Paris Saint-Germain travels to the Stade de la Meinau on Saturday to take on RC Strasbourg in the final tune-up before next week’s UEFA Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund.
At his pre-match press conference, manager Thomas Tuchel provided an update on the squad and whether or not he will rest players to avoid injury ahead of such a pivotal match.
In terms of players who are unavailable, Tuchel confirmed that Colin Dagba, Ander Herrera, and Mitchel Bakker are all out for the match against Strasbourg. He also revealed that Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is progressing but it’s “too early to resume.” Idrissa Gueye and Thilo Kehrer will be evaluated today in training to see if they can be included in the squad.
Then there’s Thiago Silva, who injured his hamstring against Girondins de Bordeaux on February 23. It was initially thought that PSG’s captain would miss the return leg against Dortmund but Tuchel remains optimistic that he could be back in time.
“I am more optimistic because he [Silva] is not feeling any pain, so it is good timing for him. It was possible for him to play for 15 or 20 minutes, but at the same time, we can give intensity during training. It is the first training with the team today, so it would be too big of a risk. It is just training, so it will not be the more intense training because we played on Wednesday, and today, we will fly straight after training, so we will give more intensity tomorrow and on Sunday, but I am expecting him to be with us on Sunday and Monday, and then we will decide if he is fit or not.”
Then there’s the case of Neymar Jr. In January of 2019, he was injured in a match against Strasbourg that cost him to miss PSG’s Champions League tie against Manchester United and nearly the entire season.
When asked about whether it would be dangerous to start Neymar against Strasbourg, Tuchel showed no sign of being influenced by the past.
“No. It’s a football game and anything can happen. We can’t protect them. We have a past with Strasbourg [last season’s injury]. But I can’t think they can do weird things.”
PSG’s other winger, Angel Di Maira, could also feature in the match against Strasbourg if he can get through training. He was subbed off against Dijon FCO last weekend with a muscle injury but it’s not thought to be significant enough to keep him out for an extended period of time.
As for Kylian Mbappé, the Frenchman is in the best form he’s been in all season. He’s scored five goals in his last two appearances and I expect him to start against Strasbourg and play the full 90 minutes.
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