Kylian Mbappé hasn’t trained the past two days and several reports reveal that the Paris Saint-Germain superstar is bedridden with a severe sore throat and fever.
The illness is so bad, in fact, that the 21-year-old tested for the coronavirus on Tuesday. Thankfully, the test came back negative.
On PSG’s official website, Thomas Tuchel confirmed that Mbappé is sick and that a decision will be made on Wednesday morning just hours before kickoff of the most important match of the season.
After the 2-1 loss to Dortmund in the first leg, I published my “way too early lineup prediction.” That has obviously changed quite a bit due to the injury to Ander Herrera and Mauro Icardi’s dip in form.
RMC Sport released its likely starting lineup on Monday but that was before we knew the extent of Mbappé’s illness and even Thiago Silva is still a question mark having just returned to training from a hamstring injury.
“Thiago Silva has done all the training, so we’ll decide tomorrow whether he plays or not, but he’s with the squad,” Tuchel said.
Now that the big day is upon us, here is who I think Tuchel will go with against Dortmund and who fans will hope can lead PSG into the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Goalkeeper: Keylor Navas
Defenders: Layvin Kurzawa, Presnel Kimpembe, Thiago Silva, Thilo Kehrer
Midfielders: Marquinhos, Idrissa Gueye
Forwards: Angel Di Maria, Edinson Cavani, Neymar Jr., Pablo Sarabia
Unlike the first leg where Tuchel went with an odd 3-4-3 formation, the former Dortmunder manager will opt for a 4-4-2 formation instead.
Keylor Navas will start in goal and in front of him will be Presnel Kimpembe and Silva, who I believe will be fit enough to start. Layvin Kurzawa will start at left-back over Juan Bernat and Thilo Kehrer is really the only option available at right-back.
In the midfield, Marquinhos will be absolutely vital to PSG’s success. He will need to break up passes intended for Erling Haaland and Dortmund’s other potent attackers while also maintaining possession for the Parisians. Helping him with those tasks will be Idrissa Gueye, who had a bit of a nightmare game in the first leg against Dortmund.
If Mbappé isn’t able to start the match, I believe Angel Di Maria will take his position next to Edinson Cavani as the two lead attackers. Mbappé could play a role in the second half of the match but if he’s not 100 percent healthy, I doubt Tuchel will take the risk knowing that a fast start is absolutely crucial.
Neymar Jr. and Pablo Sarabia will play on opposite wings. Those players, in particular, will have a very difficult job against Dortmund. Not only will they be responsible for creating goal-scoring opportunities and taking free-kicks and corner-kicks, but they’ll also have to track back and help on defense for the full 90 minutes.
This may not be the starting lineup supporters dreamt of at the start of the season and the status of Mbappé is a serious concern. However, this is a lineup that should get the job done.
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