In the 71st minute against Stade de Reims last Wednesday, Marquinhos was subbed off with what appeared like a significant hamstring injury.
Paris Saint-Germain went on to win the Coupe de la Ligue semi-final match, thanks partly to a goal from Marquinhos, but with a UEFA Champions League tie coming up against Borussia Dortmund on February 18, supporters were more concerned about the health of one of the club’s most important players.
Speaking to the media after the final whistle, Thomas Tuchel confirmed that it was a hamstring issue that forced him to take Marquinhos off but that it wasn’t anything to worry about.
“He [Marquinhos] felt something in the hamstrings, that’s why he preferred to go out. It is not too serious but it is really a shame. We absolutely need Marquinhos, he is a key player for us.”
A day after those comments, we learned the true extent of Marquinhos’ injury. According to PSG’s official website, Marquinhos “suffered a hamstring injury on Wednesday at the Stade Auguste Delaune, and examinations confirmed a lesion of the biceps femoris.” The report revealed that the Brazilian will be unavailable for three weeks.
This is catastrophic news. If you count today, Marquinhos is expected to return on February 13. That leaves only five days, and one match against Amiens SC, for the 25-year-old to regain match fitness for the trip to Germany. I’m not saying it’s impossible because Marquinhos is a special talent, but it’s going to be extremely difficult.
What makes this injury so devastating is PSG’s reliance on Marquinhos’ versatility. Tuchel can play him in his natural role as a center-back, or, as a defensive midfielder where he has been excellent. In the 4-4-2 formation, his place in the midfield is a necessity due to his defensive prowess in an offense-heavy team. Without him, Tuchel will likely have no choice but to go with a 4-3-3 and try to escape Signal Iduna Park with as little damage as possible.
I previously wrote a piece about how PSG should set up against Dortmund. In the first leg, I predicted a 4-3-3 formation with Marquinhos as the defensive midfielder. If he’s unable to go, I think PSG could cope with his absence with either Ander Herrera—who is being saved for the Champions League according to one source—or 17-year-old Tanguy Kouassi. Leandro Paredes has been in decent form lately and could get a surprise start as well.
Unfortunately, major injury news leading up to an important Champions League match is nothing new for PSG. The past two seasons, Neymar Jr. has missed the knockout phase leading some to call him one of the worst transfers of the decade.
It wouldn't be PSG without a key player rushing against the clock for an injury. It's our lot in life, just shocked it took this long. https://t.co/mJuSBmzyoq
— Marc Damon (@MarcDamon1) January 23, 2020
For now, let’s just hope for a speedy recovery so that PSG can finally do battle in the Champions League with a full squad.
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