Paris SG VS RB Leipzig Final – LIVE Reddit Soccer 04/11/2021
Lionel Messi suffered a knock to his knee during Paris Saint-Germain’s game against Lille last Friday and will miss his team’s Champions League group-stage match away to RB Leipzig on Wednesday night. Messi‘s compatriot Angel Di Maria is set to play in the Champions League for the first time this season following his three-match suspension carried over from last season. Many expect him to start up top with Kylian Mbappe and Neymar in Messi‘s absence. “We can play multiple systems.
As a fixed system, we can start with three up front. But we are looking for flexibility, not a fixed image,” PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino said in his press conference when asked if he will stick with a 4-3-3 formation. Of course, without Messi, PSG are a weakened version of themselves. However, since the Argentine moved to the French capital, his performances have not been those that fans have been expecting. There have been moments of brilliance, like his goal against Manchester City in the Champions League, and his Panenka penalty against RB Leipzig in their 3-2 win last time out in Europe was pure Messi magic.
Since that match, Messi failed to make his mark in league fixtures against Marseille and Lille. In the former the game ended 0-0 and Messi failed to truly threaten the Marseille defence. In the latter fixture he went off injured at half time with PSG trailing 1-0 before they eventually went on to win 2-1.There is a feeling that Pochettino‘s men freeze up more often than not when Messi is on the pitch. That was there for all to see against Lille as his teammates loosened up after his departure, with Di Maria and Neymar impressing in particular.
After three matchdays, RB Leipzig remain winless and pointless in the UEFA Champions League but are still very much in the mix to qualify for the knockout phase. A win over Paris Saint-Germain will certainly open up a world of possibilities for the German side and put pressure on second-placed Manchester City. Now, as PSG face RB Leipzig, there is some suspense to see how they will line up and how they will play without Messi on the pitch. Last time against the same opposition, his two goals were key in their win.
In the Champions League, PSG are top of their group with seven points from three games. If they are to win on Wednesday night, then it will surely come from the magic of Mbappe, Neymar and Di Maria, the trident of last year. The Parisian team’s league standing is also impressive as they lead Ligue 1 by eight points, with 31 in total. However, there is always an extra importance placed on the Champions League, hence why they signed Messi in the first place.
With the spectators of the Champions League seeing for themselves the difficulties Pochettino is having getting Messi, Mbappe, Neymar and Di Maria all working in the same system, perhaps his absence will make things a little clearer for the PSG coach – for one night at least. One main concern for PSG ahead of their Champions League fixture this evening is the fact that Messi has the most goals in the competition for the club this season (three), with only one scored between Mbappe, Neymar and Di Maria.
Club Brugge are currently the favourites to finish third based on the points acquired in three games. However, Leipzig will be targeting at least a third-place finish that would earn them a pathway into the Europa League if they lose further ground on the top two. The importance of this fixture against PSG cannot be downplayed. A lot is riding on this clash for both teams. Leipzig, in particular, will be fighting to gain relevance in this group. However, they can take some confidence from the reverse fixture, even if it finished with a 3-2 scoreline in favour of the Parisians.
At one stage, Jesse Marsch’s men looked destined to take three points from Paris, although a late salvo from Lionel Messi, the three points stayed with the home side. A win on Wednesday, however, might propel them to a position where they can still fight, although they will remain fourth irrespective of the result in the other game. Meanwhile, PSG will be buzzing after a dramatic victory over French champions LOSC Lille as they sit pretty at the top of the Ligue 1 table with 31 points, eight clear of second-placed Nice. Similarly, they occupy first place in their Champions League group, with a single point separating themselves and Manchester City.
Despite their early struggles this season under Mauricio Pochettino, PSG are coming to the fore with impressive performance. Their Champions League fate remains in their own hands, and they would surely want to keep the pressure on Manchester City before they meet in the next round. Much to Pochettino’s credit, PSG’s high profile stars are firing again, with Kylian Mbappe, Messi and now Angel Di Maria all picking up form in recent weeks. However, Pochettino will be wary of RB Leipzig, who will be supported by the home crowd.