The UEFA Champions League returns for the first time in 2022 on Tuesday night when Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid lock horns, with both teams looking to secure an advantage in the first leg of their last-16 tie. The home side finished second in Group A to secure their spot in the first knockout round, while 13-time winners Real Madrid claimed the first position in Group D to progress to the Round of 16.
PSG have a 13-point lead at the top of the Ligue 1 table and can afford to focus all their attention on their Champions League campaign. The Parisians have been inconsistent this season and will need to be wary of one of Europe’s most formidable opponents this week.
The above visual shows us the shot map for PSG from the group stages of the tournament. They have had only 26 shots on target in the six games they played but were able to convert 50% of these efforts. Leo Messi has generated the highest xG for PSG and is also their highest scorer with five goals. He has attempted 14 shots, with 57.14% of his shots on target. He will be the biggest threat to Real Madrid’s defense.
Lionel Messi has been in good form recently and has provided four goal contributions in his last three games in the league. He is one of the most vital players for PSG and has a record of performing well against his old rivals. The above visual indicates his attacking metrics have been significantly better than the median league value, and he will be a huge threat in the final third.
Real Madrid, on the other hand, are currently at the top of the LaLiga standings but have experienced a discernible slump in recent weeks. Los Blancos have impressive attacking talent in their ranks and will need to be at their best to pull off a positive result at the Parc des Princes.
Real Madrid have attempted a total of 110 shots on goal with 43 shots on target. Karim Benzema is on the top of the goal-scoring charts for Madrid and has also attempted the most shots. Real Madrid will be desperately hoping Karim Benzema is fit to start for them in the first leg. The striker has missed the last two matches with injury and would be a huge miss. Benzema already has 24 goals to his name for Madrid this season.
Los Blancos won the competition on four occasions between 2013 and 2018, but they have lost in the Round of 16 in two of their last three Champions League campaigns and will certainly be wary of a PSG side that should have Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, and Messi all available for the contest.
PSG have an excellent squad, but they have underperformed at times this season under Mauricio Pochettino. Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi will have to step up in the UEFA Champions League and will look to make an impression this week.
Real Madrid predicted starting lineup:
Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Bale, Benzema, Vinicius.
Paris Saint-Germain predicted starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Hakimi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Mendes; Verratti, Gueye, Wijnaldum; Messi, Mbappe, Di Maria.