Extra security in Paris as PSG face Bayern Munich

Bayern have cruised to the Lisbon final, scoring 42 goals in their Champions League matches. (AFP)
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Updated 23 August 2020

Extra security in Paris as PSG face Bayern Munich

  • Either Paris Saint-Germain will pick up the European Cup for the first time or Bayern Munich will become six-time winners of the continent’s premier competition

PARIS: Paris’ Champs Elysee avenue will be pedestrianized on Sunday evening and wearing face masks will be compulsory, officials said on the eve of Paris St. Germain (PSG) taking on Bayern Munich in soccer’s Champions League final.

Several thousand people flocked to the famed avenue on Tuesday night to celebrate the Ligue 1 champions reaching the final of Europe’s premier club tournament for the first time after they beat RB Leipzig.

Few wore protective face gear despite a spike in coronavirus infections in France, while bars were also packed as people watched the game, sparking concern over social distancing. 

Police will be deployed to the Champs Elysee and the area around PSG’s Parc des Princes stadium on Sunday night, when PSG meet German champions Bayern in Lisbon, France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said.

“I’m calling on everyone to act responsibly to ensure (the event) can be an expression of joy and not a source of problems for Parisians,” Darmanin said.

Some PSG players also urged fans to take care.

“It’s a unique and important moment; I hope you too will respect protective measures,” defender Thiago Silva said on a video distributed by the club on Twitter.

Bayern Munich can complete only the second treble in their proud history by beating PSG in Sunday’s final to underline their status as Germany’s super club.

Bayern have cruised to the Lisbon final, scoring 42 goals in their Champions League matches.

In all competitions, they are on a 20-game winning streak stretching back to early February.

“FC Bayern is a global football club that has an obligation to play at the top internationally. That is our focus,” said Bayern board member Oliver Kahn. Since the turn of the century, 

Bayern have made the knock-out stages of the Champions League 19 times, reaching five finals and winning two of them, in 2001 and 2013.

In that time, they have won the Bundesliga 15 times.

Bayern last failed to win the German league in 2011/12, when Jurgen Klopp led Dortmund to the second of back-to-back titles.

They responded in 2012/13 with the first treble in club history — Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League titles — which they can repeat Sunday.


Wenger lauds ‘genius’ of Fenerbahce-bound Ozil

Updated 19 January 2021

Wenger lauds ‘genius’ of Fenerbahce-bound Ozil

  • The 32-year-old, who is the club’s highest earner, has not played since March 2020

LONDON: Arsene Wenger has hailed the “genius” of Mesut Ozil after the Arsenal outcast confirmed he was leaving the Premier League club to join Turkish giants Fenerbahce.

The former Arsenal boss signed the German playmaker in 2013 but the relationship has turned sour under current manager Mikel Arteta.

The 32-year-old, who is the club’s highest earner, on a reported weekly salary of £350,000 ($475,000), has not played since March 2020. But Wenger said the former Germany international, who won the World Cup in 2014, was a rare talent.

“Mesut is like if you imagine an orchestra in music,” the Frenchman told beIN Sports Turkey.

“He’s a guy who plays the ball at the right time. The timing of his pass is exceptional, but the creativity of his pass is as well.

“In every situation he confronts, he gives the right answer and that is genius.”

Ozil has claimed he is in good physical condition despite his lengthy period on the sidelines but Wenger said his former player would take a few games to build up his “competitive fitness.”

“If his basic fitness in training is good, it will only take him three or four games to be at his best,” said Wenger.

“The quality that he has is... vision in depth. He sees quickly, he decides quickly and he realizes quickly what he sees. That is a quality you don’t find too often in our game.”

Wenger said Ozil would strengthen Fenerbahce’s bid to win the Turkish league for the first time since 2013/14.

“I’m sure that he’s frustrated at not having played,” he said. “His hunger must be absolutely (enormous) to play football again.

“Mesut is a guy who needs a warm environment and I believe he will find that more than anywhere else in Turkey.”

Ozil, who is of Turkish origin, was a key member of Germany’s 2014 World Cup-winning side but after what he labelled “racist” attacks following the holders’ first-round exit at the 2018 tournament, he ended his international career.

Fenerbahce, one of Istanbul’s three big clubs, are currently second in the Turkish Super Lig behind Besiktas.