French champions Paris Saint-Germain will travel to Belgrade, as they take on Crvena Zvezda in their final Group C game of the UEFA Champions League.
PSG will be aiming to advance to the next round of the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League, when they face off against Serbian champions Crvena Zvezda on Tuesday at the Rajko Mitic Stadium.
Thomas Tuchel’s men currently sit second in the group, with eight points from five matches, following their 2-1 win over Liverpool last month. Their qualification to the knockouts is not yet confirmed and should Les Parisiens succumb to a defeat against the Serbians and third-placed Liverpool defeat Napoli in the other Group C game, PSG will be out of the competition.
PSG are without a win since their triumph against the Reds, having been held to back to back draws by Bordeaux (2-2) and Strasbourg (1-1). Their fixture against Montpellier this past weekend was postponed due to security concerns. And they will be hoping to set everything aside and come away with all three points from Belgrade.
Crvena Zvezda, on the other hand, are rooted to the bottom the Group C standings with 4 points from 5 games. They were beaten 3-1 by Napoli in their previous European assigment, but have extended their unbeaten record in the Serbian SuperLiga to 20 games.
Vladen Milojevic’s men are unbeaten at home in the Champions League, having held Napoli to a draw before famously defeating Liverpool. Should they cause an upset against the French capital club and Liverpool lose to Napoli, the Serbian champions will finish third in the group and qualify for the round of 32 stages of the UEFA Europa League.
Team News & Tactics
Midfielder Nenad Krsticic is suspended for the home team. No other injury or suspension concerns for the Serbians on Tuesday night. Manager Milojevic will set his team up in a 4-2-3-1 formation against the French champions.
Veteran goalkeeper Milan Borjan is set to start between the sticks for Zvezda. He will be shielded by a backline comprising of Filip Stojkovic and Milan Rodic as the full-backs on the right and left sides respectively, with Vujadin Savic and Milos Degenek at the heart of the defence.
With Krsticic ruled out, Dusan Jovancic is likely to replace him in one of the two pivot positions in the middle of the park, with Branko Jovicic the most likely candidate to partner him. Former Chelsea star Marko Marin is likely to assume playmaking duties in the No.10 role for the Serbian league leaders.
El Fardou Ben, who scored Zvezda’s only goal against Napoli last time out, should feature on the right flank, while Veljko Simic is in line to start on the left-side. Milan Pavkov, who was Zvezda’s hero in the win against Liverpool, should lead the line on Tuesday.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Borjan; Stojkovic, Savic, Degenek, Rodic; Jovancic, Jovicic; Ben, Marin, Simic; Pavkov;
Superstar Neymar is fit again and ready for a return, having come off injured in the draw against Bordeaux earlier this month. The Brazilian is just one yellow card away from picking up a suspension in Europe, as is the case with midfield mainstay Marco Verratti.
Les Parisiens are likely to stick to the three-man backline that Tuchel has opted for in the past few games. Gianluigi Buffon will start between the sticks for the visitors, with Thilo Kehrer, Thiago Silva and Presnel Kimpembe starting in front of him.
Seasoned campaigner Dani Alves could get a run out as the right-sided wing-back ahead of Thomas Meunier, while Juan Bernat will return to the side on the opposite flank, having missed the game against Strasbourg. Verratti will occupy one of the two central midfield slots for the French heavyweights, with Julian Draxler likely to partner him, as he has done in recent weeks.
Teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe should feature from the get-go on the right flank for PSG, with the fit-again Neymar occupying the opposite wing. Edinson Cavani, who scored PSG’s only goal against Strasbourg last week, will lead the line in Belgrade.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Buffon; Kehrer, Silva, Kimpembe; Alves, Verratti, Draxler, Bernat; Mbappe, Cavani, Neymar;
- Crvena Zvezda have not lost at home in the UEFA Champions League this season.
- PSG, on the other hand, have failed to win away from home in Europe this season, having been beaten 3-2 by Liverpool at Anfield, before being held to a 1-1 draw by Napoli at the San Paolo Stadium.
- There have been over 2.5 goals scored in 19 of PSG‘s last 20 games in the Champions League.
- Les Parisiens have scored 13 goals in their five Champions League encounters so far this term. Only Manchester City (14) have netted more goals, while Barcelona have also struck 13 times.
Player to Watch
So far in the 2018-19 season, Neymar has bagged 15 goals and set up 7 more in 18 matches across all competitions. The attacker was on the scoresheet in the 2-1 win over against Liverpool last time out in Europe for the French champions and had scored a brilliant hat-trick the last time PSG met earlier Crvena Zvezda this term.
The 26-year-old Brazilian superstar missed two of PSG’s last three league games due to injury, but is fit now and should feature from the get-go against the Serbians on Tuesday night. Expect more fireworks from him in Belgrade, as he looks to fire PSG to the next stage of the competition.
Crvena Zvezda 1-3 PSG
The last time these two sides met in October, PSG hammered Crvena Zvezda 6-1. However, things might not be as straightforward this time out, given how impressive the Serbian champions have been at home. The fact that they haven’t been able to win in their last two fixtures will also be playing on Les Parisiens’ minds.
With the backing of their supporters, who will be out in full force, the atmosphere at the Rajko Mitic stadium can become quite intimidating for the travellers. But, the gulf of class and quality between the two squads and the presence of two of the most explosive attackers in football – Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, should tilt the balance in favour of Tuchel’s side on Tuesday night.