The sense of inevitability about PSG’s Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich has meant that the prevailing feeling ahead of the trip to Brest tonight has been dejection, rather than anger.
Nevertheless, as Christophe Galtier pointed out in his pre-mach press conference, Les Parisiens can still make history this season, as they look to win a record-breaking eleventh league title – even if that will have been the minimum target set out for the former Lille manager at the start of the season.
In any case, the league leaders attack the first match of the end of their season with a severely depleted squad. Neymar and Presnel Kimpembe are now long-term absentees. Marquinhos, who was rushed back into action to play in Bavaria, is out for the next ten days, while Nordi Mukiele, his replacement in Munich for all of ten minutes, is also out.
With Achraf Hakimi also sidelined, Galtier could line up with the teenage Warren Zaïre-Emery in an unfamiliar wing-back position. El Chadaille Bitshiabu, also 17, is set to start in the three-man defence. The rest of the starting eleven is expected to mirror the one that lost to Bayern Munich, as Galtier sticks to the 5-3-2, fronted by Kylian Mbappé and Lionel Messi. It should be enough to see out the league campaign – whether it will answer any of the questions the club will be faced with this summer remains to be seen.
Brest, meanwhile, returned to winning ways with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Strasbourg last week, putting an end to a three-game losing streak. Eric Roy’s men will be sensing an opportunity to pounce on a subdued PSG team and secure a vital three points in their quest to avoid relegation.
PSG likely XI v Brest:
Gianluigi Donnarumma – Danilo Pereira, Sergio Ramos, El Chadaille Bitshiabu – Warren Zaïre-Emery, Vitinha, Fabián Ruiz, Marco Verratti, Juan Bernat – Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé. (via L’Éq)
GFFN | Raphaël Jucobin