Predicting Thomas Tuchel’s Lineup Against Galatasaray

We’re a few hours away from kickoff between Galatasaray S.K. and Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League and if there’s any drama leading up to the match at all, it’s who manager Thomas Tuchel will name to his starting lineup.

The status of Kylian Mbappé is also a concern for PSG supporters. The Frenchman is coming off a substantial hamstring injury and has only just returned to action (played 30 minutes against Girondins de Bordeaux last Saturday). In his pre-match press conference, Tuchel said that his young star can either start the game or finish it, but he cannot play the whole 90 minutes. This was buoyed by a report from L’Equipe that Mbappé was in some discomfort towards the end of yesterday’s training session. The new may limit the German tactician a bit as Edinson Cavani is still out recovering from injury and Neymar Jr. is serving the last game of his suspension that dates back to last season when he criticized officials.

So, who will lead the attack for PSG tonight? Mauro Icardi is available but he has only just joined the team on loan from Inter Milan and working his way to full fitness and getting accumulated to playing in Tuchel’s system. Angel Di Maria had a breakout game against Real Madrid and should be one of the first names on Tuchel’s lineup sheet, but who the manager surrounds him with will be very interesting. Pablo Sarabia is an option but the Spaniard has struggled since joining PSG this summer. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is another option but he’s more suited for a substitute role instead of a starter in a match like this.

The midfield should be much more straightforward unless Tuchel decides to change from a 4-3-3 formation. Marquinhos will sit in the defensive midfield role with Marco Verratti and Idrissa Gueye flanking him on either side. This is the midfield that shut down Real Madrid’s stars so I expect them to have no issues with Galatasaray.

On defense, there’s really only one question: who will Tuchel pair with Thiago Silva? Juan Bernat will be in his usual left-back position and Thomas Meunier with be at right-back with Colin Dagba still recovering from injury. Abdou Diallo and Presnel Kimpembe are the two likely choices for Tuchel when looking for Silva’s center-back pairing. Kimpembe started against Real Madrid but Diallo has played in recent matches and taken advantage of his playing time. At the moment, you have to say that the former Borussia Dortmund defender is slightly more in form than Kimpembe.

Here is how I think Tuchel will lineup against Galatasaray tonight:

It’s very similar to what we’ve seen in recent matches from Tuchel. Against Bordeaux, we saw how necessary having a target-man leading the attack is. Icardi and Mbappé could split time at striker but ideally, this team will be good enough to secure the three points without having to use the young Frenchman. The season is young but PSG can ill afford to lose Mbappé for a significant amount of time.

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Tags Abdou Diallo Angel Di Maria Champions League Edinson Cavani Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting Galatasaray Idrissa Gueye Juan Bernat Kylian Mbappé Marco Verratti Marquinhos Mauro Icardi Neymar Pablo Sarabia Presnel Kimpembe Thomas Meunier Thomas Tuchel
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