic front, Les Parisiens struggled to find their way upwards in the table. Bergeroo would depart in December, to be replaced by Vahid Halihodzic, as they finished ninth in Ligue 1. Maybe the notions weren’t so far off after all.