Paris Saint-Germain will look to finish their UEFA Champions League group stage campaign on a high when they host Club Brugge on Tuesday night.

Already guaranteed a place in the knockout stages of the Champions League, Paris Saint-Germain will round off their group stage on Tuesday night when they welcome Club Brugge to Parc des Princes.

Despite being under siege for most of the game at the Etihad Stadium in the previous Matchday, PSG managed to hold off Manchester City and took the lead through Kylian Mbappe, but the Parisians’ euphoria did not last long. Strikes from Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus ensured the Citizens finish as Group A winners, with PSG having to settle for second place and possibly a more difficult draw in the last 16.

The French giants were held to a 1-1 draw against Lens in Ligue 1 this past weekend, with Georginio Wijnaldum saving the day with a last-gasp header. After back-to-back draws in Ligue 1, PSG are under some pressure due to their performances on the pitch, despite comfortably sitting atop of the pile with an 11-point cushion. A win on Tuesday would, thus, be crucial for Mauricio Pochettino & co.

Club Brugge, meanwhile, started the season as a surprise package with a draw against PSG and victory over RB Leipzig. But Philippe Clement’s side have been unable to maintain that momentum and are now struggling to grab the Europa League consolation prize. The Belgian outfit were thumped 5-0 by RB Leipzig in their last European fixture and will be vying for redemption.

The result will not affect PSG’s standing in Group A, but three points here might help the visitors secure a spot in the Europa League knockouts. The two sides clashed in the reverse fixture in the Champions League opener back in September, with Brugge earning a good point in a surprise 1-1 draw at the Jan Breydel Stadium. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.

Team News & Tactics

Paris Saint-Germain

Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino will be expected to reshuffle the pack for Tuesday’s insignificant Champions League meeting with Club Brugge. Lionel Messi came back from a gastroenteritis scare to feature against Nice and Lens, but the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner may well be rested for this encounter with nothing at stake.

Neymar is likely to be sidelined until 2022 with a major ankle injury, and Sergio Ramos suffered from a muscle strain and is uncertain only days after making his PSG debut. Ander Herrera is also a doubt, as is the case with Julian Draxler. But Kylian Mbappe, Georginio Wijnaldum, Gianluigi Donnarumma, and Nuno Mendes can all expect to return to the starting XI this midweek.

Pochettino could line up the Parisians in their usual 4-3-3 formation. Keylor Navas produced several fine saves against Lens before allowing Seko Fofana’s long-range attempt to slip through his fingertips. The Costa Rican will almost certainly be replaced this week by Donnarumma, who will take his place between the sticks.

The French capital outfit face a bit of injury crisis in the defensive department. Summer signing Ramos is out injured while Presnel Kimpembe and Colin Dagba are nursing issues but are not yet ruled out. Pochettino could opt for a centre-back pairing of captain Marquinhos and Thilo Kehrer.

Nuno Mendes should get a start ahead of Juan Bernat at left-back, whereas Achraf Hakimi will slot in on the other flank as the right-back. Both are very attack-minded full-backs known for their marauding forward runs and will excite the home crowd, pinning their opposition counterparts by dominating the respective flanks.

The injury-prone Marco Verratti will almost certainly be rested with nothing on the line, giving Rafinha a rare opportunity to perform alongside Idrissa Gueye and Wijnaldum. Messi might potentially find himself on the bench ahead of a vital Ligue 1 clash against AS Monaco, allowing Kylian Mbappe to return to the starting lineup with Angel Di Maria and Mauro Icardi the other forwards in a three-man frontline.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Hakimi, Marquinhos, Kehrer, Mendes; Rafinha, Gueye, Wijnaldum; Di Maria, Icardi, Mbappe 

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Club Brugge

Unlike his counterpart in the PSG dugout, Club Brugge boss Philippe Clement has no fresh injury concerns, with Ruben Providence the only player ruled out with an ankle issue. Perhaps a bit unlucky with injuries to their key players throughout their Champions League campaign, the Belgian coach is set to go with his strongest side on Tuesday, with a third-place finish still there to fight for.

Clement rested several usual starters for the victory over Seraing, and familiar faces such as Mats Rits and Hans Vanaken are set to return to the starting XI. Clement is a tactically versatile manager and has deployed different formations during the season. He could persist with a 4-3-3 system he fielded last time out against RFC Seraing.

Former Liverpool ace Simon Mignolet is certain to take his place in goal. Stanley Nsoki and Eduard Sobol will aim to return to the backline this midweek. The central defensive pairing of Jack Hendry and Nsoki will be tasked to keep things solid at the back while offering quality distribution on the ball. Clinton Mata and Sobol will take up the full-back positions, who will most likely be pushed back by their PSG counterparts.

Eder Balanta will sit at the base of midfield, with support from Vanaken and Rits on either side of him. Belgium star Vanaken will be a crucial element in the midfield, linking the play with his vision, intelligence and passing while his trademark runs into the box always pose a threat.

Cisse Sandra scored the decisive goal last weekend, but that would not be enough to displace the regular starter Charles De Ketelaere at right-wing while highly-rated winger Noa Lang will slot in at left flank. After scoring a brace on the weekend, Bas Dost will certainly lead the line through the middle keeping Kamal Sowah out of the starting lineup.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Mignolet; Mata, Hendry, Nsoki, Sobol; Vanaken, Balanta, Rits; De Ketelaere, Dost, Lang

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Key Stats

  • This will be the fourth matchup between the two clubs, with all three previous ones taking place in the UEFA Champions League. PSG are unbeaten in these fixtures (W2 D1).
  • PSG have won their past four UCL group stage games at Parc des Princes and are unbeaten at home in their last 12 games (W11, D1).
  • In fact, PSG have only lost one of their last 29 competitive games at home. Their most recent defeat came against Manchester City in October 2020. They have scored an average of 2.7 goals in these games.
  • PSG boast only one win from their past four games in all competitions, and they lost the chance to extend their winning streak at the Parc des Princes to ten games against Nice.
  • Club Brugge have shipped at least four goals in their last three Champions League matches this season and have conceded more goals than any other side in the competition (16).

Player to Watch

Kylian Mbappe

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Mbappe’s contract with the French side expires next summer, and there is huge speculation surrounding his future. But that has not resulted in a downtrend in his performances for the current club. With Neymar out injured and Messi still not in full flow, the 22-year-old has been the main man this season, and his superb assist last time out brought his season total to 22 goal involvements in 21 games across all competitions.

The Frenchman has already scored 18 goals for club and country this season. On top of that, he has provided the same number of assists. He scored a stunning treble when these sides met in the 2019/20 UCL group stages. While tipping him to bag another hat-trick here could be a bit of stretch, he might be able to buy himself a brace.

Prediction

Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Club Brugge

PSG’s last two league games have finished in draws. With Neymar missing due to injury, their productivity in the final third has suffered. While PSG have not been at their scintillating best, the visitors have hardly set the world alight this campaign, having conceded 14 goals in their last three Champions League games while their domestic form has also been mediocre.

PSG are loaded with quality, especially in attacking areas, and while they might not be a cohesive team, they have enough individual quality and can easily put a few goals past a side that is not playing well at the moment. One can expect Brugge to put up a better fight in this crucial game, but The Hard Tackle predicts Mauricio Pochettino’s men to grab a narrow 2-1 win in front of their fans.

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