Have PSG turned a corner?
The victory against Marseille has restored hope in a team that was going through a tough spell.
PSG were living on the edge just over a week ago. They had suffered three consecutive defeats, and doubts were creeping into the squad. A stunning comeback against Lille, with a heart-stopping final five minutes, revived Christophe Galtier’s side, who looked all but out when they were 3-2 down. But two brilliant strikes from Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé saw them over the line late on.
Bayern coming up
Sunday’s Classique ended in a 3-0 win for PSG over Marseille, which was the adrenalin the Ligue 1 side needed with nine days to go before they take on Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena. That game will be the yardstick by which Galtier’s work will be measured, but what is certain is that the win in Marseille has given the fans, who rallied behind the players two days earlier at a training session at the Parc des Princes that drew a crowd of more than 32,000, a new lease of life.
What has changed?
PSG have been resurgent for a number of reasons. One is the return to a three-centre-back system, the same one with which they swept aside Marseille at the start of the season. With an extra centre-back and a more compact side, PSG are more of a team. Without Neymar in the side, Galtier can add an extra midfielder and not split the team in two like when Messi, Neymar and Mbappé are on the pitch. It remains to be seen if Neymar will be available against Bayern.
Mbappé on fire
Another reason to believe is Kylian Mbappé. The forward, with his brace against Marseille, equalled Edinson Cavani as PSG’s all-time top scorer, setting himself up as the team’s great hope for a comeback against Bayern in Germany. Two of the Ligue 1 leaders’ three straight defeats - the third against Bayern with Mbappé as a substitute - have come without the France international, who is in extraordinary form and is breaking records week after week.
The third is the unity of the team. PSG, after beating Marseille, posted a photo on social media showing all the players united, something not seen for a long time. Avoiding last year’s debacle at the Bernabéu is a must and the players are aware of that. The Allianz Arena will be the place to be, but what is certain is that PSG will head into the game against Bayern in a stronger frame of mind.