Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Match Preview: Leipzig v PSG

 Leizpig's Nagelsmann faces Tuchel reunion after besting Mourinho, SimeoneA Champions League semifinal for the 21st century

The UEFA Champions League will have at least one new finalist in 2019/20 as Leipzig take on Paris Saint-Germain at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica in the first semifinal. 

While Leipzig are at this stage for the first time in only their second UEFA Champions League campaign, PSG have become knockout regulars in recent seasons – although this is the first time they have made it as far as the last four in 25 years.

The teams each scored late winners to secure a 2-1 victory in their respective quarter-finals. PSG produced a stunning late turnaround against Atalanta to progress thanks to strikes in the closing stages from Marquinhos (90) and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (90+3), 24 hours before Tyler Adams' deflected 88th-minute strike gave Leipzig victory against Atlético de Madrid.


While this is the teams' first competitive fixture, Leipzig defeated PSG 4-2 in a July 2014 friendly when they were in the German second tier. PSG defender Marquinhos scored an own goal with Yussuf Poulsen also on target for Leipzig.



This is Leipzig's first European semi-final. They are aiming to become the seventh German club to reach the European Cup final, after Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayern München, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Hamburg, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen.

Leipzig are the ninth German club to appear in the European Cup semi-finals, with Köln (1979) and Schalke (2011) the only Bundesliga clubs to have got to the last four and never made a final.

Leipzig's qualification for the semi-finals alongside Bayern München means Germany has two teams in the last four of the UEFA Champions League for only the second time. On the other occasion, in 2012/13, Bayern and Dortmund went on to contest the final.

Leipzig are the 31st different club to appear in a UEFA Champions League semi-final and the third newcomer to the competition's last four in successive years, after Roma in 2018 and Tottenham Hotspur in 2019.

This is their third game in Lisbon in 2019/20 having also won 2-1 at Benfica on Matchday 1 before being Atlético.

The German club finished three points clear at the top of Group G, picking up seven of their 11 points on their travels thanks to that win at Benfica and a 2-0 success at Zenit before they let slip a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at Lyon on Matchday 6.

Julian Nagelsmann's side then despatched Tottenham 4-0 on aggregate in the round of 16 (1-0 a, 3-0 h) in their first UEFA Champions League knockout tie. They made it three wins in as many knockout matches in the competition as goals from Dani Olmo – on his UEFA Champions League debut for the club – and, after Atlético had levelled, Adams secured a dramatic quarter-final victory.

Aside from this season's two wins, the German club's only other visit to Portugal ended in a 3-1 reverse at Porto in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League group stage, only their second European away fixture.

Leipzig have won eight of their 15 UEFA Champions League fixtures (D3 L4).

Leipzig's record outside Germany in this season's competition is W4 D1; they had previously won only three of their 12 European away matches (D4 L5).

Third in the Bundesliga in 2018/19 and German Cup finalists, this is Leipzig's third European campaign, and only their 34th match. In 2017/18 they became the first team to make their European debut in the UEFA Champions League group stage, picking up seven points to finish third in a section including Besiktas, Porto and Monaco. They went on to reach the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals before losing to Marseille.

Leipzig's record in knockout European ties is W7 L1, their 2017/18 loss to Marseille the sole defeat (1-0 h, 2-5 a).

That defeat by Marseille is also Leipzig's only previous knockout tie against a French club.

A home defeat (0-2) and away draw (2-2) against Lyon this season have made Leipzig's record against French clubs W2 D2 L2. Their sole victory outside Germany was a 4-1 success at Monaco in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League group stage – their first away win in European competition.

Leipzig have yet to feature in a UEFA penalty shoot-out.


This is PSG's second European Cup semi-final, and their first since 1995: AC Milan L 0-3 (0-1 h, 0-2 a)

That 25-year gap between semi-final appearances is a UEFA Champions League record – beating Ajax's 22-year absence between 1997 and 2019.

PSG are aiming to become the fifth French team to reach the European Cup final, after Reims (1956, 1959), StÉtienne (1976), Marseille (1991, 1993) and Monaco (2004). Of those, only Marseille, in the inaugural UEFA Champions League final in 1993, lifted the trophy.

Eight Ligue 1 clubs have reached the European Cup semi-finals; Reims, St-Étienne, Marseille, Monaco and now PSG and fellow 2019/20 semi-finalists Lyon are the only clubs to have appeared more than once.

The success of PSG and Lyon this season means France has two teams in the European Cup semi-finals for the first time.

PSG also reached the semi-finals of three UEFA Cup Winners' Cups and one UEFA Cup. Their record in those ties – which all took place between 1993 and 1997 – was W2 L2 with victories in the last two, against Deportivo La Coruña in 1995/96 and Liverpool in 1996/97.

PSG won all but one of their six games in this season's group stage, dropping points only in a 2-2 draw at Real Madrid on Matchday 5. They beat the Spanish side 3-0 at the Parc des Princes in the opening round of fixtures, and twice defeated Club Brugge (5-0 a, 1-0 h) and Galatasaray (1-0 a, 5-0 h).

In the round of 16, the French club overturned a 2-1 first-leg defeat at Borussia Dortmund to progress thanks to a 2-0 home win, their first aggregate knockout victory since March 2016. They then followed up with a dramatic comeback victory against Atalanta in the quarter-finals, late goals from Marquinhos and Choupo-Moting securing a 2-1 win at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica on 12 August.

Thomas Tuchel's side had the best defensive record in this season's group stage having conceded only twice, both goals against Madrid, and have now conceded only five times, still fewer than any other club.

PSG have won 11 of their last 16 UEFA Champions League matches (D3 L2) and have now scored in 33 consecutive games in the competition.

Ligue 1 champions for the seventh time in eight years in 2019/20, and ninth time overall, this is the French side's eighth successive UEFA Champions League campaign.

Before 2019/20 PSG had been knocked out in the round of 16 in three successive seasons having been eliminated in the quarter-finals in the four previous campaigns. In 2018/19, PSG looked set to reach the last eight after a 2-0 first-leg victory at Manchester United in the round of 16, but bowed out on away goals following a 3-1 home defeat.

This season's win against Dortmund made it three wins from three knockout ties against German clubs for PSG, who defeated Wolfsburg in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup round of 32 (2-0 h, 3-1 a) and Leverkusen in the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League round of 16 (4-0 a, 2-1 h).

PSG have lost their last two games against Bundesliga sides outside France, against Dortmund in this season's round of 16 first leg and Bayern in the 2017/18 group stage (1-3). The defeat in Munich ended a seven-match unbeaten run against German clubs, home and away (W5 D2); outside France, their record against German clubs isW3 D1 L5.

Before beating Atalanta, PSG had last visited Portugal for a 2-1 defeat at Benfica in the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League group stage, a match that also took place at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica. The win against Atalanta was the French club's first in both Lisbon and at the ground, where they had lost their three previous games, all against Benfica. PSG's overall record in Portugal is now W2 D1 L5, the sole other success a 1-0 victory at Braga in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup round of 16 second leg.

PSG's European penalty shoot-out record is W0 L1: 3-4 v Rangers, 2001/02 UEFA Cup third round



Leipzig finished the 2019/20 Bundesliga season in third position, earning a place in next season's UEFA Champions League to make it three appearances in the competition in four campaigns.

Since football in Germany restarted in mid-May, Julian Nagelsmann's team have recorded five wins, four draws and only one defeat – a 2-0 home loss against Borussia Dortmund on 20 June.

Dani Olmo scored his first UEFA Champions League goal for Leipzig in the quarter-finals against Atlético. He has scored on each of his last two appearances in the competition having also found the net in Dinamo Zagreb's 4-1 home loss against Manchester City on Matchday 6.

Tyler Adams scored his first goal for Leipzig against Atlético.

Ibrahima Konaté underwent hip surgery on 24 July.

On 8 July Leipzig signed Salzburg striker Hee-Chan Hwang, who has agreed a five-year contract, and defender Benjamin Henrichs, who joins on a one-year loan from Monaco. Neither player is eligible for the remainder of this season's UEFA Champions League.

Timo Werner, who scored 34 goals in 45 competitive games for Leipzig in 2019/20 including four in the UEFA Champions League, has left the club to join Chelsea. Hannes Wolf will spend 2020/21 on loan at Borussia Mönchengladbach.


PSG have completed a fourth domestic treble in 2019/20. On 24 July, they defeated St-Étienne in the French Cup final, Neymar scoring the only goal at the Stade de France. It was their record-extending 13th victory in the competition.

A week later PSG returned to the venue to clinch a record ninth League Cup, beating Lyon 6-5 on penalties after 120 goalless minutes. After ten successful spot kicks, Keylor Navas saved from Bertrand Traoré, leaving Pablo Sarabia to convert the winning kick.

PSG were also crowned French champions for the third year in a row, seventh in eight seasons and ninth time overall.

PSG have lost only one of their last 31 games in all competitions (W26 D4) – at Dortmund, in the round of 16 first leg. Their previous defeat was a 2-1 league reverse in Dijon on 1 November.

Aged 17 years 253 days Tanguy Kouassi struck twice in a 4-4 draw at Amiens on 15 February, making him the second youngest player ever to score a Ligue 1 double for PSG after Lionel Justier in March 1976 against Nîmes (17 years 212 days).

PSG have scored 67 goals in 21 matches in all competitions in 2020.

PSG had found the net in 36 consecutive matches in all competitions, following a 2-0 home defeat against Reims on 25 September, before the goalless draw with Lyon in the League Cup final.

PSG played four friendlies between 12 July and 5 August, scoring 21 goals without conceding in winning all four. In their last game before travelling to Portugal they defeated Sochaux 1-0 at the Parc des Princes on 5 August, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting scoring the only goal.

Keylor Navas was replaced by Sergio Rico against Atalanta after suffering a hamstring injury. A third goalkeeper, Garissone Innocent, has joined the squad in Lisbon.

Thiago Silva played 90 minutes of the quarter-final but complained of hamstring pain after the match.

Marco Verratti has not played since suffering a calf problem in training on 4 August.

Kylian Mbappé missed the League Cup final having suffered an ankle injury in the French Cup final, returning as a substitute against Atalanta. The joint leading marksman in the 2019/20 Ligue 1 with 18 goals, he is PSG's top scorer this year with 12 goals, two more than Neymar and Sarabia.


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