This season’s UEFA Champions League Round of 16 has been dominated by the match between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).
Here are five elements that could affect Real Madrid’s return in the Champions League last-16 second leg on Wednesday night at the Santiago Bernabeu:
- PSG star Kylian Mbappe’s knock
Kylian Mbappe has clearly been PSG’s finest player this season, putting in numerous match-winning displays.
Unfortunately for the Parisiens, the Frenchman who scored the game-winning goal in the first leg is doubtful for Wednesday’s return leg.
- Real Madrid’s revitalized midfield
For the match at the Parc, Carlo Ancelotti selected the three-time UEFA Champions League-winning midfield trio of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, and Casemiro.
Los Blancos’ midfield trio failed to play out of tight situations due to Ancelotti’s conservative approach and PSG’s heavy pressing. Casemiro, their defensive midfielder, was easily outclassed and even outmuscled by the men in blue.
- Lionel Messi’s and Neymar’s poor performance
In the second leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 clash against Real Madrid, PSG strikers Neymar and Lionel Messi are expected to start.
The combination is capable of dismantling any defense anywhere on the globe. Unfortunately for the visitors, neither superstar has been able to consistently deliver game-winning performances this season.
- PSG’s poor form at home
This season, PSG has unquestionably been the greatest team in France’s premier flight. That does not, however, imply that they have dominated every opponent.
Despite having some of the best players in the world at their disposal, Mauricio Pochettino’s side has often looked ordinary.
- Real Madrid’s Champions League pedigree
Real Madrid may not have the same star-studded attack as PSG, but they do have one advantage over their French opponents.
Los Blancos have won the title 13 times in their career and know everything there is to know about stepping up in important games.