Paris Saint-Germain will look to end their hoodoo against Juventus in their UEFA Champions League opener at Parc des Princes on Tuesday.

Paris Saint-Germain will welcome Juventus to Parc Des Princes in their UEFA Champions League opener for the 2022/23 campaign on Tuesday night.

Both teams have dominated their respective domestic leagues in the previous decade but have been perennial underachievers on the continental stage. Juventus made it to the final in 2015 and 2017, coming up short on both occasions. PSG, for their part, fell to Bayern Munich in the showpiece event in 2020.

Both clubs also exited the competition in the Round of 16 last term and will be keen to go at least one better. PSG strengthened in the summer and now led by Christophe Galtier are smashing their way through the French top flight. Juventus, for their part, have also revamped their squad to an extent, but have lost the aura of invincibility that surrounded them in Serie A.

The last time PSG faced Juventus was in the 1996 UEFA Super Cup, with the Bianconeri coming out 9-2 winners. Juventus hold the historical edge in the match-up and have not lost any of their last eight clashes. In fact, PSG goes into the game on the back of a six-game losing streak to Juventus.

The home side will, however, go into the game as favourites. Not only do they look irresistible going forward, but Juventus are also a far cry from the force they once were. Massimiliano Allegri’s men have come undone when up against strong opposition, and little appears to have changed this season.

The onus will be on the Ligue 1 champions to get off to a winning start. Whether Galtier will be the man to take the Parisians to the promised land remains to be seen. Should it be the case, Juventus could be the first domino to fall at the Parc des Princes this Tuesday. The game might very well prove to be a reckoning for both sides’ ambitions in the tournament.

The Hard Tackle looks at how both sides could line up on the night and what tactics they might employ.

Paris Saint-Germain

PSG now have both quality and depth in their roster, and this will give Christophe Galtier options to choose from. The likes of Neymar and Nuno Mendes were rested at the weekend against Nantes, while Marco Verratti and Kylian Mbappe were taken off early, probably with Juventus’s visit in mind.

Vitinha’s injury will come as a blow for PSG, and they do well to let him rest and recuperate in the upcoming games. The central midfielder has been excellent since his arrival in the summer and formed a solid understanding with Verratti in midfield. Although Fabian Ruiz has joined, Galtier is unlikely to throw the Spaniard into the firing line. Renato Sanches is likely to partner with Verratti in the middle of the park, despite Vitinha being included in the squad.

Galtier is unlikely to deviate from the 3-4-3 formation that has brought him much success this season. Gianluigi Donnarumma will start in goal behind a back three of Presnel Kimpembe, Marquinhos and the returning Serio Ramos. Nuno Mendes impressed off the bench and should return to the left-wing back slot with Achraf Hakimi bringing up the other flank.

How well Sanches and Verratti can control the middle of the park could determine how much joy PSG’s full-backs get on the night. Lionel Messi will, in all likelihood, start as the playmaker with Neymar and Mbappe running into channels. The PSG front three have linked up well this season, and a lot of what Juventus can take from the game will depend on whether they can keep the trio quiet.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Donnarumma; Kimpembe, Marquinhos, Ramos; Mendes, Verratti, Sanches, Hakimi; Messi, Neymar, Mbappe

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Juventus

Juventus had a rather busy summer transfer window but will be without a few key players who are out injured. Wojciech Szczesny becomes the club’s latest casualty, and despite not being as badly injured as feared, he is unlikely to return to action for around a fortnight.

He joined Federico Chiesa and Paul Pogba, both of whom are some way off returning to action. Former PSG attacker Angel Di Maria moved to Turin this past summer but is himself recovering from an injury. He is understandably left out of the travelling squad as it makes little sense to risk him.

The same cannot be said of two other former PSG men. Adrien Rabiot and Leandro Paredes could both be involved and should be keen to prove a point to their former side. Massimiliano Allegri is likely to set his side up in a 4-3-3- formation that can dovetail into a 4-4-2 or a 4-5-1 if needed. Packing the midfield will be key to cutting off any supply to PSG’s pacy frontline.

With Szczesny out, Mattia Perin will reprise his role in goal. The Italian goalkeeper has impressed when called upon this season, and it augurs well for Massimilaino Allegri. The defensively sound Mattia De Sciglio is likely to start at left-back, with Danilo occupying the other full-back slot.

Manuel Locatelli will be tasked with going toe to toe against Marco Verratti in midfield. While the PSG ace holds the upper hand, Locatelli will do well to channel his performances from Euro 2020. Paredes will also start in the middle of the park alongside Rabiot. The duo are also willing runners and can break once Juventus counters.

Filip Kostic has taken well to life in Turin and should keep his spot on the left with Juan Cuadrado occupying the other flank. Dusan Vlahovic is a shoo-in and will lead the attack on the night. Ramos and PSG’s high line could be put into disarray should Juventus play their cards right. A lot will depend on how Kostic and Vlahovic work together to make impactful runs.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Perin; De Sciglio, Bremer, Bonucci, Danilo; Rabiot, Locatelli, Paredes; Kostic, Cuadrado; Vlahovic

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Key Stats

  • PSG are winless in their last eight meetings against Juventus. The Parisians have lost the last six games in a row.
  • Juventus have lost just one of their last ten matches against French opposition in top European competitions.
  • This is PSG’S 11th straight season in the UEFA Champions League. Only Olympique Lyonnais have had a larger run among Ligue 1 teams. The last time PSG failed to make it past the group stage was in 2004/05. Juventus experienced their last group stage exit in 2013/14.
  • In the previous 22 Champions League campaigns, Juventus have lost their opening game just once, in 2017 to Barcelona.
  • PSG have experienced defeat at home just once in their last 30 UEFA Champions League fixtures.

Player to Watch

Gleison Bremer

Embed from Getty Images

This will be Gleison Bremer’s first UEFA Champions League match, and he could not have asked for a harder assignment. A rested Neymar, and a clinical Kylian Mbappe would have presented a strong challenge even without Lionel Messi pulling the strings. Bremer has done well so far but will now be tested at the elite level for the first time in Europe’s top competition.

How well he can judge Neymar and Mbappe’s movements could decide Juventus’s shot at keeping a clean sheet. Leonardo Bonucci does not have the pace, and much could depend on Bremer’s ability to react to situations quickly and make the right decision. This could very well prove to be the Brazilian’s baptism of fire.

Prediction

Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 Juventus

PSG are simply unstoppable and have looked like the real deal. Add to it Christophe Galtier’s approach, and the French champions are much more formidable than they have been in recent years.

Keeping the French side’s front three quiet would be an achievement for a Juventus outfit that has seen better days. It should be a comfortable win for the Parisiens, with Dusan Vlahovic grabbing a consolation for the visitors.

Comments 1

  1. Juventus vs psg gold for win vitiwing j and p ?

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