Mbappe is determined to take PSG from Bayern

Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring a goal during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Nantes at Parc des Princes stadium on March 4, 2023 in Paris. — AFP

PARIS: Kylian Mbappe Paris Saint-Germain head to Munich fresh from a record-breaking weekend and are determined to push the French giants past Bayern Munich and into the Champions League quarter-finals.

PSG trailed 1-0 in the first leg of their last 16 tie at the heavyweights, with Mbappe on the bench last month after injury.

Still 24 years old French superstar Did enough in his short time on the pitch – including a goal disallowed for marginally offside – to clearly show he can turn the Parisians around.

Since that game, the Ligue 1 leaders have recovered from a worrying slump, winning three times at home and scoring 11 goals.

Mbappe scored five of them, including Saturday’s 4-2 win against Nantes, as he overtook Edinson Cavani to become PSG’s all-time top scorer in 2017, five-and-a-half years after leaving Monaco.

The first player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final since Geoff Hurst in December 1966, he has an impressive record of 201 goals in 247 appearances for PSG.

Leave a mark

“Every player plays to leave a mark and not forget his name in the history of football. With this record, I think people will remember me here,” Mbappe said after PSG were awarded the trophy. -presentation in front of a loving crowd.

Mbappe has scored 30 goals in 30 games for his club this season and is sure to be the best player in the world right now, even though Lionel Messi recently pipped him to win the FIFA Men’s Player of the Year award.

Messi, who has scored 18 goals for PSG this season, is mainly there to serve up Mbappe in Christophe Galtier’s side, for whom Neymar’s injury-related absence in Munich – and a few more months – may not matter.

A fifth exit in the first knockout round of the Champions League in seven seasons would be really important for PSG and their Qatari hosts.

They lost the 2020 final to Bayern Munich in Lisbon, but one of Mbappe’s most important performances for PSG came in Munich the following year.

It was a snowy night in April 2021 when Mbappe scored twice in a 3-2 quarter-final win over Bayern Munich at an empty Allianz Arena.

He opened the scoring as Paris took a 2-0 lead. Bayern pulled level only for Mbappe to score a stunning winner, turning a corner and beating goalkeeper Manuel Neuer at the near post.

“My mind is on Wednesday’s match. We are going to Munich with the aim of qualifying,” Mbappe said on Saturday, before dismissing suggestions that his exit from PSG would prompt his exit from the club.

“I don’t think this match will affect. If I linked my future to the Champions League, I would have left a long time ago, not wanting to show disrespect to the club.

“I’m here and I’m very happy to be here. I think of nothing but making PSG successful.”

Defense issues

PSG may need Mbappe’s goals more than ever at Bayern, as manager Galtier has no problems in defense.

His side have looked at their best this season when playing with three centre-backs, but the manager’s options in that sector have been limited by the loss of Presnel Kimpembe for the rest of the campaign with an Achilles injury.

Captain Marquinhos suffered a rib injury at the weekend and Nordy Mukiele was also ruled out.

The aging Sergio Ramos is expected to play, although not fully fit, as the first-choice player, whose mobility is vital to the defence.

Mukiele’s presence would also be helpful, although Achraf Hakimi could return to right-back less than a week after being accused of rape.

PSG have said they will support the Moroccan while the case is being investigated and the legal proceedings will not prevent the player from leaving France.

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