PSG v Bayern: Thrilling encounter set to lead to goals
A repeat of last week's drama is on the cards when these European giants meet again on Tuesday night, writes James Eastham...
Key men return for hosts
For PSG, right-back Alessandro Florenzi and midfielder Marco Verratti are available again. The pair have returned to training after missing the first leg following positive covid-19 tests. Centre-back Marquinhos will almost certainly be ruled out by the injury that saw him limp off during the first leg. Thilo Kehrer or Danilo Pereira may deputise. Leandro Paredes returns from suspension and is expected to start.
For Bayern, Robert Lewandowski missed the first leg and will miss this return fixture as well. Serge Gnabry ought to return after sitting out the first leg following a positive covid-19 test. Defender Niklas Sule is expected to miss the game with a muscle strain.
Bayern favourites to win in Paris
The first leg was an enthralling affair and PSG's 3-2 win puts then in the driving seat. Yet Bayern will feel aggrieved at the result given the number of chances they created.
The market makes Bayern favourites to win on the night this week. The German visitors are 2.24 to secure at victory at Parc des Princes, with PSG 3.1 and The Draw 4.2.
There's some logic behind those prices. The Bundesliga champions would have earned at least a draw last Wednesday but for some profligate finishing, and superb goalkeeping from PSG's Keylor Navas.
The problem facing Bayern, however, is that wastefulness in front of goal may be an issue once again because top scorer Lewandowski is still sidelined.
Without the clinical finishing that the Poland international provides - and with Navas in such imperious form this season that he should be arguably regarded as the world's best goalkeeper right now - there's no reason to confidently predict that Bayern will convert a greater percentage of their chances this time around.
High goals on cards again
That said, Bayern will be focused rather than flailing after that first-leg defeat. Their wealth of European experience means they're likely to set about the task of overturning the 3-2 deficit calmly rather than clumsily or hastily.
But the relatively short odds on the visitors to win on the night hold little appeal without Lewandowski, and also because the hosts' advantage hands PSG the opportunity to sit back and pick off the visitors on the break.
The goals markets offer better value and Over 3.5 Goals is our selection.
The absence of Lewandowski didn't stop the game having five goals last Wednesday night. There were so many scoring chances at either end of the pitch that the game produced a high goals count despite the main man in attack for Bayern being ruled out.
The do-or-die nature of this tie means this game is also likely to be an open affair. Bayern - who need to score at least twice to stand any chance of going through - will want test PSG's mettle by putting the hosts' back four under pressure from the outset.
Paris can be deadly on break
Without the leadership of Marquinhos the PSG defence will be more vulnerable. And while Bayern chase the game, PSG will pose a massive threat on the break.
Neymar (pictured above), Angel Di Maria and Kylian Mbappe are capable of cutting open the Bayern defence if PSG are granted time and space on the ball in midfield.
We saw last week just how dangerous Paris can be when breaking at speed, and the desire of the PSG forwards to punish Bayern mistakes will be just as strong this time around.
Over 3.5 Goals is available at around evens. These odds look generous given that the game is likely to be eventually as open as the first leg. It is a bet that should also provide trading opportunities (for a guide to laying and trading, click here).
Last week PSG started brightly, scoring via Mbappe in the third minute; it would be no surprise to see Bayern take a similar approach this week and look to get the early goal that would bring the tie back to life for them.
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