Can Neymar-less PSG upset Real Madrid?

Paris Saint-Germain have a mountain to climb when they take on Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League Round of 16 clash on Tuesday night at Parc des Princes.

Unai Emery’s side trail 3-1 from the first leg at the Bernabeu and will be without superstar forward Neymar Jr, who fractured his foot in their recent win over Marseille and is set for an extended period on the sidelines.

The Spanish gaffer rested several first team players for PSG’s weekend Ligue 1 clash against Troyes, with the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Marco Verratti given a break in order to keep them at 100% for the all important clash against Real. Paris eventually won 2-0 against ESTAC, with Angel di Maria and Christopher Nkunku netting for the visitors. The legendary George Weah’s son, Timothy, also made his debut for the Parisians as a second half substitute for Giovani lo Celso.

Real Madrid beat Getafe 3-1 over the weekend as they bounced back from their surprise loss away at Espanyol. Cristiano Ronaldo netted a double for Los Blancos, with Welsh superstar Gareth Bale also getting on the scoresheet for Zinedine Zidane’s side.

PSG Neymar

While the Bale Benzema Cristiano trio are available for selection together, Real are sweating on the fitness of midfielders Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, with both facing a race against time in order to be fit for the clash in the French capital.

Real’s previous competitive visit to Parc des Princes, back in the 2015/16 season, ended in a goalless stalemate, and a repeat of that result will do very nicely for the Spanish side as they seek to book their spot in the last eight. In Neymar’s absence, Real are strong favourites to progress, as a look at the odds on tells us.

The referee for this fixture is Felix Brych, who was also the man in charge of Real’s famous Champions League final win over Juventus, a fixture in which Los Blancos created history by successfully defending their European crown.

Results of Champions League fixtures featuring Felix Brych (2017/18 season)

Sporting 0-0 Steaua (UCL Qualifying)
Napoli 2-4 Man City (UCL Group Stage)
Sevilla 3-3 Liverpool (UCL Group Stage)
Juventus 2-2 Spurs (UCL Knockouts)

Brych has therefore presided over three of the most exciting games in this season’s Champions League, but curiously enough, the home team didn’t win in any of these clashes. Not a great stat if you’re a PSG supporter, that’s for sure.

PSG are unbeaten in their last five home games across all competitions, netting 19 times and letting in only four. Real’s recent away form has been shaky, with a draw against Levante and a loss to Espanyol in their last five on the road.

PSG v Real Madrid kicks off 6 March, 2018 at 19.45 UK

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