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UCL 2020 assists race: Who'll win the award

UCL 2020 assists race: Lewandowski, Alphonso Davies vs Di Maria, Mbappe, Neymar

August 23, 2020 By Ali M.
Two Bayern Munich stars and three PSG aces are in the race to be named the best playmaker of the 2019/20 season.

The 2019/20 UEFA Champions League season will come to a wrap on Sunday, with PSG and Bayern Munich set to lock horns in the highly-anticipated final. This game will decide the side to come away with the coveted crown – will Les Parisiens end their wait for European success or will the Bavarians lift their sixth title?

On top of that, the individual awards will also be decided in the weekend showdown. While Robert Lewandowski has got the Golden Boot in the bag with his 15 goals this season, five more than closest rivals Erling Braut Haaland, many might not be aware that the Polish ace is in the race to win the best playmaker prize as well.

This 32-year-old is joint-top with Angel Di Maria for most assists in the Champions League this season at six. However, unlike the Golden Boot race, this one is not over. In fact, four players who are well in this mix are likely to start in the final and they are Lewandowski, Davies, Di Maria, Neymar, and Mbappe. Here's everything you need to know about the 2019/20 most assists race.

How many assists does each player have?

  1. Di Maria: 6 assists

  2. Lewandowski: 6 assists

  3. Mbappe: 5 assists

  4. Neymar: 4 assists

  5. Davies: 4 assists

What are their minutes-per-assist ratios?

  1. Di Maria: 112 mins per assist

  2. Mbappe: 112 mins per assist

  3. Neymar: 124 mins per assist

  4. Lewandowski: 133 mins per assist

  5. Davies: 156 mins per assist

Breakdown: What do the numbers tell us?

One thing is clear: Angel Di Maria boasts the best minutes-per-assist ratio. The Argentine's tally, which we rounded up from an assist every 111.7 minutes, trumps that of Mbappe's, which we rounded down from an assist every 112.4 minutes.

Neymar ranks third while the two Bayern players Robert Lewandowski and Alphonso Davies come in at fourth and fifth, respectively. However, as is the case with almost everything, there is a lot more to this than just the raw numbers.

While Di Maria is the most creative of the five on paper, it should be noted that 50% of his assists (3) came in one game: the 5-0 win over Club Brugge back in late October. In the eight Champions League games he's played this term, the Argentine has failed to set up a goal in five matches and has failed to contribute to one altogether in four fixtures.

Mbappe's figures are less sporadic, assisting two in the 5-0 win over Galatasaray and setting up not more than one strike in three other games. As for Alphonso Davies, while the Canadian sensation has the worst ratio, context is needed. The 19-year-old started Bayen's first three Champions League games on the bench. Not only were those high-scoring fixtures, with the Germans netting 13 times in those matches he was benched, but Davies needed another two games since being brought into the lineup in order to catch the ropes and contribute. His first two assists came against Spurs in the 3-1 win over Mourinho's side and since then, he has only failed to set up a goal only twice.

Then there is the case of Lewandowski. Form favors the Polish sensation walking away with both this prize and the Golden Boot. Not only has the 32-year-old scored in every single Champions League game he has played this season, but he has also assisted at least one strike in his last four outings. In fact, all six of his assists came in the knockout stage, with Chelsea being his favorite opponent (4).

One thing that Bayern has going for them is their plethora of goal sources. However, this is a double-edged sword. Sure, Davies and Lewandowski got tons of other goalscoring threats in the squad to feed such as Gnabry, Muller, Coutinho, and Perisic. However, on the flip side, this means that the ball does not have to flow through the Canadian and Polish aces in order for chances to be created.

As for PSG, when the club are in need of magic, Mbappe, Neymar, and Di Maria tend to be the go-to guys. Di Maria, in particular, is one playmaker Flick should be worried about as he is capable of pulling off any type of assist, be it a cross, through ball, or cutback. Tactics will be key as both managers will need to nullify the opposition. The ones who fail to do so will walk away empty handed.

 

Match details, result and original broadcast info

PSG 0 - 1 Bayern München

August 23, 2020 3:00pmEstádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz) (Lisboa)

This match has ended. Below are the original Live broadcast details for this match.

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