PSG kick off their 2017-18 UEFA Champions League campaign when they visit Parkhead to take on Celtic on Tuesday.
The latest edition of the UEFA Champions League commences with the group stage on Tuesday. In Group B, Celtic and PSG face off in an intriguing match, as the Scottish champions host the rampaging French heavyweights at Parkhead.
The Hoops have been regular participants in the competition in recent years, but had to progress through three qualifying rounds to be eligible to play in the group stage. Brendan Rodgers’ men come into the match with some solid form, unbeaten in the Scottish Premiership and having soundly beaten Hamilton 4-1 on the weekend.
PSG, on the other hand, qualified for the Champions League group stage as the runners up in Ligue 1 last season. Les Parisiens have been rampant in the French top-flight thus far, with five wins in five taking them to the top of the table. Their last outing saw them grab a resounding 5-1 win over Metz.
The two sides have previously met just twice, in the now-defunct Cup Winners Cup, with PSG winning both the games by an aggregate scoreline of 4-0. Ahead of their latest meeting on Tuesday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Brendan Rodgers does not have many pressing injury concerns to deal with ahead of the visit of PSG on Tuesday. But, the Celtic boss will be without three of his key men, two of whom have resumed full training but are still some way off.
Last season’s top scorer, Moussa Dembele is back in training after recovering from a hamstring injury. But, the match against his former club comes too soon for the Frenchman. Dedryck Boyata, too, has rejoined full training following his recovery from a knee injury, but is not available for selection.
Fellow centre-back Erik Sviatchenko, though, is still on the treatment table as he recovers from his own knee injury. In the absence of Boyata and Sviatchenko, Jozo Simunovic and Nir Bitton are likely to be at the heart of the hosts’ defence, with the unenviable task of stopping the likes of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani in their tracks.
However, in-form striker Leigh Griffiths has shrugged off a knock that forced him to sit out the match against Hamilton on the weekend, and is expected to lead the Celtic attack on Tuesday. Tom Rogic is likely to start as well, after playing no part in the weekend’s win.
Possible Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Gordon; Lustig, Simunovic, Bitton, Tierney; Brown, Ntcham; Roberts, Rogic, Sinclair; Griffiths
Like his counterpart in the Celtic dugout, Unai Emery does not have fitness issues aplenty at hand either. But, the PSG manager will be without Angel Di Maria, who is expected to be on the sidelines for “several weeks” due to a thigh injury he sustained while on international duty with Argentina last week.
Di Maria’s compatriot Javier Pastore, too, has not managed to make Emery’s squad as he continues dealing with a long-standing calf injury. Despite the Argentine duo’s absence though, the PSG boss has enough firepower in his squad to tackle Celtic on Tuesday, with the likes of Julian Draxler, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe at his disposal.
Meanwhile, Emery is likely to make a few changes to the side that faced Metz over the weekend. Dani Alves, Thiago Silva and Layvin Kurzawa are expected to start in place of Thomas Meunier, Presnel Kimpembe and Yuri Berchiche after being rested on the weekend.
Also likely to return is Marco Verratti, who has had to sit out the last two domestic games for PSG due to a three-match ban. The Italian should line up alongside Adrien Rabiot at the heart of Les Parisiens’ midfield.
Possible Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Areola; Alves, Marquinhos, Silva, Kurzawa; Verratti, Rabiot; Mbappe, Draxler, Neymar; Cavani
- Celtic and PSG have faced off against each other just twice previously, in a 1995-96 Cup Winners Cup second round tie, with the French side coming out on top on both occasions.
- Celtic have managed win just one of their last 14 Champions League games (D3 L10) – a 2-1 home success over Ajax in October 2013.
- PSG are taking part in their 10th Champions League campaign. Only Lyon, with 14, have made more appearances in the competitions among French clubs.
- Celtic, too, are participating in the Champions League for the 10th time, which is equal best for most appearances for a Scottish club alongside Rangers.
- Neymar (12) has provided the most assists in the Champions League over the last two seasons, three more than any other player.
Player To Watch
The biggest talking point of the summer saw Neymar shock football fans around the world to join PSG, with the intention of taking his career to the next level. The start to life in France has been nothing short of remarkable for the Brazilian superstar as he has scored four goals and provided as many assists in just 4 Ligue 1 games.
With a direct contribution to a goal every 45 minutes, it is clear that Neymar has established himself as Les Parisiens’ talisman in no time. Now comes an even bigger test for the player though, as he gets set to test his mettle in Europe.
While his Champions League debut for the club might not be the toughest of encounters, a rampaging outing against Celtic can be a big statement of intent from the Brazilian, who can provide a sign of things to come over the course of the campaign.
Celtic 1-2 PSG
Champions League action returns on Tuesday and first up for PSG is a tough nut to crack in Celtic. The Scottish side have often been toppled with relative ease for the big guns in the Europe’s premier club competition in recent seasons.
But, the Hoops have progressed considerably under Brendan Rodgers who would like to show that his side are not here to merely make up the numbers. However, with the likes of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani in tow, Unai Emery has one of the most fearsome attacking forces in Europe at his disposal.
While the hosts are expected to make it tough for the French giants with their compact defending and pacy attack, the three aforementioned powehouses are likely to see PSG through. The Hard Tackle predicts a hard-fought 2-1 win for the visitors.