psg leipzig

MATCH PREVIEW: PSG VS RB LEIPZIG, PARISIANS AIM TO PULL AWAY IN GROUP A AS LEIPZIG FIGHT TO KEEP THEIR QUALIFYING HOPES ALIVE

and meet on matchday three of Group A in the Champions League with the race for qualification still impossible to call.

 

The Parisians have started the Ligue 1 campaign in tremendous fashion with nine wins from 10 games. That 2-0 loss to Rennes aside, there has been one area of some concern for Mauricio Pochettino. PSG have already conceded 12 goals in all competitions which has been overshadowed by their relentless attacking power.

 

Nevertheless, the defence has work to do in order to not concede cheaply as the season goes on. Up front, the trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe have not featured as regularly as the team would have wanted. But the Frenchman is still their top scorer and Messi scored his first goal for the club against Manchester City in the last match.

 

In contrast to their opponents, it has been a fairly subdued season so far for Leipzig under new manager Jesse Marsch. Last year’s Bundesliga runners-up currently sit 8th in the league with just three wins from eight matches. Their three losses is the joint-most in the top half of the table and the departures of key personnel certainly has not helped.

 

The acquisitions of young talent in Ilaix Moriba, Andre Silva and others is still taking time to show their true potential. Silva in particular has been disappointing, with just two goals and two assists so far. However, Die Roten Bullen know that the time to save their Champions League hopes is now. Leipzig have suffered two defeats on the trot, shipping eight goals. A failure to win in France will certainly leave them staring at the barrel of elimination.

 

TEAM NEWS

Pochettino confirmed that Neymar is set to miss out while Sergio Ramos remains sidelined as well. Angel Di Maria is suspended and Keylor Navas is also expected to play no part.

 

PROBABLE LINE-UP: Donnarumma; Hakimi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Mendes; Herrera, Gueye, Verratti; Messi, Mbappe, Draxler

 

Brian Brobbey, Marcel Halstenberg, and Dani Olmo are the absentees for the German side while the current form of Christopher Nkunku will be a big plus.

 

PROBABLE LINE-UP: Gulacsi; Orban, Simakan, Klostermann; Mukiele, Laimer, Kampl, Angelino; Forsberg, Nkunku; Silva

 

GAMECHANGERS

With Mbappe being in fine form in front of goal, another surprising source of goals has gone a bit under the radar. Herrera has already scored four times and assisted twice in all competitions, as he is on par to make this his most productive campaign since his early years in England. The midfielder has also been excelling at his primary job as evidenced by his game play so far.

 

93% passing accuracy, 50% tackles success rate and 80% dribbles success rate along with 14 big chances created. Herrera’s blistering start has forced Gini Wijnaldum to spend more time on the bench than the Dutchman would have liked but Leipzig will be well aware of his threat.

 

Herrera has been getting forward continuously in dangerous positions along with playing supreme passes to the strikers. Leipzig’s defensive side has not been the greatest which will benefit Herrera in linking up with Marco Verratti as well.

 

Coming to Leipzig, they too are getting a bulk of their goals from a player not many would expect. Eight goals and an assist in league and Europe for Nkunku has seen him emerge as the primary threat for opponents. Marsch has been using the Frenchman in a much more advanced role, giving him positional freedom to play off the main striker. What has also improved is Nkunku’s shooting accuracy (71% on target) and a 76% dribble success rate.

 

With Leipzig playing a four man midfield in behind Nkunku, he does not have to worry about tracking back too often either. That bodes well against PSG whose fullbacks play very high up the pitch and leave the centre-backs vulnerable. His precision from set-pieces will also come in handy if they are able to win fouls in dangerous areas of the pitch.

 

PREDICTIONS

PSG enter the match as heavy favourites given their track record so far in combination with Leipzig’s sketchy form. Even without one of their star players, the French outfit should have enough firepower to win as it will take something special for Marsch and co. to pull off an upset away from home. FootTheBall predicts a 2-0 win for PSG on the night.

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