Champions League recap: Paris looking like complete package

Neymar, Kylian Mbappé and Ángel Di María have turned heads, but the French champions are solid at the back too.

Watch every Paris goal on their road to the final
Watch every Paris goal on their road to the final

Through to their first ever UEFA Champions League final in the year they celebrate their 50th anniversary, Paris will vie for the trophy with a miserly defence and a star-studded forward line.

Champions League final preview


Season so far

Form guide: W8 D1 L1 F25 A5
Top scorers: Kylian Mbappé, Mauro Icardi (5)

Their campaign in ten words: Solid defence, electric going forward: could this be their season?

Group A winners

Highlights: Paris 5-0 Galatasaray
Highlights: Paris 5-0 Galatasaray

Paris 3-0 Real Madrid (Di María 14 33, Meunier 90'+1)
Galatasaray 0-1 Paris (Icardi 52)
Club Brugge 0-5 Paris (Icardi 7 63, Mbappé 61 79 83)
Paris 1-0 Club Brugge (Icardi 22)
Real Madrid 2-2 Paris (Benzema 17 79; Mbappé 81, Sarabia 83)
Paris 5-0 Galatasaray (Icardi 32, Sarabia 35, Neymar 46, Mbappé 63, Cavani 84pen)

Round of 16

First leg (18 February): Dortmund 2-1 Paris (Haaland 69 77; Neymar 75)
Second leg (11 March): Paris 2-0 Dortmund (Neymar 28, Bernat 45+1)
(3-2 agg.) 

Quarter-finals

Atalanta 1-2 Paris (Pašalić 27; Marquinhos 90, Choupo-Moting 90+3)

Semi-finals

Highlights: Leipzig 0-3 Paris
Highlights: Leipzig 0-3 Paris

Leipzig 0-3 Paris (Marquinhos 13, Di María 42, Bernat 58)

Expert view: Chris Burke, UEFA.com Paris reporter

Just 90 minutes away from their maiden Champions League title, Paris are brimful of belief that this – the 50th anniversary of their foundation – is the year they finally leave their mark. The French champions have been a team transformed since their round of 16 loss at Dortmund, forging an impressive squad spirit to turn that tie around and then stun Atalanta with two late goals. Add that to the obvious talent they displayed to cruise past Leipzig and this is a side with both the means and the confidence to take one more historic step.

Who’s in charge?

After replacing Jürgen Klopp at Dortmund, Thomas Tuchel joined Paris in 2018. He has since landed two Ligue 1 titles, adding the French Cup and League Cup this season. Having also won the Trophée des Champions at the start of 2019/20, the German coach can now complete a historic clean sweep of five trophies. The first manager to steer Paris into a Champions League final, he has won 12 of his 18 matches in the competition with the club.

Key quote: "I'm very happy to coach this team – it's fun. They're not only talking, they're delivering. We will give everything; the final will be a big match."

Tactical approach

Neymar has been inspirational for Paris in Lisbon
Neymar has been inspirational for Paris in LisbonUEFA via Getty Images

Paris began 2020 with Neymar, Kylian Mbappé, Ángel Di María and Mauro Icardi as the star performers in a stable 4-4-2, but Tuchel has since had to improvise to cope with absences. The French champions began with Neymar as the playmaker in a 4-3-1-2 against Atalanta and, with Icardi left on the bench, the Brazilian then operated as a false No9 in the 4-3-3 that dispatched Leipzig. Tuchel may be inspired to stick with that solution, while keeping faith with a defence that has yielded just five goals in ten games – fewer than any other team.

Star player: Neymar

The highest-scoring Brazilian in Champions League history, Neymar has been inspirational for Paris in recent rounds – the first time he has been injury-free in the knockout phase since joining in 2017. Though he has yet to score during the Lisbon mini-tournament, the Paris No10 has driven the team forward with his dribbling, passing, energy and hunger.