PSG On The Verge of Champions League Knockout Stage

This Wednesday, Paris Saint-Germain host Club Brugge at the Parc des Princes for Matchday 4 of the UEFA Champions League group stage. In Group A, Les Parisiens have a commanding five-point lead over second-place Real Madrid and a win against Brugge would see them officially punch their ticket to the knockout stage.

As things stand after three games played, PSG is first with nine points, Real Madrid is second with four, Brugge is third with two, and Galatasaray S.K. is last with one point.

A win against Brugge would see PSG move to 12 points with games against Real Madrid and Galatasaray remaining. Even if PSG were to lose those two games, there is no way for Brugge or Galatasaray to make up the difference.

What’s in question is whether PSG will finish first or second. In recent seasons, supporters have learned that it doesn’t really matter where the capital club ends up in the group stage, they will inevitably draw one of the top teams in Europe. Take the 2017-18 season for example. PSG topped their group over FC Bayern Munich and then drew Real Madrid—the eventual champions—in the Round of 16. Bayern drew Beşiktaş and advanced over them 8-1 on aggregate while PSG lost 5-2 on aggregate.

This season’s Champions League is playing out how most expected. The top teams are leading their groups and it doesn’t appear as though there will be any upsets. It’s hard to predict who will finish second in their respective group and thus be available to play PSG in the Round of 16, but here are the teams who are currently in the runners-up spot:

Tottenham Hotspur
FC Shakhtar Donetsk
Juventus FC
Liverpool FC
Borussia Dortmund
FC Zenit
Chelsea FC

There’s really not an ideal choice in this bunch. Some would prefer to play FC Shakhtar Donetsk or FC Zenit but a trip to Ukraine or Russia in February sounds less than ideal.

Tottenham Hotspur were the runners up in last season’s tournament and while they’re having a down year, their manager (Mauricio Pochettino) and several players (Serge Aurier and Lucas Moura) will be very familiar with PSG from their time with the club.

Borussia Dortmund is second in the Bundesliga currently and Thomas Tuchel’s old club will surely be motivated to show him up in the Champions League.

Liverpool FC is arguably the best team in the world right now and Chelsea FC has a lot of young talent and they’re reminding me of that 2017 AS Monaco side that reached the semi-finals.

Juventus FC would be an interesting matchup because of the similarities between the teams. Both PSG and Juventus dominate their domestic leagues and are desperate for Champions League glory. Several players have suited up for both teams, too, including Blaise Matuidi, Adrien Rabiot, and Gianluigi Buffon. Matthijs de Ligt turned down PSG last summer for the Turin-based team, per The Guardian, and Cristiano Ronaldo always gives PSG fits. If you’re looking for storylines, Juventus is the team you want to see in the next round.

Who do you want PSG to play in the next round of the Champions League? Let us know in the comments below or find us on Twitter @PSGTalk.

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Tags Adrien Rabiot Blaise Matuidi Borussia Dortmund Champions League Chelsea Club Brugge Cristiano Ronaldo FC Zenit Saint Petersburg Galatasaray Gianluigi Buffon Juventus Liverpool Lucas Moura Matthijs de Ligt Mauricio Pochettino Real Madrid Serge Aurier Shakhtar Donetsk Thomas Tuchel Tottenham Hotspur