It has been a rough 2023 for Paris Saint-Germain, who have already lost four times since the turn of the year and head into this UEFA Champions League (UCL) clash on the back of consecutive defeats for the first time in 11 months. PSG boss Christophe Galtier conceded that he is “worried” about this first leg with his squad ravaged by injuries to the likes of Verratti, Messi and Mbappé, yet the former two are expected to return to the squad.
As far as UCL matchups go, there are not many teams better acquainted than PSG and Bavarian giants Bayern Munich. This will be the sixth UCL meeting across the last six years (PSG: W2, L3) and if the Parisians’ competition form is anything to go by, this will be entertaining! Galtier’s men are the only remaining side in the knockouts yet to keep a clean sheet, but to their credit they have scored in all but one of their last 32 UCL home games.
Coincidentally, the sole home game in which PSG fired a blank consequently came against Bayern (0-1) back in April 2021. Visiting manager Julian Nagelsmann stated in the build-up that his side “won’t get an award for our perfect group campaign”, but a victory here would perhaps get Bavarian blood pumping this Valentine’s Day as the last time Bayern won their first seven games of a campaign, they lifted the coveted trophy back in 2019/20!
Things have begun improving on the domestic front for Bayern too, with the record-holding ten-time consecutive Bundesliga champions following up three draws with three victories in 2023. Continuing the resurgence in the city of love wouldn’t be too surprising as Bayern haven’t lost a UCL round of 16 away game in over a decade (W6, D4), whilst the last three UCL H2Hs since August 2020 were all won by the visiting team of the day!
Players to watch: PSG star Neymar has historically enjoyed playing against this opposition, contributing to as many goals (G4, A3) as he has appearances against them. Facing him will be former PSG man Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, who scored in both legs of a knockout clash with his former club back in 2020/21.
Hot stat: PSG have progressed from five of their six knockout ties against German opponents.
|Paris Saint-Germain (36.6%)||Draw (17.0)||Bayern Munich (46.4%)|
|Paris Saint-Germain 2:3 Bayern Munich|
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