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Opposition profile: Paris Saint-Germain

Paris Saint-Germain reach semifinals with last-gasp winner against Atalanta | Kylian Mbappé and Neymar form a fearsome attacking duo | Ángel Di Maria returns from suspension | Former RBL coach among PSG manager Thomas Tuchel’s staff

Our Missão Final is still alive! Die Roten Bullen have reached the final four of the UEFA Champions League following our brilliant quarterfinal victory over Atlético Madrid.

Serial Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain await us in the semifinal - we examine Thomas Tuchel’s team in more depth in our opposition profile.

RB Leipzig 2-1 Atlético Madrid: Highlights

Season so far:

Our opponents Paris Saint-Germain are the reigning Ligue 1 champions, and also hold the French cup and league cup titles. As they so often do, PSG dominated in Ligue 1 this season, standing twelve points clear at the top when Covid-19 forced an abrupt end with eleven fixtures remaining. This season’s title is PSG’s third in a row, and their seventh in the last eight years.

PSG have been just as convincing on the European stage. In the Champions League group stage they won five out of six matches, only dropping points with a 2-2 draw against Real Madrid in Spain. In the round of 16 they found themselves 2-1 down following a first-leg defeat to Borussia Dortmund, but kept battling and managed to progress by winning the return leg 2-0 in Paris.

After an extended break without football, PSG returned to Champions League action when they met Atalanta in the Champions League quarterfinals in Lisbon. The Italian side led 1-0 until the last few minutes of the match, before Thomas Tuchel’s men scored two goals inside three minutes to finally secure a place in the semifinals.

 

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Markus Krösche on PSG: "PSG have great individual quality within their team, no doubt about it. They have a lot of quick players who are strong in one-on-one situations, and they will always try and take you on.”

Key players:

World Cup winner Kylian Mbappé is the top scorer for the French champions this season. The 21-year-old has appeared in 35 matches this season, notching an incredible 30 goals and 19 assists. His striking partner Neymar has shone during his 25 appearances with 19 goals and 11 assists. Both players will likely start the match, meaning that another inspired performance will be needed from Dayot Upamecano and the rest of the RBL backline.

Ángel Di Maria is available for selection again after completing his suspension. Deep-lying playmaker Marco Verratti remains a doubt; the Italian arrived in Lisbon with an injury, but has since returned to training. An alternative would be to play Marquinhos in defensive midfield, as was seen during the quarterfinal against Atalanta.

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PSG paid Barcelona a world-record €222 million transfer fee for Neymar in 2017. In Paris he has made 83 appearances, scoring 70 goals and registering 40 assists.
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The 21-year-old Frenchman Kylian Mbappé is the world’s most valuable player with an estimated value of around €180 million.

Club captain Thiago Silva is the defensive lynchpin for PSG. The long-serving commander could be playing his final match for the French side; his contract will expire at the end of the season after eight years in Paris. German international Thilo Kehrer will play at rightback in his first Champions League semifinal. His international teammate Julian Draxler will most likely start the game on the bench.

The PSG goal will be guarded by Sergio Rico, the Spaniard having replaced the injured Keylor Navas during the game against Atalanta. According to Thomas Tuchel’s latest statement, Navas will not be fit in time to feature.

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Marco Verratti (right) is a doubt for the semifinal. His place will most likely be filled by Marquinhos (centre).
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The 35-year-old Brazilian Thiago Silva has played a total of 313 matches for PSG since signing in 2012, scoring 17 goals. His contract expires at the end of the season.

The manager:

Some familiar faces will be sitting in the PSG dugout, none more recognizable than Thomas Tuchel. The former head coach of Mainz 05 and Borussia Dortmund has managed PSG since 2018. Alongside him sits former RBL assistant manager Zsolt Löw, who worked for die Roten Bullen between 2015 and 2018.

Since arriving in Paris, Tuchel has led the team to back-to-back league titles, whilst also lifting the French cup this season. He also won the 2017 DFB-Pokal whilst with Borussia Dortmund.

Our head coach Julian Nagelsmann was once a 20-year-old centreback playing for the FC Augsburg reserves, where he was actually managed by Thomas Tuchel. After Nagelsmann was forced to end his career early, he joined Tuchel’s backroom staff as an analyst.

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Julian Nagelsmann on PSG: "Thomas Tuchel really knows his football. They attack in a different way to Atlético. They have unbelievable quality and some outstanding individual footballers.”

Route to the UEFA Champions League semifinals:

Group stage (Group A):

  • Paris Saint-Germain 3-0 Real Madrid
  • Galatasaray 0-1 Paris Saint-Germain
  • Club Brugge 0-5 Paris Saint-Germain
  • Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 Club Brugge
  • Real Madrid 2-2 Paris Saint-Germain
  • Paris Saint-Germain 5-0 Galatasaray

Round of 16:

  • Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Paris Saint-Germain
  • Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 Borussia Dortmund

Quarterfinal:

  • Atalanta 1-2 Paris Saint-Germain

Honours:

•    9 x Ligue 1
•    13 x French Cup
•    9 x French League Cup
•    9 x French Supercup
•    1 x UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup

Club facts:

  • Club name:
    Paris Saint-Germain Football Club
     
  • Founded on:
    12th August 1970
     
  • Club colours:
    blue, red, white
     
  • Most appearances:
    Sylvain Armand (381 matches)
     
  • Record goalscorer:
    Edinson Cavani (200 goals in 301 matches)

We are Leipzig!

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