Feature

Coman, world's winningest winger, lifts Bayern to new levels of greatness

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Kingsley Coman, just 24, has won more trophies than most players could dream of. He secured one of Bayern Munich's greatest triumphs of all.

Eyebrows were raised when Ivan Perisic, who scored in the last 16 and the last eight, was dropped for Coman for the UEFA Champions League final.

When you look at the winger's pedigree, it was an obvious choice.

Coman has won nine league titles across three different countries. He has won 10 domestic cup competitions. He was a runner-up at Euro 2016. Now, he is a Champions League winner, a final goalscorer, the man who delivered the second treble in Bayern Munich's history, a feat only Barcelona have achieved in Europe's top-five leagues.

He is 24 years old.

The clash in Lisbon, Paris Saint-Germain's first final in Europe's top competition, was supposed to be about another young French forward. Kylian Mbappe has set European football alight but he wilted in the glare of the Estadio da Luz, his golden first-half chance fired straight at Manuel Neuer.

Coman made no such mistake. A fine Thiago Alcantara pass, a clever Thomas Muller lay-off, a pinpoint cross from Joshua Kimmich, and Coman steered a header beyond the reach of Keylor Navas, the decisive blow in a heavyweight contest where each feared the weapons of the other.

It was not the match-winner people imagined, it was not the goal-fest many craved, but it was the Coman and Bayern we have come to expect: victorious.

When Niko Kovac left in November, they had just lost 5-1 to Eintracht Frankfurt, were fourth in the table, four points off the lead in the Bundesliga and teetering on their perch at the top of German football. The work of Hansi Flick since December has been nothing short of spectacular, a single-season impact of the likes we have rarely witnessed before: no defeats in 2020, 22 wins in a row, and Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League trophies.

In this season's Champions League, Bayern won six from six in the group stage and finished with a goal difference of plus 19, the best of any team ever. Robert Lewandowski scored 15 times in the tournament. They scored seven against Tottenham and eight against Barcelona. They are the first team in European Cup history to win every game en route to the trophy.

If their first treble seven years ago was dramatic, this one was emphatic.

Neymar was disconsolate after the final whistle, the €222 million PSG poster-boy unable to complete the script of their season, but even he must reflect on this game, this tournament, and accept Bayern were the very best. Flick's unstoppable force will look to do it all again in a month's time when the new German season begins, and few would bet against them.

For now, they'll head back to Munich, their empty-stadium celebrations a good dress rehearsal for the moment fans are allowed to revel in their triumph. And Coman should be front and centre: the winningest winger of them all.

Source Omnisport