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Monday, May 23, 2022

Preview: Paris Saint-Germain vs. Real Madrid – prediction, team news, lineups

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Sports Mole previews Tuesday’s Champions League clash between Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid will lock horns in the Champions League on Tuesday night, with both teams looking to secure an advantage in the first leg of their last-16 tie.

The home side finished second in Group A to secure their spot in the first knockout round, while 13-time winners Real Madrid claimed first position in Group D to progress to the round of 16.

Match preview

© Reuters

PSG signed Lionel Messi last summer with the view to the Argentine helping them finally win the Champions League, and it would be fair to say that the French giants would be full of confidence heading into the quarter-finals if they manage to progress past Real Madrid in the round of 16.

The capital outfit were not at their best in the group stage of this season’s competition, picking up 11 points from six matches, but the total was enough to see them finish second in Group A behind Manchester City.

Mauricio Pochettino‘s side will enter Tuesday’s contest off the back of a 1-0 victory over Rennes in Ligue 1 on Friday, which has left them 16 points clear at the top of the table, so they will be able to put a lot of focus on their Champions League challenge, with the first leg of their last-16 tie taking place on Tuesday night ahead of the return fixture at Bernabeu on March 9.

PSG, who were beaten by Real Madrid at this stage of the 2017-18 competition, lost to Man City in the semi-finals of last season’s tournament, while they also reached the final in 2019-20.

The French giants are desperate to finally lift the European Cup, which has been their aim since becoming a European superpower, and it will be fascinating to see their approach to the first leg, as the fact that the reverse match is at Bernabeu does hand Real Madrid a slight advantage.

Real Madrid's Eden Hazard celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on January 20, 2022© Reuters

Real Madrid, who are the most successful team in the history of the European Cup with 13 trophies, also reached the semi-finals of last season’s competition, losing 3-1 on aggregate to winners Chelsea.

Los Blancos won the competition on four occasions between 2013 and 2018, but they have lost in the round of 16 in two of their last three Champions League campaigns and will certainly be wary of a PSG side that should have Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Messi all available for the contest.

Carlo Ancelotti‘s side comfortably topped Group D with 15 points to advance to the knockout round of the competition, and they are chasing a double this season, currently sitting top of La Liga, four points ahead of second-placed Sevilla following Saturday’s goalless draw with Villarreal.

Real Madrid have won six, drawn three and lost seven of their previous 16 away matches against Ligue 1 clubs, while they have won four, drawn three and lost three of their 10 matches against PSG in all competitions, with their last two meetings coming in the group stage of the 2019-20 tournament.

The La Liga giants have lost two of their last three two-legged knockout ties with PSG, while their recent performances have been below what they produced in the first half of the campaign, having won just one of their last four games in all competitions, which was an unconvincing 1-0 success at home to Granada.

Paris Saint-Germain Champions League form:

Paris Saint-Germain form (all competitions):

Real Madrid Champions League form:

Real Madrid form (all competitions):

Team News

 Real Madrid's Karim Benzema during the warm up before the match, January 23, 2022© Reuters

PSG have Neymar back in training following a serious ankle injury, and the Brazilian is expected to be in the squad for this match, but he is unlikely to be available to start.

Sergio Ramos and Ander Herrera could both miss out due to calf and thigh injuries respectively, but Idrissa Gueye should be available after helping Senegal win the Africa Cup of Nations.

Head coach Pochettino will make changes from the side that started against Rennes on Friday, with Angel Di Maria, Georginio Wijnaldum, Nuno Mendes and Gianluigi Donnarumma all expected to start, while Messi and Mbappe will both be present in the final third of the field.

As for Real Madrid, Ferland Mendy has been declared fit following a hamstring problem, but the Spanish side are still sweating on the fitness of Karim Benzema.

The France international has missed Real Madrid’s last two matches due to a hamstring injury of his own, but he will travel to Paris and is believed to be winning his battle to be available from the start.

Ancelotti will select his first-choice midfield three, with Toni Kroos and Luka Modric lining up alongside Casemiro, while Marco Asensio could get the nod in the final third of the field.

Rodrygo, Eden Hazard and Gareth Bale are also options to feature on the right, but Vinicius Junior, who is enjoying an excellent season, is a certain starter for Los Blancos.

Paris Saint-Germain possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Hakimi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Mendes; Verratti, Gueye, Wijnaldum; Messi, Mbappe, Di Maria

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Asensio, Benzema, Vinicius

SM words green background

We say: Paris Saint-Germain 1-1 Real Madrid

This has all of the makings of a wonderful game of football, and it is set to be a fascinating first leg in Paris. Real Madrid will be desperate for Benzema to prove his fitness, and the Frenchman is expected to be available, so we are backing the visitors to claim a 1-1 draw ahead of the second leg in the Spanish capital.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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