against RB Leipzig, PSG must win but above all convince

First in its group after two matches, PSG can take a big step towards qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League on Tuesday against RB Leipzig (9 p.m. in Paris).

Mbappé, Messi, Neymar, Verrati, Donnaruma, Marquinhos, Gueye … With its plethora of stars, PSG should on paper fly over Ligue 1 and the Champions League. However, Paris is struggling for the moment to impress and outclass all its opponents. All the same leaders of their group, the Parisians can get closer to qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League, Tuesday, October 19 (9 p.m.), if they beat an RB Leipzig in difficulty.

The narrow success against Angers (2-1), Friday in the league, summed up the paradox of the start of the season for PSG, which wins without dominating in the game. Parisians put forward an accounting balance sheet in line with their ambitions.

It is as if their situation had not changed much since the last visit of the RBL to the Parc des Princes, on November 24, 2020: behind closed doors, the Saxons had had a monopoly of possession and opportunities, but PSG of Thomas Tuchel had narrowly won thanks to a penalty from Neymar (1-0).

Today, coach Mauricio Pochettino would sign for the same result, as this match appears to be a turning point for qualification.

“Like Leipzig, we need the victory. Faced with a team which plays with a lot of energy, there will be periods during the match where it will be necessary to be compact”, warned the Argentinian technician.

Bad year for Leipzig

Neck-to-neck with Manchester City (3 points) and the surprise Bruges (4 pts) after two days in Group A, PSG (4 pts) has the opportunity to remove Leipzig (0 pt) from the race .

Semi-finalists in 2020, the Red Bull-owned club have shown in recent years that they are more than an underdog, with their tantalizing attacking style shaped by the talent of their young players.

But this season, the French side Christopher Nkunku and Nordi Mukiele are not doing so well, after executives Dayot Upamecano and Marcel Sabitzer as well as coach Julian Nagelsmann all left for Bayern Munich this summer.

The club with the red bulls, 8th in the Bundesliga, sticks out its tongue before entering the arena of the Porte de Saint-Cloud, at the risk of seeing the Parisians take the blow to its European ambitions.

However, the public expects a little more than that: Paris must play well, especially as Pochettino will be able to count on Messi, absent against Angers because of the hyper-dense international calendar which has retained him in South America with the Argentine selection.

At his side, Kylian Mbappé remains on a good performance against the SCO, with a goal and an assist, in the wake of his full rally with the Blues, concluded by the title in the League of Nations.

Facing the Parisian superstars, “maybe a line with seven defenders would be a possibility,” smiled Saxons coach Jesse Marsch.

But an hour after its press conference, PSG announced that the third thief of the “MNM”, the Brazilian Neymar, forfeited due to adductor pain.

Neymar injured, Di Maria suspended

“The priority is always the health of the players. ‘Ney’ has a small problem. I hope it’s only a matter of a few days,” responded Pochettino, without saying if the superstar was going to be of return for the “Clasico” of Ligue 1 in Marseille, Sunday.

For the Argentine coach, who admitted that there was work to build a strong collective around the magical trio, it is still time wasted.

The absence of Neymar, added to the suspension of Angel Di Maria and the uncertainties around Mauro Icardi (personal problems), complicates the thinking of Pochettino, who should renew the 4-3-3 that has worked so well against Manchester City .

In the cages, “I made my choice” between Gianluigi Donnarumma and Keylor Navas, he assured, without revealing the name of the holder. The Costa Rican, who was injured with his selection during the break, participated in the collective morning session.

Argentine midfielder Leandro Paredes (quadriceps), absent until the end of November, and Spanish defender Sergio Ramos (calf) remain in the infirmary, with Neymar.

This makes for a nice CV unavailable … but PSG have no excuse, as Pochettino repeats, not to shine.

With AFP


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