which PSG to face Bayern Munich?


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The Champions League is often synonymous with bad luck for Paris Saint-Germain. The people of Ile-de-France know how to be there to get through the group stage without any problem. But as soon as the elimination phase arrives, it is the carnage. Since the 2017/2018 season, the capital club has always had to deal with the absence of one or more of its stars. The round of 16 against Bayern Munich is therefore no exception to the rule. Except that this time, Paris risks doing without several major assets.

In defense, Achraf Hakimi’s hamstrings whistle. The Moroccan side is uncertain for tomorrow’s match in Monaco and therefore also for Tuesday’s. Paris is crossing its fingers, because if Hakimi has to forfeit, Galtier will not be able to count on Nordi Mukiele. Injured in Rennes, the versatile defender is still in the infirmary. Juan Bernat or El Chadaille Bitshiabu could then play the repairman. If no additional physical glitch is to be deplored in the principality tomorrow, the Hakimi case will be the major concern for the defense to manage.

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Boos everywhere

Up front, it’s a completely different problem that Christophe Galtier will have to deal with. A problem that could become almost impossible to solve. Respectively the victim of an injury to the left thigh and hit in the hamstrings, Kylian Mbappé and Lionel Messi are not at all sure to be on the lawn of the Park next Tuesday. There is more optimism about the Argentinian, but if these two packages are confirmed, Christophe Galtier will face a big headache.

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The Parisian coach could choose to stay in a 4-4-2 diamond with Vitinha at the top (as in the last three games) and Soler on the right. It remains to be seen whether Hugo Ekitike would indeed come to support Neymar. Galtier could also go back to 4-3-3. Paris would return to a usual midfielder (Verratti-Vitinha-Pereira or Ruiz or Zaire-Emery) with the Soler-Neymar-Ekitike triplet in front. Except that if he aligns three offensives, Galtier will no longer have any weight solutions on the bench except the young Ilyes Housni, or even Ismaël Gharbi. So risky.

Maximum pressure for Neymar

Going back to 3-4-2-1 is also possible, but again there are downsides. In defence, besides the question of whether or not Hakimi will be present to play the right piston, it would force Galtier to field Marquinhos, Sergio Ramos and El Chadaille Bitshiabu. Presnel Kimpembe absent, one of the three centrals should not be injured, even if Danilo Pereira can go down a notch. Not to mention the unconvincing state of form of Sergio Ramos. On the other hand, this system would make it possible to have several solutions in the middle and to put a Neymar in support of Ekitike alone at the forefront.

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In the end, whatever system he chooses, Galtier knows he will bet everything on Neymar if Messi and Mbappé are absent. The Brazilian will clearly be the man by whom the difference must be made. Except that the Auriverde international has been in trouble since his return from the World Cup. Between his ankle injury and his low morale, will number 10 be able to respond? In Marseille, he clearly lacked sharpness. But that’s what his coach will ask him if he has to lead the game of PSG. As you will have understood, the case promises to be complicated…

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