PSG vs Real MadridUEFA Champions League, KO: 20:00 Sep 18, 2019, Parc des Princes
ENFANT TERRIBLE Neymar heads a list of superstar players who will miss out when these two European giants go toe to toe in Paris on Wednesday night.
The Brazilian striker – whose failed efforts to engineer a move back to Barcelona this summer enraged the PSG fans – was ferociously booed during his first appearance of the season on Saturday, and not even his magical overhead kick winner in the dying minutes could win the crowd over.
Neymar will at least be spared more pelters from the home punters here as he's suspended, while fellow first-choice PSG strikers Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani are injured, as is midfielder Julian Draxler.
The loss of his whole frontline is a major blow to boss Thomas Tuchel, who may be forced to hand Mauro Icardi a first start after his loan move from Inter, although the Argentine lacks match fitness having only made his debut off the bench last weekend.
Even with Neymar in the side, PSG laboured to victory over Ligue 1 strugglers Strasbourg at the weekend and face a tough start in the Champions League, a competition they've flattered to deceive in despite total domestic dominance.
The Parisiens haven't made it beyond the quarter-finals since 1995 when George Weah was in his pomp, and they face a Real Madrid side who've won the tournament in four of the last six seasons.
However, Zinedine Zidane's return to the Bernabeu dugout hasn't exactly gone to plan so far. Real have dropped points in two of their four La Liga outings and have yet to keep a clean sheet.
Their ranks are depleted by the absence of injured pair Sergio Ramos and Luka Modric for the trip to Paris, but they haven't been hit as hard by absences as the hosts.
Karim Benzema's weekend double made it four goals in four games for the French forward, while Eden Hazard made his debut off the bench and could feature at some stage in Paris and Gareth Bale will return to the starting line-up after his weekend suspension.
Real have never lost in four meetings with PSG over the past four years, beating them home and away in the last 16 on their march to the trophy two seasons ago. They are outsiders at 21-10 with Skybet this time – PSG are 13-10 favourites – but the visitors draw no bet tempts at 5-4 with Sportingbet.
PSG's Italian international midfielder Marco Verratti will have his hands full trying to stifle the supply line to Real's forwards. Verratti has already racked up four bookings in seven appearances for club and country this season, and is worth a punt at 7-4 with William Hill to be carded.
This UEFA Champions League match between PSG and Real Madrid will be played on Sep 18, 2019 and kick off at 20:00