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Champions League Preview: PSG, Leipzig Seek Maiden UCL Final Appearance

At the Stadium of Light in Lisbon, it will be Neymar, Kylian Mbappé and his teammates taking on a Leipzig squad with little Champions League experience

Champions League Preview: PSG, Leipzig Seek Maiden UCL Final Appearance
PSG head coach Thomas Tuchel embraces Kylian Mbappe after their Champions League quarterfinal win over Atalanta | AP
Champions League Preview: PSG, Leipzig Seek Maiden UCL Final Appearance
outlookindia.com
2020-08-17T20:26:00+05:30

The similarities between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and RB Leipzig end with both clubs trying to reach the UEFA Champions League final for the first time. (More Football News)

The French powerhouse will head into Tuesday night's semifinal match with its Qatari money and high-profile squad, while the German club comes with its Red Bull backing and a team of mostly untested players.

READ: France Vs Germany Semis Mark Champions League Power Shift

At the Stadium of Light in Lisbon, it will be Neymar, Kylian Mbappé and his teammates taking on a Leipzig squad with little Champions League experience.

Leipzig has almost nothing to lose. For PSG, anything short of the title will feel like a disappointment for a club where a priority aim has been to break through with the European title after years of dominance in France.

“We don't want to talk about pressure,” PSG midfielder Ander Herrera said through a translator on Monday.

IN PICS: Leipzig Edge Past Atletico To Book Historic UCL Semis Berth

“It's a great opportunity for us to be here in the semifinals of the Champions League. We are living a dream at the moment. We are ready for it, we are well prepared. We are not talking about any pressure.”

PSG became a European contender under its Qatari owners, but Leipzig is just starting to try to make its mark in Europe under energy drink company Red Bull, which in 2009 bought the license rights from fifth-tier club SSV Markranstaedt and financed the new team's steady promotion through the lower leagues.

Leipzig reached the Bundesliga in 2016 and the Champions League a few years later, but it has become highly unpopular at home because of its fast rise financed by Red Bull, prompting rivals fans to often protest at games.

IN PICS: PSG Score Dramatic Winner Against Atalanta

In its second Champions League appearance, the German club eliminated Tottenham in the round of 16 and Atlético Madrid in the quarterfinals. PSG, managed by German coach Thomas Tuchel, got past Borussia Dortmund in the last 16 and Atalanta in the quarterfinals.

PSG enters the semifinals with the feeling that this finally could be the time it triumphs in Europe.

“We have a very capable team,” said defender Marquinhos, who scored one of the goals against Atalanta.

ALSO READ: Mbappe Mocks Critics Of 'Farmers League' Ligue 1 After Lyon Stun City

“Not only the first team players, but at the moment our squad is much stronger compared to previous seasons.”

PSG was eliminated in the round of 16 in the last three seasons, and in the quarterfinals four straight times before that. Its last semifinal appearance was 25 years ago, when it lost to AC Milan.

“We don't talk about history, we live at the moment,” Tuchel said.

“We are here because we played a great Champions League season. If it's a historic moment, it's because we worked very hard for many, many months. We are hungry for success and we are here to win and to make all that hard work pay off. We can't control the result but we will fight until the end.”

ALSO READ: The Rise Of RB Leipzig

PSG will again be led by the Red Bull-sponsored Neymar, who was signed to try to help the club make the leap and clinch the European title. On Tuesday, he is expected to have the full support from Mbappé and Ángel Di María.

Mbappé couldn't play the entire match against Atalanta because he was returning from injury, while Di María was suspended.

Goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who had to be replaced against Atalanta because of a right leg muscle injury, was listed as doubtful. Veteran defender Thiago Silva was expected to play after tests showed only a low-grade tear in his right hamstring.

It is unclear if American player Tyler Adams, who scored Leipzig's late winner over Atlético Madrid, will be on the bench again or will make the starting lineup.

(AP)

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