Champions-elect of England versus champions of France, both one tie away from contesting the game to decide champions of Europe. The stakes couldn’t really be higher for Paris St Germain (PSG) and Manchester City in their Champions League semi-final, first leg game tonight.
Real Madrid last night were thrown a lifeline when Karim Benzema’s wonderful goal earned them a draw against an impressive Chelsea side in their first leg game in Madrid last night. However, Chelsea should have put the outcome of the tie to bed after they dominated the first 30 minuets, and Timo Werner missed another relative sitter – at this level – which may yet still come back to haunt Chelsea in the second leg.
City can’t afford to throw away such gilt-edged opportunities and they arrived in Paris yesterday with their strongest squad of 23 players.
PSG meanwhile will be able to call on their young French star Kylian Mbappe, who suffered a late injury scare against Metz at the weekend. However, left back Juan Bernat and goalkeeper Alexandre Letellier will miss the match.
KEY MATCH POINTS
PSG have never beaten Manchester City in 3 previous games in Europe (D2 L1)
City eliminated PSG in their only previous knockout tie meeting in European football, progressing 3-2 on aggregate in the 2015/16 Champions League quarter-final in 2015-16, with Kevin De Bruyne scoring the winner in the second leg
PSG are looking to reach their second consecutive Champions League final, following their defeat to Bayern Munich in last year’s showpiece. They would be only the ninth side to do so in back-to-back campaigns
City have won 9 of their 10 UEFA Champions League games this season (D1), two more than any of the other three semi-finalists. No English side has ever won 10+ games in the same campaign under the current format (since 2003-04)
City boss Pep Guardiola is set to take charge of his eighth Champions League semi-final tie, the joint-most of all managers alongside Joss Mourinho
Guardiola has only beaten three other managers more often during his career than PSG’s Mauricio Pochettino (P18 W10 D5 L3)