Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, PSG

Paris Saint-Germain vs. Bayern Munich: Key battles

Paris Saint-Germain vs. Bayern Munich: Key battles

Publish on 01/25 at 10:44 - S. TELFORD


Kylian Mbappé and Lionel Messi are just two of the key players Paris Saint-Germain hope can fire them past Bayern Munich in their UEFA Champions League last 16 meeting.

PSG and Bayern will face off at the Parc des Princes on 14 February before their second leg at the Allianz Arena on 8 March.


It is a rematch of the 2020 final, which Bayern edged 1-0 thanks to a headed winner from PSG academy graduate Kingsley Coman.


Coman remains a game-changing force, but his France international teammates Mbappé and Dayot Upamecano - who have an individual head-to-head of their own - figure to be more important this time around. picks out four key battles…


Kylian Mbappé vs. Dayot Upamecano


Mbappé and Upamecano are France international teammates, and both were starters as les Bleus surrendered their world title to Messi's Argentina in Qatar last month.


Mbappé lines up on the left for his country, but leads the line at cub level, which will put him directly up against Upamecano, who is Bayern's most used centre-back.


It's a battle Mbappé is favourite to win. He has 25 goals in 24 games in all competitions this season - seven from six in the Champions League - and has three strikes and an assist in his five career meeting with Bayern.

Lionel Messi vs. Alphonso Davies


Messi will be angling for a degree of personal revenge with this particular match-up, having been part of the Barcelona side that was hammered 8-2 by Bayern on the way to their 2020 success.


Davies was on fire that day, but few, if any, have a positive net record against Messi, and the Argentine has rarely looked better.


Messi's 13 goals and 14 assists have been contributed at a rate of one every 68 minutes this season, and he is on a high after that World Cup win. Davies has been warned.

Marco Verratti vs. Joshua Kimmich


The tie could be won and lost in midfield, however, and Marco Verratti and Joshua Kimmich are the teams' respective metronomes.


Two of the best in the world in their positions, Verratti edges Kimmich on a couple of key metrics this season.


The Italian both attempts and completes more passes than the German - 102 per game/93 per cent completion vs. 92 per 90 minutes/85 per cent completed. He also wins nearly two more tackles over the same time span. Verratti has the edge on both sides of the ball.


Marco Verratti, Thomas Muller, PSG, Bayern Munich


Achraf Hakimi vs. Jamal Musiala


Of course, Paris can't expect to be on the front foot everywhere, and Jamal Musiala has emerged as Bayern's most potent attacking asset since Robert Lewandowski left for Barca, with 22 goal-involvements from 23 games this season.


But if anyone can keep him on the back foot, it's Achraf Hakimi. Musiala's preferred position is the left flank, from where he can drift inside, but his right-back on the day often plays more like a winger.


Musiala will have to defend when PSG are in possession, and Hakimi can keep him pegged back with his pace and timing.

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