STAR PREVIEW Weds: Champions League

To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best and we have a meeting of giants as Bayern Munich take on PSG in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

This is a rematch of last year’s final, where Kingsley Coman’s 59th-minute header at the far post settled a tight affair and means that Bayern became the first team to win every game en-route to winning the European Cup or Champions League (11 wins).

Just a few months later, both sides are big contenders if they can navigate this quarter-final and Bayern can take a first leg advantage. It is impossible to evaluate their chances without talking about the absence of Robert Lewandowski – who is likely to miss both legs with a knee injury – but they showed tenacity and class to get the better of Bundesliga rivals RB Leipizig over the weekend, with Leon Goretzka thundering home the winner after a brilliant display.

Hansi Flick started with a front three of Leroy Sane, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Kingsley Coman, all of home performed admirably but were generally made to work hard defensively as Thomas Muller and Joshua Kimmich grew into the game, and whilst the presence of Lewandowski will be missed, there’s no lack of pace or movement for Bayern to use against the visitors.

Bayern Munich v Paris Saint-Germain
UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg
20:00 BT Sport 3

(Maximum 10 matches)
DEC 2017 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Bayern Munich 3-1 PSG
SEP 2017 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PSG 3-0 Bayern Munich
OCT 2000 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Bayern Munich 2-0 PSG
SEP 2000 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PSG 1-0 Bayern Munich
NOV 1997 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PSG 3-1 Bayern Munich
OCT 1997 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Bayern Munich 5-1 PSG
NOV 1994 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Bayern Munich 0-1 PSG
SEP 1994 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PSG 2-0 Bayern Munich

PSG, looking to avenge their loss in last year’s final, arrive after a frustrating experience at home, when losing 1-0 to Ligue 1 leaders Lille and having Neymar sent off late on for good measure. The visitors took the lead through Jonathan David’s strike and were then good value for their win, frustrating the Parsisans successfully as PSG won the shout count 16-3 but only managed three efforts on target and produced only 0.99 xG with Infogol.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men appeared to be badly missing the midfield duo of Leandro Paredes and Marco Verratti, and their twin influence will be badly missed against a Bayern side who could take the initiative in midfield with Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka potentially able to get them on the front foot, and overall the hosts look better placed to take a first leg advantage.

Elsewhere, Porto and Chelsea meet in an intriguing tie – that itself takes pace in Sevilla. Chelsea arrive here after a shock 5-2 defeat to West Brom at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, whilst Porto made it three wins in a row thanks to a 90th minute winner from ex West Ham striker Toni Martínez which gave them victory over Santa Clara.

The shock of Chelsea’s defeat to West Brom is seismic – The Baggies are still looking certain to go down – but it may be worth applying some context to the result, which one could argue was largely decided in a madcap end to the first half when they conceded two goals in three minutes.

The Blues were abysmal but it’s worth noting that they won the shot count 18-14, the corner count 10-3 and the xG count 2.72 – 1.52 – suggesting that this was very much a result out of the ordinary for a side that hadn’t lost since December.

Chelsea are fancied to bounce back but 3/4 looks to be about the right price for them, although that doesn’t appeal given the troubles that Porto gave Juventus and that might be best watched.

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