Without the seeded status, PSG holds its breath this Monday (12:00 p.m.) during the draw for the knockout stages of the Champions League, which can reserve a reunion with Real Madrid, or a shock against Bayern. Munich.
At the Swiss headquarters of UEFA, in Nyon, the ceremony promises some cold sweats for the leaders of the last French club in the running. For the second year in a row, PSG are approaching this draw in the N.2 hat, after finishing second in the group in a rather crazy scenario, overtaken by Lisbon’s Benfica in the number of away goals scored. The 7th deciding criterion provided for by the C1 regulations. As a result, Christophe Galtier’s players will probably have to face a European cador next February.
In the game of probabilities, it is Bayern Munich that the Parisians have the (bad) chance of drawing, since the Bavarian club cannot face at this stage of the competition one of the three other German clubs – Dortmund, Leipzig and Frankfurt -, nor Inter Milan already crossed in hen, all in the second hat.
But it’s even more likely – more than a one in three chance – that it is Liverpool who inherit Munich. The Reds, other scarecrows of the N.2 hat, cannot indeed play against Manchester City, Chelsea or Tottenham, the other English clubs, nor against Naples, which they met during the group stage. Unhappy finalists last May, Jürgen Klopp’s men have enough to hold their breath with more than a one in two chance of inheriting the Bavarians or Real Madrid, their executioners of the 2021-2022 edition.
For Paris, avoiding Bayern is far from ensuring a quiet eighth: Kylian Mbappé and his family could face Manchester City of Pep Guardiola and Erling Haaland, Chelsea of Thiago Silva or even Real Madrid of Karim Benzema.
Porto, more affordable
“Anyway, if we want to go far, we will have to beat big teams”nuanced Galtier after the victory in Turin, claiming to wait “serenely” the draw for the round of 16. “The other teams will also say to themselves that we will have to play Paris”also noted the captain of the club, Marquinhos.
Nevertheless, the prospect of meeting a big club very early revives the painful memory of elimination against Real last season at this stage of the competition. After the victory of the first leg at the Parc des Princes (1-0), Paris, then coached by Mauricio Pochettino, had sunk in a few minutes during the return meeting, folding in front of a masterpiece by Benzema (3-1) . At the time, Paris had already finished second in their group, behind Manchester City…
This season, the objective of the club and its Qatari owners remains the same: to win the most prestigious European competition, so that an exit from the start of the final phase would be another major failure, and would perhaps push Mbappé to want to leave for good, a year after its extension. Too crumbly defensively, too dependent on the prowess of its Messi-Neymar-Mbappé trio in attack, is Paris ready for a two-legged game against a big European? To give themselves the opportunity to gain momentum in the final table, PSG would probably not refuse a duel against Porto, the most affordable team in the N.1 hat, or even against Tottenham. Rarely present at this stage in recent years, Naples can also be a little less scary… But the Italian club is at the top of Serie A without having lost a match and has only cracked once this season, in Liverpool .