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PSG are in the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 1994/95, while Leipzig weren’t even a club back then having been founded just 11 years ago. The French outfit showed heart and desire to complete their comeback over Atalanta, scoring twice at the death, while Leipzig overcame a typically cautious Atletico with a late strike of their own.
This year three of four semi-finalists have never won this competition before and the only side to lift the trophy for the first time in the last 20 years were Chelsea, who had threatened plenty of times in the years.
PSG have been regulars in the knockouts in recent times and possess the superstars to go a step further, whereas Leipzig seem to lack that knowhow and are in less familiar territory than their French counterparts.
In fact, this is the first year the German outfit have reached the knockouts at all, even if it didn’t show when taking on heavyweights Atletico.
However, 33-year-old manager Julian Nagelsmann admitted in his post-match interview that the sale of star forward Timo Werner didn’t affect them against the Spanish outfit, whose deep defensive line left little room for pace in behind.
Atletico had little inspiration on the pitch going forwards until the introduction of Joao Felix from the bench, with the Portuguese winning and taking the penalty from which they scored, but PSG will take a more proactive approach and we’d expect Werner’s absence to be felt more here.
Defensive minded Marquinhos and former Stoke striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting got the goals for PSG on Wednesday, though Neymar left his shooting boots at home and certainly should have netted at least once, while Mbappe returned from injury via the bench and changed the dynamic of the game.
The latter showed no signs of rustiness and should start alongside Neymar and Mauro Icardi in this clash, while there’s further good news for Thomas Tuchel with Angel Di Maria set to return from suspension.
The Parisians are still without midfield metronome Marco Verratti, who is more likely to make the final should they get there, though a midfield axis of Marquinhos and Idrissa Gueye provides some steel that they have lacked in previous campaigns.
However, Tuchel will hope experienced three-time Champions league winner Keylor Navas recovers in time, with Sergio Rico more likely to deputise between the sticks.
Nagelsmann hasn’t got too many concerns after Yussuf Poulsen overcame injury to lead the line against Atletico, but centre-back Ibrahima Konate is still out following hip surgery, while summer signings Hwang Hee-chan and Benjamin Henrichs are ineligible.
PSG To Beat Leipzig
These two coaches are certainly familiar with one another. Tuchel gave Nagelsmann his break as a scout with Augsburg 12 years ago, though when they managed Dortmund and Hoffenheim respectively, the former came off the better with two wins from four unbeaten matches.
Leipzig may only have lost once since early February (W9-D7-L1), but when locking horns with the two best sides they faced over this period other than Atletico, they drew with Bayern in the first game of this spell and were defeated 2-0 by Borussia Dortmund in June.
Meanwhile, PSG are W24-D3-L1 across all competitions since December, including victories over Lyon, Dortmund and Atalanta within their last six fixtures since March.
That’s a mightily impressive run for the French favourites which has been mainly down to the abundance of quality they have at the sharp end, and although their German opponents have done phenomenally well to reach this stage, we’d expect the road to end here for them.