Kylian Mbappe, PSG, Reims
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Kylian Mbappé front and centre of PSG's recovery in Reims?

Publish on 24/09/2020 at 21:22 - S. WILLIS

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After opening his account for the season in Paris Saint-Germain's 3-0 win at OGC Nice on Sunday, Kylian Mbappé could find himself up front in a 4-4-2 as the champions look to lift themselves from eighth with a trip to Stade de Reims up next.

UEFA Champions League finalists one short month ago, PSG have endured a frustrating start to the 2020-21 Ligue 1 Uber Eats campaign.

 

Whilst Thomas Tuchel has been unable to call upon three of last season's first-choice back four - Thiago Silva and Thomas Meinier joining Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund respectively before Juan Bernat ruptured his cruciate ligament - few would have expected the champions to drop six points in their first two games.

 

Tactical shift?

 

The second of those - a 1-0 loss to Olympique de Marseille in le Classique - stung in particular, but PSG have rebounded in recent weeks, winning back-to-back games against FC Metz and OGC Nice. A third successive victory could take them third depending on other results, and Tuchel thinks Mbappé will be central to that aim - quite literally.

 

Watch: Mbappé returns in PSG's 3-0 win over Nice



"For me, his best position is close to Neymar," the German tactician explained. "If we don't have Ney, we have to find something else. In fact, I really like it when Kylian plays as a second attacker."

 

That now seems decidedly likely with Neymar struggling for match fitness and Mauro Icardi PSG's only recognised senior striker following the summer departure of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.

 

Angel Di Maria will be available should Tuchel stick with a three-man attack. The Argentine has a been given four-game suspension for his part in the commotion at the end of the Marseille game, but it doesn't kick in until next Tuesday's visit of Angers SCO.

 

Absentees

 

Layvin Kurzawa and Leandro Paredes were red carded at the time and are unavailable for Sunday's trip to the Stade Auguste-Delaune. They join Bernat and a Thilo Kehrer struggling with a groin injury on the sidelines.

 

PSG might not have it all their own way against Reims. The Champagne club have won their last two league meetings with the champions to the tune of five goals scored and just one conceded, the last of those - a 2-0 win last September - on the way to finishing sixth and qualifying for European competition for the first time since 1963.

 

Like PSG, David Guion's side have made a stuttering start, though. Reims begin the day in 19th, 11 places and five points worse off than their visitors, and their European adventure came to a premature end following a penalty shoot-out loss to Hungarian outfit Fehervar on Thursday.

 

Watch: Highlights of Reims' 2-1 loss to Metz



Short-lived adventure

 

Les Rouges et Blancs are winless in the league this season, although Guion saw shoots of promise in last Sunday's 2-1 loss at Metz, the three points only dropped in the 88th minute when Ibrahima Niane snatched his second goal of the game.

 

"We deserved to lead in the first half," said Tuchel's opposite number. "Metz opened the scoring but we showed character to come back and equalise. We know that we have a difficult run ahead of us but we have a young group with young players. They're learning. It's up to us to give them confidence."

 

Reims will be without centre-back Wout Faes, who was sent off in the 1-0 loss at Angers SCO in Round 3, while midfielder Moussa Doumbia has a shoulder injury.

 

Possible line-ups

 

Reims: Rajkovic; Foket, Maresic, Abdelhamid, Konan; Kutesa, Chavlerin, Munetsi, Cafaro; Dia, Touré

 

PSG: Navas; Florenzi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Bakker; Draxler, Herrera, Gueye, Verratti; Mbappé; Icardi