RB Leipzig are set to welcome Paris Saint-Germain as the Bundesliga side hope to gain relevance in a tightly-contested Champions League Group A.
After three matchdays, RB Leipzig remain winless and pointless in the UEFA Champions League but are still very much in the mix to qualify for the knockout phase. A win over Paris Saint-Germain will certainly open up a world of possibilities for the German side and put pressure on second-placed Manchester City.
Club Brugge are currently the favourites to finish third based on the points acquired in three games. However, Leipzig will be targeting at least a third-place finish that would earn them a pathway into the Europa League if they lose further ground on the top two.
The importance of this fixture against PSG cannot be downplayed. A lot is riding on this clash for both teams. Leipzig, in particular, will be fighting to gain relevance in this group. However, they can take some confidence from the reverse fixture, even if it finished with a 3-2 scoreline in favour of the Parisians.
At one stage, Jesse Marsch’s men looked destined to take three points from Paris, although a late salvo from Lionel Messi, the three points stayed with the home side. A win on Wednesday, however, might propel them to a position where they can still fight, although they will remain fourth irrespective of the result in the other game.
Meanwhile, PSG will be buzzing after a dramatic victory over French champions LOSC Lille as they sit pretty at the top of the Ligue 1 table with 31 points, eight clear of second-placed Nice. Similarly, they occupy first place in their Champions League group, with a single point separating themselves and Manchester City.
Despite their early struggles this season under Mauricio Pochettino, PSG are coming to the fore with impressive performance. Their Champions League fate remains in their own hands, and they would surely want to keep the pressure on Manchester City before they meet in the next round.
Much to Pochettino’s credit, PSG’s high profile stars are firing again, with Kylian Mbappe, Messi and now Angel Di Maria all picking up form in recent weeks. However, Pochettino will be wary of RB Leipzig, who will be supported by the home crowd.
Team News & Tactics
First up, in terms of injury-enforced absentees, Leipzig have at least four players missing out of the PSG clash. Lukas Klostermann, Marcel Halstenberg, Marcelo Saracchi and Brian Brobbey are all missing from action. Dani Olmo, who has been out for over a month, returned to get some minutes at the weekend.
However, his late cameo may not indicate full fitness yet, meaning Marsch may still ponder whether or not to start the Spaniard. Given the importance of this game, the manager may well opt to reinstate the creative star, meaning there could be a change in formation and a likely reversal to a back four.
Dominik Szoboszlai could drop to the bench if Olmo is included in the lineup. Going to the backline, Marsch could start with Willi Orban and Mohamed Simakan as his preferred centre-halves, while Angelino and Nordi Mukiele take up their regular full-back berths.
Emil Forsberg and Christopher Nkunku will complete the formidable and lethal-looking attacking lineup alongside Olmo, while Andre Silva will lead the line for Leipzig.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Gulacsi; Mukiele, Simakan, Orban, Angelino; Laimer, Haidara; Nkunku, Olmo, Forsberg; Silva
Sergio Ramos remains out of contention following his prolonged calf issue, while other absentees include Marco Verratti and star man Lionel Messi. Leandro Paredes is also out of this clash, meaning we could see a midfield three comprising Ander Herrera, Danilo Pereira and Idrissa Gueye.
Meanwhile, reports suggested Kylian Mbappe might also have some fitness concerns, although the French star is likely to start and lead the line for PSG from the look of things.
Two other stars also make a return from suspension. Di Maria, who has now served out his European ban, will likely feature from the start after being fundamental at the weekend. Achraf Hakimi, who sat out the match against Lille due to a domestic suspension, is available in Europe.
On to the goalkeeping front, it does appear that Keylor Navas is the preferred goalkeeper in the Champions League for PSG, as Pochettino wants to use the Costa Rican’s impeccable experience and pedigree in the competition. Meanwhile, with Messi absent, the front three should comprise Mbappe, Neymar and Di Maria.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Navas; Hakimi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Mendes; Herrera, Pereira, Gueye; Di Maria, Mbappe, Neymar
- RB Leipzig have lost their last five games in the Champions League.
- RB Leipzig have conceded at least two goals in their previous seven Champions League games.
- PSG have failed to win their last two away games in the Champions League.
- PSG’s previous visit to the Red Bull Arena ended in a 2-1 defeat.
- PSG have won three of their last four games in all competition heading into this clash, although all those victories came in Paris.
Player to Watch
The French superstar is slowly picking up top form, notching up six goals and eight assists in all competitions so far. In the Champions League, Mbappe has been more creator than a scorer, and he will be needed at his best in the absence of Messi.
Mbappe will be key to PSG’s hopes of strengthening their grip at the top in their Champions League group. Irrespective of the speculations over his future, he will be vital for Pochettino’s side this season in their quest to finally win the competition. Starting with Leipzig, the Frenchman needs to bring his all-around game into the equation.
RB Leipzig 1-2 PSG
Both teams have attacking units capable of turning the game around and scoring plenty of goals, as was witnessed in the reverse fixture. However, the Parisians have more quality to put the Germans to the sword, with Mbappe and Di Maria getting back to their best form. As for Leipzig, this Champions League campaign might not see the light of the next phase, and they might be fighting for the Europa League berth come December.