As with the first leg in Paris when Kylian Mbappe was doubtful, the starting lineups for Bayern Munich against Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League last 16 second leg next Wednesday are already a hot topic of discussion. The Germans lead 1-0 from the opening game thanks to ex-Parisien Kingsley Coman, but France’s Benjamin Pavard is suspended and unavailable for Julian Nagelsmann. However, the big news ahead of the game is that Neymar has effectively been ruled out for the rest of this season, even if PSG have not confirmed as much, with an expected absence of “three to four months”.
“He’s a player who has scored a lot of goals and got a lot of assists since the start of the season,” Galtier said of the Brazilian before the match. “He is a top professional. He is the first person to be upset by his injury and I really think about him. Having Neymar in the team was always going to be an added advantage to score goals.”
We look at how both sides are shaping up to this.
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With Pavard out, defense matters a lot for the Bavarians as Lucas Hernandez is also a long-term absentee. Dayot Upamecano and Matthijs de Ligt are impeccable in the back line, but the inexperienced Josip Stanisic could be the chink in the armor that Mbappe and his team-mates are looking for. Manuel Neuer remains out, but Yann Sommer is a more than adequate replacement and excelled in last month’s away win, while Noussair Mazraoui is also not yet ready to return. Sadio Mane is starting to return to fitness and was a substitute against Stuttgart where he made a small appearance, but it will take some time for the Senegal international to be ready to start. Thomas Muller is in competition with Leroy Sane for a possible involvement, given that the latter was also able to feature despite being initially ruled out for it. Jamal Musiala’s name should be on the team sheet by the end.
“We were prepared for Mbappe in the first game,” Nagelsmann said before the match. “He is one of the best in the world and he changes his team’s game plan as well. He will start on Wednesday and he had three good moments in the second leg. However, you make your life difficult if you prepare only to defend.”
“Bappe is a player whose profile represents a danger,” Muller added before the game. “He scores most of PSG’s goals. However, it is a team game and you have to be careful with the passes to him and the space you leave him. He will be important for PSG on Wednesday. However, every strength has a weakness.”
“We are well prepared and I am curious to see how PSG start the game,” continued Muller. “We might have a chance to push them. I know PSG, but I don’t watch five or six 90-minute games in a row. When I watch their highlights, you always see a contribution from Neymar. Sometimes he can decide a game with a single action ».
Possible Bayern XI: Summer? Stanisic, Upamecano, De Ligt? Coman, Kimmich (c), Goretzka, Davies; Sane, Musiala? Choupo-Moting.
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Neymar is already ruled out due to upcoming surgery, while Presnel Kibebe’s season is also good and Renato Sanchez is also injured. Marco Verratti is back from domestic suspension and will start, meaning Warren Zaire Emery will return to the bench on his 17th birthday after the opening leg kicks off. The rape allegations made against Achraf Hakimi are worrying, but the club have stood by the player who has denied the allegations, so we expect him to be fit to play after a recent thigh problem. Neymar’s absence simplifies things at the top, with all-time top scorer Mbappe and Lionel Messi expected to repeat their recent superb effort in the away win at Olympique de Marseille to win Le Classique. A knock against FC Nantes shouldn’t keep Marquinhos out and Nuno Mendes will look to wreak further havoc on Bayern’s right.
“It’s an important race, we knew that after the first race, there was still the second race,” Verratti said before the race. “We lost 1-0 at home, so they have a little bit of an advantage, but everything has to play for. To go through, we will need to put in a top performance against a top team. We believe in ourselves, they will have to perform very well to get the qualification back to Paris.
“It’s important to come here with confidence. After losing the first game, we talked a lot and got three wins on the trot, we found our feet again, as well as the tactical system from the beginning of the season. We will have to give our best to win this match, Bayern also want to qualify. There will be many top players on the pitch. We want to have fun and go out and qualify. Tomorrow, out on the pitch, We will need to show that we are strong and win here .
“Kylian is a player we are lucky to have here with us, we have to have players like him. We know it’s not over, we want to put in a top performance tomorrow, we’re playing for something huge and we love that pressure. It’s important to be able to rely on him. And he also can’t wait to be there.”
“The season doesn’t just end in this race,” Galtier added. “Every match is important. It is a very difficult competition, tomorrow there will be a winner and a loser. But we play every match with the ambition to win it. The Champions League is a very important goal, we want to get there. We will need to we have a much more challenging approach than we showed in game 1. If we are in that mindset, we have a chance to qualify.
“There is the possibility that it will go to penalties. I don’t see it as a draw, we don’t work penalties technically, because the context of the match is different. A lot of it has to do with the psychological side of things. And there is a lot of work being done with Donnarumma, before the penalty shootout.”
Possible PSG XI: Donnarumma? Danilo, Marquinhos (c), Ramos; Hakimi, Ruiz, Verratti, Vitinha, Mendes? Messi, Bape.