Bayern coach after the UCL Round of 16 draw: It’s unfair to face PSG
"PSG is a tough opponent", Nagelsmann said on November 7 at a press conference before the match against Werder Bremen in the 14th round of the Bundesliga. "Bayern also met tough opponents in the group stage, going through a perfect journey and still not being rewarded."
Despite falling into the most challenging group this season with Barcelona, Inter, and Plzen, Bayern still won 18 absolute points, scored 18 goals, and conceded only twice. They are the only club to win all of the Champions League group stages this season and the first team to achieve this feat in the last three seasons.
Bayern Munich completed the UCL group stage this season with six wins.
But this position does not help Bayern breathe easier in the round of 16 when they have to encounter Paris Saint-Germain, the club is considered the most difficult opponent in the group of second-place teams, alongside Liverpool. The two teams met in the Champions League final in 2020, where Bayern won 1-0 thanks to a header from Kingsley Coman. However, the history of confrontations is in favor of PSG, with six victories over 11 head-to-head matches.
According to Nagelsmann, falling to second in the final group stage match does not mean PSG are weaker. He added: "They have many players of the same class as Bayern. But this is the Champions League, so it is normal not to have an easy opponent to play in the round of 16."
Besides Bayern Munich, the remaining three representatives of the Bundesliga face challenges as well. In particular, the match between RB Leipzig and Man City is considered to be the most disparate. In the other games, Dortmund will face Chelsea, the Champions League champion in the 2020-2021 season, while Frankfurt will play against Napoli, the team that is leading Serie A with an unbeaten streak. "All German clubs have drawn tough opponents," commented Nagelsmann. "Once we have passed the group stage, there is no easy opponent to play against anymore. But the 1/8 round of the Champions League is still very far away, due to the 2022 World Cup in between."
Other German teams will also have to face huge challenges.
Bayern Munich’s CEO Oliver Kahn joked that meeting PSG was "fate", and highly appreciated the quality of the Ligue 1 representative's squad. The former Germany goalkeeper said: "PSG has a very balanced squad between attack, midfielders, and defense, they are world-class players, very experienced, but so are we. This is a game between two of the top clubs in European football, and I'm sure there will be two exciting matches ahead."
Bayern Munich’s Sports Director, Hasan Salihamidzic, said that the two teams' chances of progressing to the next round are equal, believing that this is a top match and that he is very anxious to wait. "Bayern are playing well, but we have to see what state the players are in after the 2022 World Cup. The most important thing is to get them back in good shape." he said.
After the match against Werder Bremen today, Bayern will also be guests of Schalke in the 15th round of the Bundesliga on November 12, before the season is paused to make way for the 2022 World Cup. After a period of struggle, coach Nagelsmann’s squad has regained its form with a series of four wins to return to the top of the table with 28 points, one point more than Freiburg.