Bayern vs PSG: Why Neymar’s Injury Is a Blessing in Disguise in Their Champions League Pursuit

Bayern vs PSG: Why Neymar’s Injury Is a Blessing in Disguise in Their Champions League Pursuit

Martin Moses
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:27 PM
In this article:
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  • Neymar's injury is certain to be a big blow to PSG, who are seeking to eliminate Bayern Munich from the Champions League
  • The Parisians trail by a solitary goal ahead of the showdown at the Allianz Arena on March 8th
  • However, the Brazilian's absence could be turned into an advantage to combat Bayern's press

Paris Saint-Germain's announcement that Neymar's season had come to a premature end after suffering an ankle injury had some sort of deja-vu attached to it.

His decision to undergo surgery will see him sidelined for 3 to 4 months, thus missing the second leg of Champions League round of 16 action against Bayern Munich and any subsequent games should they progress.

Bayern vs PSG, Neymar, Champions League, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe
Neymar writhes in pain after hurting his ankle on February 19th. Photo by Tim Clayton.
Source: Getty Images

Constant injuries have deprived the Brazilian of some important game time over the years since he made the switch from Barcelona to Paris. Neymar was always thought to have the same ceiling as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo but was just never fit enough to show it.

With his absence, Christophe Gatlier has lost a vital cog to his attack. He needs to overturn a 1-0 deficit in Munich or otherwise face elimination.

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Make no mistake, having Neymar on your team is always an advantage. The 31-year-old can win games singlehandedly and drag his team through the murkiest of situations. Only that his latest injury might be a blessing in disguise for Gatlier.

Why PSG keep struggling in Europe

In a previous article, Sports Brief documented how PSG often struggle against top-tier European opposition due to their inability to track back. The presence of Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe usually means that the French champions are less three men while defending.

With Neymar's forced absence, Galtier will have the leeway of using a player who can be asked to track back. Julian Nagelsmann could use a back three system with overlapping fullbacks to overload PSG in the broad areas.

In the first leg, Bayern overran PSG's midfield and right defence as the MNM trio strolled up the field.

Extra layer of defence

Having an extra player who can track back gives Galtier the opportunity to nullify Bayern's threat. A midfield of Marco Veratti and Danilo could be preferred, with either Carlos Soler or Fabian Ruiz taking the Neymar role, albeit in a deeper position.

Neymar's absence could also trigger Gatlier to match Nagelsmann's back three formation to allow for his fullbacks to get forward and utilise the spaces left by the Bavarians.

The onus will now be on Messi and Mbappe, who have struck some sort of impressive understanding in recent games to inspire PSG to a comeback win. Galtier would definitely have preferred to have Neymar in the squad, but his injury can be turned into a blessing as they chase their maiden Champions League title.

It's still a long way to go, but first, they need a huge performance in Munich.

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Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)