Champions League: Bayern puts PSG on brink thanks to an overlooked Parisian

Bayern's Kingsley Coman celebrates with teammates after scoring his side's opening goal during the Champions League round of 16 first leg soccer match between Paris Saint Germain and Bayern Munich, at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, France, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Paris Saint-Germain has spent more than $1 billion over the past decade in pursuit of UEFA Champions League glory. It has paid ludicrous sums for sport's biggest names, and cycled through expensive attacker after expensive attacker, in search of the biggest prize in men's club soccer. But its trophy case remains empty, and its latest chase has now been imperiled by one of the many homegrown stars it overlooked.

Neymar, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé came up empty on Tuesday in the first leg of a glamorous Round of 16 matchup with Bayern Munich.

And Kingsley Coman, who spent a decade at PSG as a pre-teen and teen, punished them. He scored the lone goal of an oscillating game at the Parc des Princes, and, together with his Bayern teammates, he pushed his boyhood club to the brink.

PSG will go to Munich facing a 1-0 deficit, and needing goals to salvage its season. It is leading France's Ligue 1, but domestic success has become a given; a ninth title in 11 years would do nothing to ease the discontent bubbling at the club. The Champions League is the competition by which success and failure are judged. A European crown is necessary. And it is already slipping away.

Mbappé, having returned from a hamstring injury, came off the bench to swing Tuesday's game and offer hope. He was denied by a marginal offside call, and by a goalkeeper's face. His galloping runs terrified Bayern, though, and could turn the tie on its head in three weeks, on March 8, in Leg 2.

But Tuesday night was Coman's. He left PSG as an 18-year-old after just a few senior appearances. He'd found opportunities sparse, buried underneath high-profile veterans, so, when his contract expired, he left to join Juventus. And he never looked back. He later established himself at Bayern. Shortly after halftime on Tuesday, he found himself free at the far post, and skipped a volley underneath Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Over in Italy, meanwhile, AC Milan rode an early Brahim Diaz goal to a 1-0 victory over Tottenham. At the halfway point, both matchups hang in the balance, with everything to play for in second legs in Munich and London.

But the Bayern-PSG tie is leaning toward the Germans, with pressure piling up in Paris.

Champions League live tracker: PSG-Bayern, AC Milan-Tottenham