Real Madrid welcome Paris Saint-Germain to the Santiago Bernabeu tomorrow evening in a titanic Champions League date. A place in the quarter-final of Europe’s premier competition is at stake and PSG have a slight advantage courtesy of their 1-0 victory in the first leg back at the Parc des Princes.
Kylian Mbappe was the decisive man on that night, scoring a dramatic winner in stoppage time to hand his team a lead. He’s a doubt for tomorrow’s game due to an injury he sustained during training on Monday, while Madrid are sweating on the fitness of midfield metronome Toni Kroos ahead of the game.
Both sides are top of their respective leagues by considerable distance. Madrid are eight points clear of Sevilla in La Liga while PSG are 13 ahead of Nice in Ligue 1. Madrid are coming into the game in winning form; they beat Real Sociedad 4-1 on Saturday. PSG aren’t; they lost 1-0 to Nice the very same evening.
“The plan we have isn’t just to stop Mbappe,” Carlo Ancelotti said pre-match in comments carried by Cope. “We have to stop Neymar [Junior], [Lionel] Messi and all the other good players that PSG have. Our plan is to play as a block with and without the ball, to play a complete and intelligent game with intensity. We don’t need to go crazy because we need to get ahead early because we don’t. You can win it early or late on. The most important thing is to play with intensity.”
Ancelotti also spoke of Mbappe and Kroos, the two players who may or may not be able to start the game. “I never want players to get injured,” he said. “What happened to Mbappe yesterday leaves him with a chance to play and that’s how we’ve prepared the game, assuming he’s going to play.” Regarding Kroos, he was straight to the point. “A player who isn’t at 100% can’t play this type of game. If Kroos is at 95% he’s not going to play.”