05 Mar Paris St Germain v Real Madrid – Talking Points
Paris St Germain and Real Madrid do battle at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday night for a place in the Champions League quarter-finals.
Defending champions Madrid, who are looking to win the competition for a fourth time in five years, hold a 3-1 lead from the first leg at the Bernabeu.
Here, Press Association Sport looks at some of the main talking points ahead of the match.
With Luka Modric and Toni Kroos having returned to training on Sunday after injuries and Marcelo also fit and playing again, Madrid could be at full strength for the match. PSG boss Unai Emery is not so fortunate however, with star man Neymar set to miss the rest of the season with a broken metatarsal and question marks over the fitness of Kylian Mbappe, who sat out Saturday’s win over Troyes after suffering an ankle injury against Marseille in midweek. PSG can ill afford to be without two of their three main forwards if they are to oust the holders.
No Neymar, no hope?
The loss of the most expensive player in history is undoubtedly a huge blow to PSG’s hopes of reaching the last eight, but the French giants are by no means a one-man team. Mbappe, if available, has the weapons to terrorise any defence while the prolific Edinson Cavani has again proved his scoring prowess this season with 32 goals already. Former Madrid winger Angel Di Maria, Julian Draxler and Javier Pastore offer further attacking options for Emery so the absence of Neymar may not be as keenly felt as first feared.
Bale was only a substitute for the first leg amid a time when his form, fitness and future at the Bernabeu were being questioned in the Spanish media. However, the Wales ace has since started four of Madrid’s five games, scoring twice and earning plaudits with his all-round contributions. An injury-free and in-form Bale is a huge asset to any team and he will be hoping to show his worth to the Spanish giants for the remainder of the season, starting with PSG on Tuesday.
Ronaldo’s indifferent start to the LaLiga season is now a distant memory with Madrid’s talisman back to his record-breaking best. The Portugal star took his tally to 14 goals in his last eight matches with his brace against Getafe at the weekend, when he also passed 300 LaLiga goals for the club in just 286 appearances. If that was not bad enough news for PSG, Ronaldo revels in these big European nights. He has scored in all seven of Madrid’s Champions League matches this season and is the only player to have netted more than 100 goals in the competition.
So what chance do PSG have?
Well, PSG know from bitter experience just how dramatically things can turn around in Europe. At the same stage of last season’s competition they were on the receiving end of one of the most remarkable comebacks in history as a Neymar-inspired Barcelona overturned a 4-0 first-leg deficit with a stunning 6-1 win at the Nou Camp. PSG also have plenty of other reasons to be optimistic, not least their home form this term. They have scored 76 goals in 19 home games at an average of four goals per match, while their three group-stage fixtures at the Parc des Princes saw them thrash Bayern Munich 3-0, Anderlecht 5-0 and Celtic 7-1. Madrid, who have only kept two clean sheet in their last 15 matches, beware.