- Paris Saint-Germain host FC Bayern Munich on Tuesday night as two of Europe’s heavyweights go head-to-head in a highly anticipated Champions League round of 16 tie.
- Star players Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe are both injury doubts for the hosts heading into the first leg after both players missed the weekend defeat against Monaco.
- Bayern head into the 2020 final repeat as one of the tournament favourites but will have to get past a PSG side desperate for European glory.
PSG begin the week with positive news since both Messi and Mbappe have returned to training ahead of the first leg match against Bayern at the Parc des Princes.
Messi is an injury doubt due to a hamstring strain that he picked up in PSG’s recent 2-1 Coupe de France defeat away to Marseille. A scan completed post-match revealed the Argentine had suffered a strain and he was absent from the 3-1 defeat away to Monaco on Saturday.
Mbappe was also present for training on Monday morning as he aims to return from a recent thigh injury. It was initially expected that he would miss the first leg clash but his recovery has been quicker than expected.
Marco Veratti also returned to training after also missing the Monaco fixture but he remains a doubt due to a hip injury. Renato Sanches and Nordi Mukiele have been ruled out, however, due to injury, whilst Fabian Ruiz missed the weekend’s game due to a stomach bug but could return here.
As for the visitors, they will still be without their talisman Sadio Mane who is still recovering from long-term injury, whilst Manuel Neuer, Noussair Mazraoui, Ryan Gravenberch and Lucas Hernandez also remain out.
Champions League Form
PSG finished in second place in Group H, being pipped to first by Benfica. They both finished on 14 points apiece but the Portuguese side came out on top due to away goals.
The Parisians are undefeated in this year’s competition but did draw both of their games with Benfica 1-1 and are still yet to win the tournament to complete their trophy cabinet. The Champions League is PSG’s most desired trophy but they face a tough Bayern side in the round of 16.
2020 champions Bayern qualified for the knockouts after topping Group C, winning all six of their matches in a tough group that consisted of the likes of Inter and Barcelona. The German side certainly proved how strong they are in the group stage, scoring the second highest number of goals, whilst having the joint-top defensive record too, having conceded just two goals.
A disappointing Champions League campaign last season will also fuel the PSG fire for success this time around after they were knocked out at this stage last term against eventual winners Real Madrid. They were also defeated in dramatic fashion, throwing away a two-goal lead after a Karim Benzema hat-trick sent the Santiago Bernabeu into raptures.
The Champions League certainly means a lot to PSG and president Nasser Al-Khelaifi was furious after their exit last season, storming out of the director’s box in search of referee Danny Makkelie. Pressure is certainly on the French club, having been eliminated from the tournament in the last 16 in four of their last six appearances of the tournament.
Bayern suffered a shock quarter-final exit against Villarreal in last season’s Champions League tie, despite flying past RB Salzburg in the round of 16, winning 8-2 on aggregate.
UCL 22/23 Key Stats:
Goals For: PSG 16, Bayern 18
Goals Against: PSG 7, Bayern 2
Both Teams to Score %: PSG 100%, Bayern 16.67%
Over 2.5 goals %: PSG 66.67%, Bayern 50%
The two European giants are certainly not unfamiliar with each other and last clashed in the quarter-finals of the 2021 competition. The two sides were level on aggregate after the two legs but PSG qualified on away goals after defeating Bayern 3-2 at the Allianz Arena.
Despite being without Robert Lewandowksi this time around, Bayern were also without the Pole for the 2021 tie. PSG and Bayern also met in the 2020 final but the former would not reign victorious after a Kingsley Coman goal was enough for the Germans to lift the trophy.
Life hasn’t been easy for Bayern since their star striker Lewandowksi left the club for Barcelona. They still sit top of the Bundesliga but by just a single point, with the likes of Union Berlin and Borussia Dortmund all within close range of the champions.
Bayern have only lost just one match in the league so far this term but draws have been an issue for Julian Nagelsman’s men. They have just two wins in their last five league matches, drawing the other three. However, they followed up last week’s 4-2 victory away to Wolfsburg with a comfortable 3-0 triumph over VFL Bochum at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.
PSG, on the other hand, are leading the way in Ligue 1 and are five points ahead of Marseille in second. However, they did suffer a 2-1 defeat away to Marseille in the Coupe de France and without star men Messi and Mbappe, they also suffered a 3-1 defeat away to Monaco, with their gap at the top being reduced.
Prediction & Suggested Bets
PSG 1-1 Bayern @13/2
We are expecting a cagey affair due to how much PSG are desperate for success in this competition, especially with Mbappe and Messi not at 100%. Christophe Galtier will want to remain in the tie for the second leg, giving more time for the pair to return to better fitness.
Draw @ 13/5 Bayern do not offer the same threat without Lewandowksi and so will remain cautious away from home, especially due to their recent form not being as pristine as we are usually accustomed to. The German champions are also undefeated in each of their last ten round of 16 away matches.
Kingsley Coman Anytime Goalscorer @ 15/4 With the visitors without Mane, they could struggle up top but the likes of Thomas Muller and Coman have been in good form of late. The latter has scored three goals in his last two Bundesliga matches and also scored the winner against PSG in the 2020 final.
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