LISBON – Sunday’s historic UEFA Champions League final in Lisbon will be the first played behind closed doors and could also see the Paris Saint-Germain of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe win the trophy for the first time, but a Bayern Munich side led by the prolific Robert Lewandowski block their path.
It is a mouthwatering showdown between two of Europe’s super-clubs, with PSG eager to cap their rise in the last decade under Qatari ownership and Bayern hoping to lift the trophy for the sixth time.
Such an occasion deserves to be played in front of a full stadium, but the cavernous, 65,000-seat Estadio da Luz will be empty.
No fans are allowed in, as has been the case throughout this unprecedented 'Final Eight' tournament in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
"It is true that it will be odd to play behind closed doors. We would have liked to have our supporters there but I know they are supporting us where they are. But this is still the Champions League," said Mbappe on Saturday during a virtual press conference.
The competition was suspended for five months before finally resuming earlier in August, with two-legged ties done away with in the quarter-finals and semi-finals.
"You still feel all the tension. Everyone wants to win it, especially with this unusual format. Everyone will remember this for a long time because of the tragic events surrounding it," Mbappe added.
While the atmosphere in the ground will be surreal for the few hundred allowed to attend, the match promises to be fascinating, pitting together two teams whose domestic dominance is almost total and who were both comfortable winners in the semi-finals.