The stars are shining bright at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday night as Paris Saint Germain host Manchester City in the Uefa Champions League semi-finals.
Neymar and Kylian Mbappe go up against Kevin de Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus as two of the continent’s nouveau riche scrap for the chance to seal the title they – and their megabucks owners – so desperately crave.
The English Premier League leaders’ botched bid to join the aborted European Super League, in which the French champions weren’t involved, only adds fuel to the UCL fire.
PSG produced an almighty effort to reach this stage as they knocked out the Bayern Munich side that beat them in last season’s Champions League final.
Mbappe was at the double at the Allianz Arena as Mauricio Pochettino’s side came away with an eye-catching, 3-2 first leg success.
A first half goal in Paris from Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting set pulses racing but the hosts held their nerve to gain their revenge and progress on the away goals rule.
With Neymar and veteran Angel Di Maria joining whiz kid Mbappe at the sharp end, it’s a formidable task for Pep Guardiola’s side to deal with.
Juan Bernat looks to be the only definite absentee for the home side, who will run the rule over Marquinhos, Abdou Diallo and Rafinha ahead of the first leg.
Moise Kean, Julian Draxler and Mauro Icardi all provide handy alternatives should Pochettino feel the need to switch things up on home turf.
Guardiola’s men also came good against Bundesliga opposition in the quarter-finals, coming through unscathed with a pair of 2-1 victories against Borussia Dortmund.
Phil Foden’s 90th-minute winner was the perfect boost at the Etihad Stadium, after Marco Reus thought he’d snaffled a first leg draw.
The breathing space did the trick at Signal Iduna Park a week later despite an early strike back from English rookie Jude Bellingham.
A Riyad Mahrez penalty and another from Foden did the trick as City set up their Parisian date.
Guardiola has been able to juggle a near-fully fit squad in recent weeks, even managing his resources for last weekend’s Carabao Cup final success at Wembley.
Ederson, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus all put their feet up for that one and are fresh for the trip across the Channel, while De Bruyne and veteran Sergio Aguero look to be good to go.
Paris Saint Germain vs Manchester City Prediction
Prediction methodology explained: The expected win percentage is based off publicly available odds. For example, if a team’s odds are 2.30, the expected chance of winning is 43%. If the odds are 1.62 the expected chance of winning is 62% and so on. These are accurate at the time of writing but are subject to change. Where there is no value listed, the odds were not available at the time of writing.
Paris Saint Germain vs Manchester City: UCL starting XI prediction
Probable Paris Saint Germain Starting XI: Keylor Navas, Alessandro Florenzi, Marquinhos, Presnel Kimpembe, Layvin Kurzawa, Idrissa Gueye, Leandro Paredes, Marco Verratti, Angel Di Maria, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar.
Probable Manchester City Starting XI: Ederson, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Ruben Dias, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Kevin de Bruyne, Rodrigo, Ilkay Gundogan, Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus, Phil Foden.
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