The Parisian superstars are expected at the turn this Wednesday, on the ground of Bayern Munich.
The moment of truth. Neymar and Kylian Mbappé’s time? As in the final, in Lisbon, on August 23, Paris Saint-Germain is measured against Bayern Munich this Wednesday (9 p.m.), at the Allianz Arena, in the first leg of the Champions League. And this with its two most brilliant gems, Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, which has not always been the case lately … Two superstars who live for this kind of great meeting, for oppositions of this nature , for the C1. And two players who have a lot to be forgiven after their lackluster performance in August against the same Bavarian team … Admittedly, Mbappé was coming back from injury and his presence on the field of Estadio da Luz was a miracle. Certainly, Manuel Neuer had been simply monstrous in his goals. But the Franco-Brazilian tandem, the most expensive in the world, had missed its subject, failing to materialize its opportunities. And as Marquinhos says, who “if (PSG) had been able to materialize (its) opportunities, it would have ended otherwise”. This was also Thomas Tuchel’s theory just after the game, with the ex-Paris Saint-Germain coach saying he felt the first team to score would win. And the Bavarians were the first (and the only) to score …
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This time, Mbappé has no known physical problem. Neither does Neymar Jr. Although, the latter has only played 110 minutes in an official match since his injury on February 10, in Caen. 20 minutes against Lyon before the international cut (4-2 victory) and 90 against Lille, last Saturday (0-1 loss). A match that saw the Seleçao striker kick out, scooping two yellow synonymous with expulsion, his fourth since 2017 and his arrival on the banks of the Seine, after clashes with Benjamin André (48th) and Tiago Djalo (90th) ). “He did not deserve his red card,” promises Mauricio Pochettino, a little alone on this line. Marquinhos, him, recognizes the “commitment” of his compatriot on the second action and this duel with Djalo, moreover also expelled on the spot, but also underlines the positive: There are two different things: first the desire to score, to get the ball, to be competitive and to work for the team, and the other is the commitment he made… ”
“In Barcelona, we saw the individualities emerge because the collective was strong”
In any case, “Ney” would be well inspired to keep diamonds this Wednesday, and do what he can do best, play ball. Even if they are deprived of Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry, and “it’s not nothing” as Pochettino underlines, the Bavarians represent an out-of-category pass for this PSG who dreams of being invited to the table of the very old . And therefore to win his first Cup with big ears. The keys to success? They are necessarily collective. “We focus a lot on Neymar and Mbappé, but the eleven players who will be on the field will be responsible for doing the work necessary to win this match,” swears Pochettino. “In Barcelona, the team was strong, sturdy, we played a very great match, recalls Marquinhos. And afterwards, we saw the individualities emerge because the collective was strong. If everyone is good collectively, with the right frame of mind, the right commitment, individuals will emerge naturally, because we have great players. ” And the Brazilian added that by putting all the pressure on one or more individualities, they would have “all the weight of the world on their shoulders”.
Of course, it’s not the pressure that scares Neymar and Mbappé. Which certainly have at heart to shine on the most prestigious scene in terms of club competition, and even more against the executioner of PSG in the last final. The opportunity for them to show that Paris has done well to place them at the heart of its project, by investing colossal sums in their person, even if it means running out of money to strengthen certain positions and fill the bench. Obviously, the two superstars will not be the only arguments for Pochettino, who will also have to make up for the absence of Marco Verratti in the heart of the game and Alessandro Florenzi, on the right side of the defense. It won’t be easy …
Neymar and Mbappé, insoluble problem?
It is not easy either to know how to place your offensive assets on the meadow. In the absence of Angel Di Maria, Moise Kean and Angel Di Maria are in the starting blocks to start, but “Poche” could choose to strengthen his midfield and therefore decide between the two. In any case, we will carefully follow the positioning of Neymar and Mbappé, both attracted by the left side. They do not have the same profile, but the same area of influence and the same preferential position. If they love to play together and they find themselves with their eyes closed, that they get along well off the field, the two players have so far represented an insoluble problem for their successive coaches. How do you put them in the best possible shape without upsetting the rest of the team? Unai Emery, Thomas Tuchel and now Pochettino are still looking.
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Good news ? Bayern will probably have control of the game. As a result, Paris will not have to do it, and will be able to content itself with hurting the Munich rearguard by trying to recover as quickly, as high as possible, and trying to hit Neymar or Mbappé quickly. While waiting for Mauricio Pochettino to succeed in giving a real identity to “his” PSG, it is still under these conditions that “Ney” and Kylian Mbappé can best express themselves… It is up to them to show the way, to bring the light and above all, to make a difference in Bavaria.