Champions League: for PSG, only doubt is eternal

 Kick-off of the Champions League final eighths on Tuesday. The PSG, in full doubt since the beginning of 2023, has on its way Bayern Munich, sevenfold winner of the event. What make supporters fear a catastrophic scenario whose club seems to have the secret in Europe.

Nothing goes to PSG anymore. While Paris faces Bayern Munich on Tuesday February 14, in the round of the Champions League, the club seems stuck in a negative spiral almost as recurrent as the feast of lovers: injuries, divorce with supporters, series of defeats… What to fear a huge road trip from this competition, to which the Qatari owners have been courting since the club was bought a decade ago. 

From Qatari paradise to hell 2023  

The latter could, no doubt, be considered as faulty. Indeed, it was the organization of the World Cup in the middle of winter that helped to break the victorious Parisian dynamic. Under the aegis of Christophe Galtier, the PSG completed the first part of the season undefeated, all competitions combined.  

And the World Cup, where the procession of PSG stars was widely used, was able to dull the team : Kylian Mbappé and Lionel Messi will have left their partners almost a month and a half to live their adventure until the world final. Same absence length for Achraf Hakimi, semi-finalist with Morocco. And long separations tend to untie the most united partners. Neymar and Marquinhos again experienced a humiliating early elimination who may have left psychological traces.  

Since the return to competition on French territory, the PSG has struggled to regain serenity and has already conceded four defeats: three in the ( Lens, Rennes, championships, Monaco ) and one in the Coupe de France, the most cruel since the Parisians were defeated by their best enemy, the OM. And now, from an accounting point of view, the state of emergency is decreed: the Marseillais return strong in the retro, at five points while the two teams must compete in the championship on February 26, in a match that already promises to be decisive for the title of champion. 

Beyond the sports results, the atmosphere in Paris also crisp on other planes, starting with the injuries: Marco Verratti and Kylian Mbappé are still uncertain for the match.  

And for the extra sporty, the month was not rosy either: the PSG could not recruit the Moroccan Hakim Ziyech due to administrative error and Presnel Kimpembe split from a media release to challenge the coronation of Mbappé as vice-captain of the club ... Finally, the supporters get impatient. Facing Monaco in the visitor park of the Louis-II stadium, they deployed an unambiguous banner ( "Wake up, you make us crack" ) before asking Parisian players to "wet the jersey "and smoke the Monegasque enclosure with pyrotechnic devices. 

Ghosts from the past who come back to haunt Paris 

As a former mayor of the capital used to say, "the shit, it always flies in a squadron". The whole challenge for Galtier will be to quickly find the right words and solutions to reboost a team without mental springs and which also seems to draw the language physically. The Paris coach, who has appeared in recent weeks incapable of re-motivating his troops, plays very big in an event erected as the absolute objective of the Qatari owners of the PSG.  

The challenge is great in a club with recent history and more than complicated in the Champions League: because when we talk about PSG, trauma from FC Barcelona re-letada ( 2017 ), of the strange defeat against Manchester United ( 2019 ) or even the most recent of the eliminations against Real Madrid ( 2022 ) suggest that the club would be built on a huge Indian cemetery.  

In this ocean of doubts and worries, the PSG, at worst after its backhand in Monaco, nevertheless glimpsed a small ray of sunshine, Sunday, with the return to training of Kylian Mbappé. Announcement unavailable for three weeks after a thigh injury on February 1, the top scorer in the ( 8 ) World Cup seems to be back on track faster than expected and is finally in the group. 


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