German side RB Leipzig will host French giant Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday, Nov. 3 at the Red Bull Arena in matchday four of the UEFA Champions League.
This is how things currently stand in Group A: PSG sits in first place with seven points and a goal differential of +3. Reigning English champion Manchester City sits one point behind the Parisians with six total points and a goal difference of +5. Belgian side Club Brugge occupies the third spot in the group, with a point total of four and a goal difference of -3. Finally, Leipzig sits in last place with zero points, and a goal difference of -5.
City host Brugge is the only other match in Group A, and will hope for a Parisian stumble in order to leapfrog Paris in the standings. Anything but a win for Mauricio Pochettino’s men means the team will fall to second in the group; however, a victory against Jesse Marsch’s Leipzig keeps them in first place, regardless of the City/Brugge match.
PSG enters the contest having just come off a come-from-behind victory against LOSC Lille in league play. The squad once again relied on their star players to get them out of a sticky predicament; goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma made excellent saves to keep the deficit at one, while Angel Di Maria and Neymar Jr. were the catalysts for the side’s two late winning goals.
While Lionel Messi did start the match against “Les Dogues,” he had to be substituted at half-time due to injury. The club then released a medical report which stated that the Argentine international was suffering with a discomfort in his left hamstring, along with left knee pain that resulted from a contusion. As a result, he would not be able to make the trip to Germany for Wednesday’s bout.
Pochettino commented on the injury in the pre-match press conference.
“We hope that the evolution of Messi’s injury will be good, and that he will recover quickly,” he said.
The injury is thought to have occurred on Sept. 2, when Argentina took on Venezuela in World Cup Qualifying. There, Venezuelan defender Adrian Martinez went studs first into Messi’s left knee, which bent his leg backwards in what can only be described as a near-career-ending injury.
While “la Pulga” finished the match and continued to play with his new club after the conclusion of the international break, it has now become clear that he never fully recovered from the leg breaking challenge.
Evidently, Messi will need more than a couple of days or weeks to fully recover from an injury which was never treated properly to begin with. This will come to the detriment of PSG, which will now need to find a way to thrive without their signing of the Summer.
On a positive note, Kylian Mbappe will be in the squad to take on Leipzig after being absent from the team’s bout against Lille due to an infection.
One of the stories of the season so far for the Parisians is their inability to stay healthy. Once again, PSG will be without their three main pillars, and will have to find a way through against a side they just barely beat a couple of weeks ago.
Paris will most likely line up with Donnarumma in net, and a four man backline that consists of Nuno Mendes, Presnel Kimpembe, Marquinhos and Achraf Hakimi. Idrissa Gana Gueye, Ander Herrera and Danilo Pereira will line up in the middle of the park, while Neymar, Mbappe and Di Maria make up the front trio.
Pochettino’s men are unbeaten in Europe so far. They’ll look to keep this streak going on Wednesday, and get one step closer to the knockout stages of the tournament.