Matchday is finally here and Paris Saint-Germain supporters are no doubt starting to feel anxious with a trip to the UEFA Champions League final just one game away. All that stands in the way is RB Leipzig.
PSG narrowly escaped Atalanta in the quarter-finals with a stoppage-time goal from Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting but they can ill-afford to leave it late again against one of the Bundesliga’s most exciting teams full of talented young players.
Working in manager Thomas Tuchel’s favor is the improved health of Kylian Mbappé who could only play 30 minutes against Atalanta. Marco Verratti didn’t play at all due to a muscle injury but he has returned to training and could feature against Leipzig. Thiago Silva was also in training after an injury scare and Angel Di Maria returns from suspension.
Unfortunately, Tuchel won’t have a full squad available and one of the most important players will be watching from the sideline. Goalkeeper Keylor Navas suffered a thigh injury against Atalanta that will keep him out of the starting lineup.
With all of those updates in mind, here is who I believe Tuchel will start against Leipzig:
Goalkeeper: Sergio Rico
Defense: Juan Bernat, Presnel Kimpembe, Thiago Silva, Thilo Kehrer
Midfielder: Marquinhos, Marco Verratti, Leandro Paredes
Forwards: Kylian Mbappé, Neymar Jr., Angel Di Maria
In Verratti and Paredes, there’s plenty of creativity in the midfield and Marquinhos should be able to slow down the Timo Werner-less Leipzig attack. Ahead of them, the three-headed monster of Mbappé, Neymar, and Di Maria will give Leipzig’s defense fits.
Overall, the squad is about as good as it gets at this point in the season and with Icardi, Pablo Sarabia, and yes, Choupo-Moting on the bench, Tuchel has options should PSG need a goal late.
Ultimately, PSG will win this game if the superstar duo of Mbappé and Neymar can create goal-scoring opportunities and more importantly, finish their chances. Marquinhos, Silva, and Kimpembe will be tasked with protecting Rico so something like this doesn’t happen.
My prediction? I’ll go with 2-1 to PSG with goals from Mbappé and Neymar.
Want more PSG? Visit the PSG Talk Podcast Network page and subscribe to PSG Talking, The 1970, and 24th & Parc.