Parc des Princes, Paris
Wednesday, 21st October, 2015, 1645 GMT
French champions Paris Saint-Germain take on Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid in a heavyweight clash at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday in Matchday 3 of the UEFA Champions League.
Both sides have undergone almost identical campaigns in Europe this season after recording two wins each and conceding zero goals.
PSG registered a comfortable 2-0 home win against Swedish champions Malmoe FF in their opening group match. They followed it up with an impressive 3-0 away win against Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk.
Real Madrid, on the other hand, started off their European adventure in style after thumping Shakhtar Donetsk by four goals to nil at the Santiago Bernabeu. Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice for the ten time European champions in Matchday 2 as they overcame a spirited challenge from a determined Malmoe side in Sweden.
Both teams will be desperate to win the contest in order to move closer to their ambitions of topping Group A.
Team News and Tactics
PSG go into their clash with Real Madrid without A?50 million signing David Luiz, who has been ruled out with a knee injury. Highly rated Brazilian defender Marquinhos will partner captain Thiago Silva at centre-back in the absence of Luiz. Maxwell and Serge Aurier will occupy the left-back and right-back berths respectively.
It will be interesting to see who Laurent Blanc opts to start in goal for the French champions on Wednesday. First choice goalkeeper Kevin Trapp has recovered from his thigh injury but could make way for the veteran Salvatore SN rN gu, who started at the weekend against SC Bastia.
Blanc also welcomes back Italian midfielder Marco Verratti from injury. He is expected to be joined by Javier Pastore and Blaise Matuidi in midfield. Argentine winger Angel Di Maria, who won the Champions League with Real Madrid in 2013-14, will accompany Edinson Cavani and Zlatan Ibrahimovic upfront for the French club.
Probable Starting XI (4-3-3): Sirigu; Maxwell, Silva, Marquinhos, Aurier; Verratti, Pastore, Matuidi; Di Maria, Cavani, Ibrahimovic.
Rafa Benitez’s Real Madrid side will travel to Paris without a whole host of first team players who are currently on the treatment table.
Keylor Navas will be looking to continue his excellent start to the season by keeping a third consecutive clean sheet in Europe this season when he lines up for the Los Blancos against PSG.
In defence, Real Madrid welcome back club captain Sergio Ramos and new signing Danillo from injury. They will be accompanied by Raphael Varane and Marcelo to make up the Real Madrid back four. Pepe and Dani Carvajal have both been ruled out against PSG due to injury.
Luka Modric returned to training for the club on Monday after an injury scare and will be slotting alongside Toni Kroos in a double pivot in front of the back four. Gareth Bale, who aggravated a calf injury during Saturday’s 3-0 win over Levante, is unavailable for selection on Wednesday along with long term absentee James Rodriguez. Mateo Kovacic, Isco and Jese Rodriguez are expected to lineup as the attacking midfield trio in the absence of Bale and James.
Karim Benzema has also been left out of Real Madrid’s squad for their trip to Paris after failing to recover in time from a hamstring injury. Cristiano Ronaldo, who will start up front for the Los Merengues, is tasked with the burden of scoring goals against a dogged PSG defence in the absence of Benzema and Bale.
Probable Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Navas; Marcelo, Ramos, Varane, Danilo; Kroos, Modric; Kovacic, Isco, Jese; Ronaldo.
- This is the fifth meeting between Paris SG and Real Madrid in European competition. The Parisian club holds the upper hand with two wins, one draw and one defeat. Meanwhile, Real have never beaten PSG at the Parc des Princes (D1 L1).
- Their previous encounters were in the knockout stages with PSG eliminating Real Madrid both times: in the 1992/93 UEFA Cup (5-4 on aggregate) and the 1993/94 Cup Winners’ Cup (2-1 on aggregate).
- PSG have scored in each of their previous four games against Real Madrid.
- PSG have only lost one of their last 35 home games in European competition (W23 D11), it was against Barcelona in last season’s Champions League quarter-finals (1-3).
- Real Madrid are playing in the Champions League for the 19th consecutive season, the longest current run.
- They have always made it out of the group stages and have won the European Cup/Champions League 10 times, a record.
- Real Madrid have made it at least to the semi-finals in each of the last five Champions League campaigns.
(Source: Opta Stats via Goal.com)
Player to watch out for:
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (PSG)
Paris Saint-Germain’s record goalscorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be the man to watch out for in their match against Real Madrid. After a lukewarm start to the season, Ibrahimovic burst into life by scoring 4 goals in his last 2 games for the Paris club.
Having amassed more than 100 goals in just over 3 seasons with Paris Saint-Germain, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has firmly etched his name into the club’s record books. However, despite winning a whole host of honours with top clubs in Europe over the course of his career, the UEFA Champions League trophy still eludes him.
Ibrahimovic will be hoping to continue his recent goal scoring streak and fire PSG to the top of Group A when his side take on Real Madrid on Wednesday.
PSG 2-1 Real Madrid
With both teams yet to concede a single goal in the competition, something has to give way when the two clash against each other in Paris. Both teams possess enough firepower upfront to threaten the opposition defence and it would be no surprise to see both scoring. However, home advantage for the French club coupled with Real Madrid’s injury crisis should give PSG a narrow win over the 10 time European champions.