Monday, December 18, 2017

Prediction: Bayern Munich vs PSG

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 4/9

Bookmaker: Bet365

Top spot in Group B will be decided in Munich on Tuesday night, with PSG in the driving seat to finish as group winners. Bayern Munich must defeat the Ligue 1 giants by more than three goals to clinch the group, having lost 3-0 in Paris. Anything other than a heavy defeat will see PSG finish as group winners.

Bayern Munich

After both Bayern Munich and PSG were drawn alongside one another in Group B, it’s no surprise that the two European giants are the sides battling it out for top spot. Although The Bavarians can still mathematically finish top of the group, Jupp Heynckes side will know their chances are incredibly thin. Currently sat second in Group B, the defending German champions are three points behind PSG and after suffering a 3-0 loss in Paris at the end of September, Bayern will have to win by four or more goals if they want to steal pole position.

With their only Champions League defeat coming at the hands of their guests on Tuesday night, that loss also signaled the end of Carlo Ancelotti’s time in charge of Munich. However, under new coach Jupp Heynckes, the 2013 Champions League winners have resumed normal service. Aside from a shock 2-1 defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach two weeks ago, Bayern have won their other 10 games, scoring 26 times on the way. A 3-1 win over Hanover on the weekend have seen Heynckes side move six points clear of RB Leipzig at the top of the Bundesliga.

Team News

For Tuesday nights Group B decider, Bayern will be entering the contest with a fairly depleted squad. Bayern and German’s number one Manuel Neuer will once again be sidelined with an injury and joins a number of top stars who will be watching on from the stands. Frank Ribery, Arjen Robben and Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara are still unavailable.

On a positive note for the 26-time German champions, David Alaba, who has been struggling with an injury will look to be recalled to Bayern’s XI after playing the last nine minutes against Hanover. The return of Thomas Müller against Hannover was also a major boost, as has been the recent form of Kingsley Coman, who scored one and made another. Expect him to start against his former club.

PSG

Meanwhile, Les Parisiens will travel to Munich with their confidence undoubtedly dented. Unai Emery’s PSG side suffered their first loss of the season when they failed to overcome Ligue 1 strugglers Strasbourg. Their 2-1 defeat away to Strasbourg ended PSG’s seven-match winning streak and cut their lead at the top of Ligue 1 to a still commanding nine points. Although they have been in scintillating form both domestically and during their European campaign, Emery will want to improve on his sides form away from Parc des Princes. They may have only lost their first game of the season last weekend, but, PSG have failed to beat both Montpellier and Marseille when on the road.

Never the less, PSG have been in formidable form during their qualifying campaign. Emery’s side will be feeling confident about finishing Group B at the top of the table. A side that has scored 24 goals in their last five Champions League appearances, PSG have only conceded a single goal in reply. The defending Ligue 1 champions will also be glad to see that Kylian Mbappe has refound his scoring touch. Scoring in PSG’s 2-1 defeat last weekend, the French international scored his first league goal in over a month. Last summers world record signing Neymar has epitomised PSG’s Champions League success this year. The Brazilian forward has scored six goals and assisted a further three times in his last five European appearances.

Team News

For Unai Emery, his only injury concern is that of Italian midfielder Thiago Motta who has still not recovered from an injury. However, Ligue 1 top scorer Edinson Cavani and Argentinian international Javier Pastore are both expected to return to PSG’s starting XI after missing last weekends loss to Strasbourg. Former Schalke and Wolfsburg winger Juilian Draxler is also in contention to start.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Bayern must beat PSG by a four-goal margin to win Group B.
  • The Bavarians undefeated at the Allianz Arena since Heynckes returned as coach.
  • PSG have won all five of their previous Group B fixtures, scoring 24 goals on the way.
  • Neymar has scored 15 goals in 17 games in all competitions since he joined PSG from Barcelona.
  • Bayern Munich have won 89% of their home games this season, scoring an average of 3.1 goals per game.

 Conclusion

With both sides boasting an eye-catching record in front of goal this season, it has all the making of a game that will produce chances at both ends. Bayern Munich are a side that are unbeaten when playing at the Allianz this year and have managed to score 29 times in those nine home appearances. With Polish international striker Robert Lewandoski scoring 10 in his last nine home matches, The Bavarians will be looking to take the game to their opponents if they want somehow secure top spot in Group B.

As for Bayern’s guests on Tuesday night, PSG will be confident about carrying on their own fine goalscoring record. Unai Emery’s attacking trio of Neymar, Cavani and Mbappe have been in fine goalscoring form this season spearheading a side that are averaging nearly five goals a game in the Champions League.

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 4/9

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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