Paris Saint-Germain got their revenge on Bayern Munich with a stunning 3-2 win at the Allianz Arena in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-finals! However, qualification for the semi-finals isn’t sealed yet. Not when they have a team like Bayern to face.
PSG has a history of buckling under pressure in the UCL. They’ve bottled many leads in knockout games in the past which continues to haunt them. With just a slender one-goal lead in the tie, Mauricio Pochettino’s side must repeat their heroics from last week & put in another ruthless performance to knock out the menacing defending champions.
PSG Likely XI
Navas, Kehrer, Danilo, Kimpembe, Bakker, Gueye, Herrera, Draxler, Di Maria, Neymar, Mbappe
The big miss for PSG will be captain Marquinhos, who got injured in the first leg. They’ll also miss Alessandro Florenzi, Mauro Icardi & Juan Bernat, while Marco Veratti could find a spot on the bench if he recovers from Covid-19.
Bayern Munich Likely XI
Neuer, Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Davies, Kimmich, Hernandez, Sane, Muller, Coman, Choupo-Moting
Robert Lewandowski is still out with an injury, while the likes of Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry & Niklas Sule are also expected to miss this one.
PSG vs Bayern Munich Preview
The first leg of this tie definitely lived up to the hype, producing by far the most exciting & closely fought clash in the quarter-finals stages so far. Fortunately, Pochettino’s men were able to take the fight to the Bavarians and managed to hold out their lead to go back home with a decisive advantage.
But the Ligue 1 giants have to replicate a similarly clutch performance to keep Bayern at bay a second time. PSG’s recent home form doesn’t help them. They’ve lost all 3 of their last 3 league games at the Parc des Princes – including to bottom side Nantes! Bayern will definitely be licking their lips knowing this record.
Pochettino needs to find a quick fix to this. With key defenders missing this one, PSG knows they can’t just park the bus & hope for the best. This Bayern team – even without Lewandowski – are relentless and almost guaranteed to score goals even against any defensive set-up.
PSG needs to be brave & like last time, start the game on the front foot. With Bayern presumably going with an all-guns-blazing attacking approach, the French side should get plenty of counter-attacking chances. They need to capitalize on those because as the last game showed, the German side’s defenders are extremely wobbly when defending against pace.
Kylian Mbappe has been PSG’s star man in the UCL and he’ll have to be at his devastating best again. After an incredible showing in the last game, Mbappe must make good use of his scintillating pace to burst past defenders & finish his chances emphatically to get more past Manuel Neuer.
Like the other day, Neymar aims to again run the show for his side. While he’ll be gunning for goals by slotting into more promising scoring areas, the Brazilian star will look to act as his side’s creative force & make things happen with his cutting-edge passes into the box.
Angel di Maria should also have a more attacking approach in this one, as he’ll look to supplement both Neymar & Mbappe with his own defence-splitting delivery & create chances via set-pieces as well. Julian Draxler, however, needs to up his game & improve his decision-making in key areas in this one to live up to his teammates’ standards.
While PSG’s attacking stars need to put away their chances, the defensive set-up also has to be extremely strong to resist Bayern’s onslaught. Even without Lewandowski, the Bavarians are a force to be reckoned with because of their devastating, fast-paced attacking style.
Thomas Muller can cause a lot of damage with his clever instincts in the final third, while wingers Kingsley Coman & Leroy Sane are both menacingly good at their jobs. Eric Choupo-Moting also proved he can score against his former side with ease, while the likes of Alphonso Davies, Joshua Kimmich & David Alaba can easily create a lot of chances if afforded enough time & space.
PSG’s players need to run themselves to the ground if they’re to get a positive result. Idrissa Gueye will be pivotal in helping control the midfield battle with his crunching tackles & interceptions, while Ander Herrera’s high pressing style is key to neutralizing Bayern’s pacy attacking flow.
Thilo Kehrer is likely to replace the erroneous Colin Dagba & has to maintain utmost concentration to keep Coman quiet. Similar, Mitchel Bakker needs to match up to Sane’s pace & be at his defensive best to frustrate the tricky winger. With no Marquinhos, Presnel Kimpembe’s the leader at the back & must act like one – bullying Choupo-Moting & co with his aggressiveness and clearing danger in key areas.
Keylor Navas turned into Superman at the Allianz Arena to save his side from conceding many more. He must put in another heroic display to stop Bayern from running away with things & make those clutch saves whenever necessary to take away some pressure from his defenders.
Pochettino has to ensure that his team shows enough mental fortitude & resilience to not bottle another knockout game. PSG must be fearless with their approach, defend as a solid unit & capitalize on their chances to grind out a result & take one step closer to UCL glory.
Like the last game, I see Bayern dominating possession as they will go all out to get goals. But with PSG’s brilliant counter-attacks, they should score multiple ones too. I see this being another exciting goal-fest and ending as a 2-2 draw.