Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City will square up on Wednesday in the first leg of their mouth-watering semi-final of the Champions League.
Stadium: Parc des Princes
- PSG are looking to make it to their second UCL final in a row and the second in their history.
- The Parisians are on a three-game winning run in all competitions and have not drawn a game in ten matches (W7, L3).
- They are alongside Man City are the top-scoring team left in the UCL this season with 21 goals (after Bayern crashed out of the competition).
- The Sky Blues have qualified for the semi-final for the first time since the 2015/16 season.
- They have won 18 of their last 21 away matches, losing just one and drawing two.
After brushing Barcelona and Bayern Munich aside in the last two rounds, PSG have their eyes firmly set on the final in Istanbul.
Initially not considered one of the favourites, their display in the last two rounds have made the rest of Europe sit up and notice Mauricio Pochettino’s boys.
Despite a patchy display in Ligue 1, the Parisians are playing like a proper team in the Champions League. They are looking to reach their second final in two years by beating Man City, who are also desperate for European glory.
However, their chances of picking up a win the first leg of this tie took a hit over the weekend when they lost star player Kylian Mbappe to a muscle injury.
The Frenchman has been his side’s best player in the UCL this season and will be sorely missed if he is unable to shake off the injury picked up in their win against Metz on Saturday. Elsewhere, Brazilian pair Rafinha and Marquinhos remain out with back and groin injuries, respectively, while Juan Bernat is also unavailable for Mauricio Pochettino.
Keylor Navas, Florenzi, Presnel Kimpembe, Thilo Kehrer, Layvin Kurzawa, Marco Verratti, Ander Herrera, Leandro Paredes, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Mauro Icardi.
Unavailable: Bernat (knee)
Doubtful: Marquinhos (adductor), Mbappe (Muscle injury)
It’s not a personal battle or a personal game. It will be a battle between two very good teams. When you talk about Guardiola, you’re talking about one of the best coaches in the world, if not the best. I admire his career, not only the titles but the legacy he is building. I am a coach who loves football, trying to learn and compete and win. That is the objective of every club.
Both sides have unbelievable players to try to control for 90 minutes. It will be tough – very competitive. City are on a fantastic journey this season, and in the previous seasons with Pep. It’s going to be a tough game. I am hoping that we can put in a good performance and win. That is the objective as always in football.Mauricio Pochettino, PSG Manager
It will be a tight game. They are a great team to play. It will be a tough game like the previous one and we’ll try to play as well as we can.I feel great, I feel happy. I will do everything to lead the team towards the final.
We’re playing better and better. Last year we were runners-up; this year, we will do everything to win. We’re working and working towards victory. At the beginning of the season, I said my main goal was the Champions League. We really want to win the Champions League. Last year, we lost the final. This year, we’ve really improved and have worked a lot to keep improving.”
We’ve beaten Bayern and we’ll do everything in our power to beat Manchester [City]. I feel good. Psychologically, mentally, I’ll do everything I can professionally speaking to win this game.Neymar, PSG
Pep Guardiola avoided another quarter-final loss for the first time in his Man City career by beating Borussia Dortmund 4-2 on aggregate to qualify for this round.
The Spaniard is desperate to win the trophy again after not making it to the last stage of the competition since leaving Barca.
His Man City team were installed as favourites for this trophy early this season after his side steamrolled every opponent in the group stages as they finished unbeaten.
They remain the only unbeaten side in the UCL this season and will be entering this tie knowing that they can pick up a positive result in France against an injury-ravaged PSG side.
However, their form in recent times will be a concern for Guardiola as his side have lost two times in the last five matches.
The good news for the coach, though, is the Kevin De Bruyne is fit to play this game after the midfielder starred in their Carabao Cup win over Tottenham on Sunday.
Ederson; Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte, Joao Cancelo; Rodrigo, Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden; Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus.
I know the weapons they have upfront. Everyone who loves football knows the quality they have, but we’re in the Champions League semi-finals, what can you expect? I will not play 90 minutes thinking how good this player is, just how to beat them. I learned from Johann Cruyff, you have to enjoy the game, enjoy the responsibility. Top players enjoy situations because they enjoy responsibility, that’s why the greatest players win this competition.
If you have the ball all the time, the balance is there. We will concede counter attacks, it’s impossible [not to]. If you defend so deep, Neymar, [Kylian] Mbappé, [Ángel] Di María, [Marco] Verratti, Marquinhos: they have a lot of weapons. They are used to playing teams who defend 90 minutes and they find a way. That is not the best way to defend against the team who have everything.Pep Guardiola, Manchester City
Paris Saint-Germain : Draw : Manchester City :: 3.20 : 3.80 : 2.10
|PSG Goal||Man City Goal||Betting Odds|
PSG 1—1 Man City