TWO teams who will have expectations of going far in the Champions League meet each other in the second week of the group stage of Europe’s elite domestic club competition.
Paris Saint-Germain have spent big this summer, with the arrivals of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe from Barcelona and Monaco sending shockwaves around the footballing world.
Bayern Munich are a club more established on the continental stage, having won five Europe’s top competition five times, whether it be in European Cup or Champions League format.
They were the last non-Spanish winners of the competition when they lifted the trophy in 2012/13.
The Group B game is on Wednesday September 27 at PSG’s Parc des Princes stadium, with kick-off at 7.45pm.
Both teams go into the match with three points after winning their first matches, with PSG winning 5-0 at Celtic and Bayern Munich defeating Anderlecht 3-0.
The game will be a chance for both sides to try and get an advantage and finish top of Group B and our friends at Football Whispers look at where it may be won and lost.
Key battle – Neymar vs Joshua Kimmich
All eyes will undoubtedly be on the world’s most expensive footballer for most of this season, and the game against Bayern Munich will be the same.
Neymar missed the weekend’s match with Montpellier through a toe injury as PSG lost their 100 per cent start to the season, but he is back in action for Wednesday’s game.
Midfielder-turned-right-back Joshua Kimmich will come up against him having replaced Philipp Lahm after the club legend’s retirement.
Kimmich doesn’t want to be compared to Lahm though, saying: “You can never replace a player like that like-for-like, but it’s also important for me to go my own way.
“I don’t want people to see me as a Philipp Lahm clone. I want to do things as Joshua Kimmich.”
And if he can keep Neymar quiet, he’ll underline why Germany boss Joachim Low is such a big fan, saying: “Joshua is one of the biggest talents I have seen over the past 10 years or so.”
Both sides have some of the best forwards around at the moment.
Barcelona’s MSN of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar was up there before the Brazilian’s move to Paris, but he’s now part of another fear-inspiring front three, alongside Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe.
Neymar and Cavani had a spat over who would take a penalty in the win over Lyon on September 17 and it’s turned into a major controversy.
Due to the Brazilian’s injury, the two haven’t played alongside each other since then, and it will be interesting to see how they play together.
The French side’s front three is in good form though, with 12 Ligue 1 and four Champions League goals between them so far this season.
Bayern’s front line is also tasty though, and expect most of the goal threat to come from Robert Lewandowski who has seven league goals so far this season – none of his team-mates have more than two.
The Pole also has one Champions League goal to his name as well in 2017/18.
Unai Emery is likely to set his Paris Saint-Germain side up in a 4-3-3.
Neymar will be to the left of the front three, with Mbappe to the right of Cavani.
Both of the wide forwards aren’t averse to playing through the middle of the pitch, which means his full-backs are hugely important, with either Yuri Berchiche or Layvin Kurzawa on the left and either Dani Alves or Thomas Meunier on the right being the players who provide natural width going forward.
Carlo Ancelotti is also expected to favour a 4-3-3, which he has used so far this season.
The Frenchman is under pressure though with his side sitting three points behind Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga, and knows he’ll be judged on his performances in Europe.
He may be tempted to switch his usual style to keep PSG quiet.
How the teams are likely to be set up
Both teams have a number of players returning to the squad after absences through injury or illness – Angel Di Maria and Neymar for PSG, and Arjen Robben and David Alaba for Bayern Munich.
Ancelotti’s side will be without Manuel Neuer and Juan Bernat though.
Areola; Alves, Silva, Marquinhos, Berchiche; Verratti, Motta, Rabiot; Mbappe, Cavani, Neymar
Bayern Munich (4-3-3)
Ulreich; Kimmich, Hummels, Boateng, Rafinha; Rudy, Tolisso, Vidal; Muller, Lewandowski, Robben
Key stats heading into the game
The two sides have met six times previously, with PSG winning four games and Bayern Munich two – there has never been a draw between them.
Their Champions League opening games saw them have a similar pass success rate, with PSG at 90.5 per cent and Bayern Munich at 90.6 per cent.
In terms of possession, PSG were at 64.6 per cent against Celtic, while Bayern had 69.3 percent.
But Bayern, despite scoring three goals to PSG’s five, had a considerably higher amount of shots – 29 to ten.
And with PSG top of their league and Bayern in third, it’s probably no surprise that the home side are favourites with the bookies to come out on top.