RB Leipzig will be hoping to complete the double over PSG as the two teams meet once again at Parc des Princes on Tuesday.
This will be an interesting matchday for Group H in the UEFA Champions League. The “group of death” as it has been commonly referred to as this season, is firmly poised with Manchester United leading the standings with six points. They are closely followed by RB Leipzig, who are also on six points while third-placed Paris-Saint Germain have only gathered three points so far.
Unlike Man United, however, PSG will also have a daunting task of facing Leipzig on Tuesday as they look to recover from their poor start to the European campaign. In fact, the French giants, who reached the final of this competition last season, fell to a 2-1 defeat to Leipzig in the reverse fixture, earlier this month.
Therefore, coach Thomas Tuchel will be hoping for retribution, though he needs to be fully aware of the threat possessed by the midweek opponents. However, it is fair to point out that both these sides have had a relatively distasteful weekend, with PSG, in particular, slumping to a 3-2 defeat at the hands of AS Monaco, led by former Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac.
During his time in the Bundesliga, Kovac had also managed Eintracht Frankfurt, who drew 1-1 with Leipzig on Saturday. It served as a massive blow for the club in the title race, allowing Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen to overtake them in the league table.
Nevertheless, Die Roten Bullen will be looking to move on from that result and concentrate on their midweek clash against PSG, knowing a win could go a long way in sealing their place in the knockout round of the Champions League. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides ahead of this highly-anticipated encounter at the Parc des Princes.
Tactics & Team News
Tuchel has had a difficult time getting the better of his former student and Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann. However, the German mastermind must come up with a solution to evade the opposition’s intense press in this must-win encounter. So he will naturally be relying on the individual quality of his front three in Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria.
Neymar and Mbappe were both absent in the reverse fixture against Leipzig earlier this month. So Tuchel will be hoping that their presence in the final third could give his side the additional edge they need this midweek.
Unfortunately for PSG, however, they are still missing out on the services of key midfielder Marco Verratti while Idrissa Gueye is out due to suspension after picking up two yellows cards in the last game. It means we might see ex-Barcelona star Rafinha starting in midfield this week.
Tuchel, meanwhile, is sweating on the fitness of Ander Herrera, who picked up a slight knock in the game against Monaco. Although we do expect the Spaniard to recover in time, Leandro Paredes is in line to replace him.
Marquinhos is a key outlet in PSG’s second line of defence. It won’t even be surprising to see if he drops deep and acts as an auxiliary defender due to the absence of Presnel Kimpembe, who was one of two players to receive two yellows cards in the reverse fixture.
Kimpembe’s absence means Tuchel may have to rely on the services of Abdou Diallo, who is set to partner Danilo Pereira at the heart of the four-man backline. They will be aided by the two full-backs in Alessandro Florenzi and Layvin Kurzawa while Keylor Navas is a guaranteed starter in goal.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Navas; Florenzi, Danilo, Diallo, Kurzawa; Herrera, Marquinhos, Rafinha; Di Maria, Mbappe, Neymar
Nagelsmann won’t have to deal with too many injury-related absentees but is likely to miss out on the services of the defensive trifecta of Nordi Mukiele, Lukas Klostermann and Marcel Halstenberg.
Tyler Adams deputized for the injured Mukiele at right-back this past weekend. But Nagelsmann might opt for a more genuine option in Amadou Haidara given the fact that the right-back will have to deal with the threat of Neymar. Angelino, meanwhile, is a guaranteed starter on the opposite flank, though both these players are set to operate as wing-backs.
It essentially means that Nagelsmann is set to switch to a back-three. Willi Orban will return to the side, partnering Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate at centre-back. They will be hoping for a better performance, especially after conceding a needless goal in the draw with Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
Marcel Sabitzer and Kevin Kampl both played ninety minutes against the Eagles in the last game, and they might have to do so again as Leipzig are still missing Konrad Laimer in central midfield. Nagelsmann does have US International Tyler Adams as an option, but he is more likely to appear as a substitute.
Moving forward, Yussuf Poulsen made quite the impact after coming on as a sub on Saturday. He is more than likely to replace Alexander Sorloth in the number nine slot while Emil Forsberg is another player expected to return to the starting lineup. The Swede is set to operate alongside Christopher Nkunku, who might just get the nod ahead of Dani Olmo and Justin Kluivert due to his performance in the reverse fixture.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Gulacsi; Orban, Konate, Upamecano; Haidara, Sabitzer, Kampl, Angelino; Forsberg, Nkunku; Poulsen.
- Emil Forsberg needs one more goal to become RB Leipzig’s record Champions League scorer. The Swede currently shares the lead on seven strikes with former forward Timo Werner, following his effort against PSG on Matchday 3.
- Also on target last time out, Christopher Nkunku scored eight goals in 57 appearances across four seasons with PSG, before moving to Germany in 2019.
- RB Leipzig won three of their four away games in last season’s Champions League, drawing the other.
- Juan Bernat, Abdou Diallo, Julian Draxler and Thilo Kehrer made 329 Bundesliga appearances between them in their pre-PSG days.
- PSG have lost four of their last six matches against German opponents in the Champions League, including both of their last two against Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig.
Player to Watch
Angeliño for RB Leipzig this season:
Superb stats for a left-back. The young Spaniard is having a great season. pic.twitter.com/NfdroaeJZ5
— Football Talent Scout – Jacek Kulig (@FTalentScout) November 21, 2020
Angelino, alongside Raphael Guerreiro, have set the gold standards for wing-backs all across Europe this season, having been greatly involved in their side’s offensive unit. The former, in particular, has had a direct hand in seven Leipzig goals in all competitions so far in 2020/21, which is quite astonishing for any wing-back.
However, on Tuesday, it will be interesting to see how he balances his game as he will be up against the highly dangerous Angel Di Maria on the left flank. Although the Spaniard did an excellent job of keeping hold of the ex-Real Madrid superstar in the reverse fixture, things could be entirely different this time out.
With Neymar, in particular, back in the side, we might see him and Di Maria rotating flanks, making it much more difficult for Angelino to get a firm grip on the game. So the Leipzig wing-back is the one player worth keeping an eye on in this fixture.
PSG 1-1 RB Leipzig
We might witness a different approach from PSG this midweek. The French giants usually play from the middle, but with Verratti missing and Neymar back in the team, they will be looking to make better use of the flanks, especially with Leipzig missing their premier right-backs in Klostermann and Mukiele.
However, whether or not this tactic will work remains to be seen, though we do expect the hosts to fare much better than they did in the earlier game. Unfortunately, it might not be enough to seal a win over the tactically astute and versatile Leipzig side this midweek.
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