Germany and Paris: Between love and disenchantment
Ever since 2015, the German contingent continues to grow in Paris. It was not until 1998 that the first player from the Mannschaft wore the red and blue shirt. But on the other hand, Paris fancies German clubs, though only on the field.
Kevin Trapp arrived in 2015, Julian Draxler in 2017 and finally Thilo Kehrer in 2018. Here is what the German contingent looks like in PSG presently (Kevin Trapp has been loaned to Frankfurt for the season). Seasons after seasons, it only keeps growing and between the three of them, they account for 177 matches under the Parisian colours (in all competitions, ongoing series). However, if Paris has been leaning towards German players for about 3 years, it hasn’t always been the case.
Wörns, the pioneer
Christian Wörns led the way by becoming the first German player to wear the Parisian colours. A strong defender with 66 caps for the Mannschaft, he arrived in Paris in 1998 when Charles Biétry took power. A year marked by a significant upheaval in the squad with a flashy arrival, that of Jay-Jay Okocha.
Christian Wörns arrived from Bayer Leverkusen. During his only season in the capital, he played 32 games (scoring 2 goals) and played in central defence with Alain Goma. He even won the 1998 Trophée des Champions against Lens under Alain Giresse (1-0 victory thanks to Lachuer). But this season of novelty was much more difficult than expected. Paris would know 3 coaches, 2 chairmen and would end its season in the dark (9th place). The only satisfaction of the 1998-1999 season was to prevent Marseille from winning the title (by losing the last day to Bordeaux at the Parc). Thus, on the 19th of April 1999, Christian Wörns was transferred to Borussia Dortmund for €6 million. The Parisian adventure lasted only one year for the sturdy defender. And this pioneer waited 16 years to see his fellow countrymen wear the Parisian shirt. Since 2015, three players from the Mannschaft have been transferred to the capital. And Thomas Tuchel became the first German coach to take over the reins of PSG.
It all goes smoothly on the field
So even if the club only very recently began to have several German players wearing the Parisian shirt, its history with clubs in Germany dates back longer. German clubs are even PSG’s favourite opponents among the Big Four, with 28 matches in all competitions. The club of the capital even has a positive record of 54% wins (15 wins for 4 draws and 9 losses), which rises to 60% in official competitions. The Rouges et Bleus have played against 11 German clubs in their history: Bayern Munich, Köln, Dortmund, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hertha Berlin, Kaiserslautern, Bayer Leverkusen, RB Leipzig, Schalke 04 and Wolfsburg.
Bayern Munich, a turbulent relationship
Bayern Munich is the German club that Paris has faced the most, but also the one with which the relationship is the most difficult. Since the arrival of QSI, Uli Hoenees and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge have been multiplying verbal attacks against the club of the capital. Bavarian leaders, who are firm advocates of financial fair play, have never hidden their resentment to the economic models of these “new rich” leaders. Just before the Champions League group match on 27 September 2017, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said that “clubs that spend money, like Paris or Manchester City, have not yet won anything. So I’m not worried, money doesn’t win trophies in the end.”
But it was not the first time the chairmen had done so. In 2014, one year after UEFA’s sanction (with a fine and restriction of players in the Champions League), the Bavarian claimed that Paris had “disappeared in the dark for 20 years until it was taken over by a sheikh“, before adding that “Paris Saint-Germain has a huge company behind it, with money almost available forever. We don’t think that’s fair.”
These continuous attacks towards PSG know no end and the Bavarian seize every opportunity to voice their comment. After Neymar’s transfer, the Bayern Munich chairman talked about a “sign of weakness” from PSG.
And the Jérôme Boateng transfer story didn’t make things better between the two clubs. Thus, Uli Hoeness had directly attacked Antero Henrique during an interview with Kicker, telling PSG to “look for another sporting director.”
While the German players and the coach are satisfying on the pitch, relations with Bayern Munich are tense, and there is no hint of a truce. Germany and Paris, a love-hate relationship.