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Analysing PSG's Champions League group stage opponents

Rohith Nair
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Feature
757   //    12 Sep 2017, 17:01 IST

PSG live stream champions league
Will PSG top their group in the Champions League?

At long last, the UEFA Champions League is back and life is good once again. And Paris Saint-Germain will surely be waiting to get the competition underway.

We take a look at their strengths and weaknesses while also analysing their opponents in Group B.

Paris Saint-Germain

After a summer transfer window of being in the eye of the storm, the Ligue 1 side have a formidable lineup to go all out and win that elusive European trophy. They brokered the biggest transfer deal in history by signing Neymar from Barcelona for £198m while they also managed to get local boy Kylian Mbappe on board - on loan!

Strengths: PSG are very top-heavy with world class players leading the line and top quality backups on the bench. Manager Unai Emery has the biggest headache with respect to who he should pick in the starting lineup.

Neymar-Cavani-Mbappe has all the makings of a formidable trio that will score goals for fun.

Weaknesses: Defence. While the attack and midfield is pretty much one of the best in Europe (at least on paper), the back is where Emery will be most concerned.

Thiago Silva is no longer the phenom at the back while PSG's pursuit of Pepe Reina in the summer suggests Kevin Trapp may not have been first choice for this season.

Player to watch out for: Neymar. The Brazilian has already shredded a handful of Ligue 1 records from last season following his debut for the Parisian club and he looks all set to bring that form into the Champions League - the primary reason PSG bought him in the first place.

Current standing in the league: 1st

2016/17 standing: 2nd

2016/17 UEFA Champions League finish: Knocked out in the Round of 16 by Barcelona (6-5 on aggregate) after winning the first leg 4-0. It's an exit they want to forget.

Best Champions League/European Cup finish: Semi-finals (1995)


Anderlecht

The Belgian side are a dominant force in the Jupiler Pro League with 34 titles to their name. But once they play against other sides in Europe, it highlights the gap between the Belgian first division and other top leagues in Europe.

Henry Onyekuru
Henry Onyekuru

Strengths: Promising partnership in attack. Although inexperienced, Henry Onyekuru has shown enough last season to warrant a starting spot while striker Lukasz Teodorczyk will look to continue where he left off last season (22 goals in 38 games).

Weaknesses: The loss of Youri Tielemans has significantly weakened the side that won the double last season. Their defence is also not up to scratch, having conceded more goals than they have scored so far in the league.

Player to watch out for: Henry Onyekuru. The 20-year-old forward was linked with a host of clubs this summer before Everton snapped him up. He is on loan to finish his development but he scored 22 goals last season in the league alone.

Current standing in the league: 10th

2016/17 standing: 1st

2016/17 UEFA Champions League finish: Third qualifying round. They reached the Europa League quarter-finals.

Best Champions League/European Cup finish: Semi-finals (1981/82 and 1985/86)

Also read: Reviewing all eight Champions League groups


Bayern Munich

Perennial winners of the Bundesliga are always firm favourites in the Champions League. But they have always fallen short ever since their treble win in 2013. Three semi-final exits and a quarter-final exit since then will weigh on their minds.

Carlo Ancelotti
Can Carlo Ancelotti make Bayern Munich a dominant force in Europe again?

Strengths: Wealth of experience. Be it Champions League winning players or a Champions League winning coach, Bayern have a great team on their night - on paper.

Weaknesses: Squad depth. If Robert Lewandowski gets injured, Bayern will be without any major threats on goal. Vice-captain Thomas Muller's dip in form is also a major concern.

Player to watch out for: Corentin Tolisso. Bayern's new summer signing (£35.2m) in midfield has already been up and running in the Bundesliga with three starts and playing the full 90 minutes. His passing range is quite valuable and he even managed to score on his league debut.

Current standing in the league: 6th

2016/17 standing: 1st

2016/17 UEFA Champions League finish: Knocked out in the quarrter-finals by Real Madrid (6-3 on aggregate). A Cristiano ronaldo master-class and questionable refereeing decisions condemned them to a premature exit.

Best Champions League/European Cup finish: Champions (1973/74, 1974/75, 1975/76, 2000/01 and 2012/13)


Celtic

The Scottish side managed by Brendan Rodgers managed to finish the season unbeaten in 2016/17, winning the league title by a massive 30-point margin. But can they translate domestic success to continental success?

Strengths: Celtic Park. While the club are not exactly expected to pip Bayern or PSG to the knockout stages, their home matches will be key in deciding how the final Group B table looks. Celtic Park is not an easy place to travel to with 60,000 fans creating the loud atmosphere that Champions League nights are all about.

Moussa Dembele
Moussa Dembele will be key to Celtic's chances in the Champions League

Weaknesses: Defence. With key defenders such as Dedryck Boyata and Erik Sviatchenko unfit, they may not get off to the best of starts considering they face PSG first.

Player to watch out for: Moussa Dembele. The forward has had issues with his hamstring but will be key to at least finishing the group stages in second place.

Current standing in the league: 1st

2016/17 standing: 1st

2016/17 UEFA Champions League finish: Group stage exit after finishing fourth.

Best Champions League/European Cup finish: Champions (1966/67)

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Rohith Nair
FEATURED COLUMNIST
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