We’re About to Learn A Lot About PSG and Thomas Tuchel

On Friday, Paris Saint-Germain faces a tough test away from home as they travel south to battle OGC Nice in their first Ligue 1 action since the end of the international break. The match kicks off what will be a very difficult stretch of games that will test the club’s depth and Thomas Tuchel’s decision-making.

Against Nice, Tuchel will be without Juan Bernat, Julian Draxler, Thilo Kehrer, Neymar Jr., and Idrissa Gueye as was revealed in the official squad list released on Thursday. This was buoyed by positive news in that Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappé returned to the squad after both suffered muscle injuries that kept them out for weeks. Injury news aside, this match will be difficult because so many of PSG’s players are just returning from international duty and now have to jump on a plane and fly to Nice.

After the match against Les Aiglons, PSG has to travel once again, this time to Belgium, to play Club Brugge in a vital UEFA Champions League match between the two top teams in Group A. We know that Neymar and Gueye will be missing as well as a few others. When you combine their international traveling, the trip to Nice, and this trip north to Belgium, the miles will surely have an impact on the squad and it’s something Tuchel railed against in his pre-match press conference on Thursday.

If you thought things would get easier for Les Parisiens from there, you would be wrong. The team will return from Belgium and will immediately have to start preparing to welcome their bitter rivals to the Parc des Princes. Olympique de Marseille is in eighth place in the table but they will be looking to capitalize on PSG’s jet lag and extensive injury list.

Three matches in 10 days—two of which are on the road—following an international break where you’re dealing with injuries and fatigue is no easy task. Tuchel will have to rotate his team the best he can in order to save players for the match against Brugge, which is arguably the most important of the trio.

We saw last season what can happen when PSG has a depleted squad and the players aren’t as focused as they should be. There was the 3-1 loss to Stade de Reims to close out the season, the 3-2 loss away to Montpellier HSC, and the Coupe de France final defeat to Stade Rennais after being up 2-0.

This week, PSG has the opportunity to show that things have changed drastically from last season. Players who usually aren’t regular starters, like Leandro Paredes, Abdou Diallo, and Ander Herrera, will be able to show their quality and prove that they can contribute in the absence of some of PSG’s biggest stars.

Mental toughness isn’t something often used to describe PSG but positive results against three tough opponents with injuries up and down the lineup would lead you to believe this team may have turned a corner. Tuchel will need to get his guys to buy into his tactics and mantra of focusing on one game at a time and not putting too much importance on any one opponent.

Players returning from injury this week, like Cavani and Mbappé, will also have to prove that they are fully recovered. It’s going to be a busy week for them and supporters want to see them able to run, cut, and jump without any pain. I’m not sure the fanbase will be able to take any more injury news.

The best-case scenario for PSG is three impressive wins, no injuries, and positive news towards the end of the week about those who have yet to return from injury. Worse case scenario…well, we won’t speak of that.

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Tags Abdou Diallo Ander Herrera Champions League Club Brugge Edinson Cavani Kylian Mbappé Leandro Paredes Ligue 1 Marseille Neymar OGC Nice Thomas Tuchel
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