Munich: Kylian Mbappe missed the first hour of Paris St Germain’s Champions League last-16 first leg against Bayern Munich, but the France forward’s presence at kickoff at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday could be a game changer.
PSG lost 1-0 at the Parc des Princes but were transformed after Mbappe came on as a second half substitute and since then he became the capital side’s all-time top scorer with 201 goals.
“The presence of Kylian will give us more depth,” said coach Christophe Galtier, who hopes his team will “win the ball in the Bayern half” more often.
PSG have scored 11 goals in their last three games, which they won, since the first leg.
Meanwhile, Bayern lost one and won two.
“Kylian is a player we’re lucky to have, with his personality and his character. We’re confident for tomorrow and we will play a great game tomorrow,” said midfielder Marco Verratti.
“There’s a lot of pressure because we’re playing for something big and we love it. We will play a game that will look nothing like the Paris game.
“In games like this we need everyone. But Kylian is always here in the big games.” PSG will be without Neymar, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season with an ankle problem that requires surgery, and his absence has been seen as a possible blessing in disguise to give the team more balance.
“I see there has been a debate around this. It’s a loss, clearly. Is the team more balanced? Yes. Is it better like this? I will say that having him is better to score goals,” said Galtier.
“Also, we played the first game with a very diminished squad. Bayern have a small advantage but nothing is done yet. We need to play a great game but we’re ready for it,” added Verratti.
PSG’s season will once again be judged on Wednesday’s result.
“Beyond the result I want us to be more aggressive than in the first leg. If we’re getting into this game with this mindset we can qualify tomorrow night,” said Galtier, who added that he had “a strategy” on the order of shooters in case the tie should be decided on penalties.
Galtier concluded by saying defenders Nordi Mukiele, Marquinhos and Achraf Hakimi should be fit after suffering minor injuries.