Can PSG make the Champions League breakthrough in 2022-23?

Whilst domestic success has been abundant for PSG, the club, the players, and the fans all crave Champions League glory, something that has so far evaded them.

Despite having one of the most revered attacking lineups in European football – the triumvirate of Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé, and Neymar Jr., 2021-22 was another disappointing Champions League campaign for PSG, ending with a round of 16 defeat at the hands of eventual champions Real Madrid.

It’s true that this was a tough draw for PSG, and once again, they had a great opportunity to progress after taking a 1-0 lead after the first leg. Once again, however, they capitulated in the second leg, as Karim Benzema netted a second-half hattrick to condemn PSG to a 3-2 aggregate defeat and another year of watching on as Real Madrid lifted the trophy for a record 14th time.

Whilst this defeat came in the round of 16, it is not the first time PSG has fallen down in the knockout stages, despite holding the advantage going into the second leg.

It all started in 2013-14 under Laurent Blanc. They took a 3-1 lead in their quarter-final match against Chelsea, only to lose the away leg in London 2-0 and exit on away goals.

This, however, was nothing compared to the 2016-17 season when they showed how devastating they can be at the very top level with a 4-0 home victory against Barcelona which put one foot squarely into the quarter-final. Sadly, they showed their other side in the away leg, suffering a humiliating 6-1 defeat at the Camp Nou with Barcelona scoring three goals in the final seven minutes.

A similar story followed in 2018-19 when once again, PSG was poised to reach the quarter-finals, beating Manchester United 2-0 at Old Trafford in the first leg before losing at home 3-1 and once again being eliminated on away goals.

PSG finally managed to put their Champions League hoodoo behind them in 2019-20, reaching their first-ever Champions League final where they faced Bayern Munich. Sadly, it was not to be as they lost a tightly fought contest 1-0, their Champions League hopes once again dashed.

The following two seasons also ended in disappointment. PSG lost to Manchester City in the semi-final in 2020-21 and then, despite the signing of Lionel Messi, fell at the round of 16 last season when they failed to turn a 1-0 first leg lead into a victory, going out 3-2 on aggregate after conceding three goals in 17 minutes.

Domestic success

Ever since their buyout by Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) in 2011, PSG has dominated domestic football in France.

Since the takeover, they have won the Ligue 1 title on eight occasions in the past eleven seasons, having previously only won the league title twice prior to the takeover.

As well as dominating the league, they have also won the Coupe de France six times since 2011, the Coupe de la Ligue six times, and the Trophee des Champions nine times.

They have completed the domestic quadruple on four occasions, the treble on four occasions, and also achieved the league “three-peat” twice – winning the league title three seasons in a row.

Despite their domestic success, however, the one thing the owners crave more than anything is Champions League success and they have assembled a team of superstars in order to bring this success to Paris.

2022-23 Champions League draw

The 2022-23 Champions League draw has thrown up a potentially tricky group for PSG, however, it is still one they would expect to win.

Drawn alongside PSG are Juventus, Benfica, and Maccabi Haifa. Betway Sports has PSG as the strong favorites to win the group at 1.33 with Juventus at 3.75. Benfica at priced at 15.00 with Maccabi Haifa the rank outsiders at 151.00 to progress to the knockout stages.

Not since 2004-05 have PSG failed to make it out of the group stage and whilst they have struggled to get past the round of 16, losing four times out of the last six years at that stage, it is expected they will once again proceed to the knockout stages.

Will 2022-23 be the year for PSG?

The 2022-23 season is going to be a very strange one across all European leagues, with the interruption of the World Cup coming in late November through to the end of December.

It is unclear how this break, with many of PSG’s superstars expected to be named in their respective country’s squads, will impact both domestic and European competition.

The group stages of the Champions League will finish up before the break and the round of 16 fixtures are scheduled for mid-February when most players should have been back playing domestic football for at least six weeks.

Of course, there is the worry of injury and exhaustion with the world’s leading players not expected to get much of a break from early August right through to the end of May.

PSG undoubtedly have a squad capable of coping with the demands at both domestic and European level, however, injuries could play a crucial role in determining who progresses through the knockout phases.

It is expected that PSG will be one of the teams in the mix once again, hoping to overcome the hoodoo that has meant that a final appearance in 2020 remains their best performance in the Champions League to date.

Tags Champions League Kylian Mbappé Lionel Messi Neymar
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