Lionel Messi an injury doubt for PSG vs Bayern Munich first leg
Lionel Messi is a doubt for Paris Saint-Germain’s UEFA Champions League clash with Bayern Munich after suffering a hamstring injury.
The World Cup winner suffered the ailment in PSG’s shock 2-1 defeat to Le Classique rivals Marseille in the Coupe de France round of 16 game.
Although the extent of injury is not yet known, L’Equipe have reported that such an injury could mean Messi will not be available for the first leg meeting with Bayern.
The former Barcelona man has enjoyed a great season on both the domestic and international front, bagging 28 goal contributions for PSG and winning the FIFA World Cup in Qatar at the end of 2022.
Messi would join fellow superstar Kylian Mbappe on the injury list, with Mbappe also not being able to feature against the Bundesliga champions.
A club statement on Mbappe’s injury read: “After examinations, Kylian Mbappé suffers from a lesion of the left thigh at the level of the femoral biceps. His duration of unavailability is estimated at three weeks.”
In better news for PSG, Neymar, Marco Verratti and Sergio Ramos returned to the fold in PSG’s defeat to Marseille. The trio will be expected to play key roles for the club as they attempt to win their first ever UEFA Champions League crown this season.
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Player ratings as Janssen penalty decides even UWCL clash
Wolfsburg had VAR to thank for their quarter-final first leg victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the Women’s Champions League on Thursday night.
Dominique Janssen scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot midway through the second half for a handball from PSG defender Elisa de Almeida that wasn’t seen by the officials in real time.
Upon review, English referee Rebecce Welch pointed to the spot and showed De Almeida a yellow card. Having already been avoidably cautioned for dissent in the first half, that mean red for her.
Janssen calmly converted the penalty, rolling the ball into the bottom corner as eight-time Champions League winning goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi dived the opposite way.
PSG had earlier thought they had a penalty of their own when the impressive Sakina Karchaoui went down under pressure from Wolfsburg defender Marina Hegering. It was initially given as a foul, but when Welch consulted the pitchside monitor she changed her mind.
Shots on target were few and far between, with Janssen’s penalty one of only three between both sides. Ramona Bachmann had PSG’s best chance, forcing a save from Merle Frohms.
The second leg will take place at Wolfsburg’s Volkswagen Arena next Thursday, where the Germans will have home advantage on top of their aggregate lead.
GK: Bouhaddi (5); RB: Lawrence (7), CB: De Almeida (4), CB: Geyoro (6), LB: Karchaoui (8); CM: Hamraoui (6), CM: Jean-Francois (6), RM: Baltimore (6); AM: Bachmann (6), LM: Groenen (5); ST: Diani (6)
Subs: Fazer (6), Vangsgaard (6)
GK: Frohms (7); RB: Hendrich (7), CB: Hegering (7), CB: Janssen (7), LB: Rauch (7); CM: Oberdorf (6), CM: Lattwein (7); RM: Huth (6), AM: Roord (6), LM: Popp (7); ST: Pajor (5)
Subs: Brand (6), Jonsdottir (6), Bremer (N/A)
Player of the match – Sakina Karchaoui (PSG)
Player ratings as Blues open up slender UWCL aggregate lead
Chelsea earned a hard fought 1-0 win over Lyon in the first leg of their Women’s Champions League quarter-final at the Groupama Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Blues will now take that narrow aggregate lead into next week’s second leg at Kingsmeadow, making them slight favourites to reach the last four of the competition.
The ever-impressive Guro Reiten scored the only goal of the game in the first half, curling a delicious first-time shot past Christiane Endler with her weaker right foot after being played in by the returning Erin Cuthbert.
Lauren James almost scored a stunning second for Chelsea before the interval, running with the ball down the right and unleashing a speculative strike with her left foot that crashed into the far post and bounced clear.
Sam Kerr didn’t see very much of the ball over the course of the 90 minutes but might have thought she could have done better with a good chance early in the second that she missed the target with.
Lyon saw more of the ball and had more shots in total. But, frustratingly for the home crowd, the eight-time winners and reigning champions lacked the cutting edge quality to breakdown a resilient Chelsea back-line that included Kadeisha Buchanan against her former club.
Delphine Cascarino did hit the post early in the second half and there was a late surge of pressure in the final stages, but the leveller never came.
The only blot on an otherwise top night for Chelsea was losing Millie Bright to injury in the first half.
GK: Endler (6); RB: Carpenter (7), CB: Gilles (7), CB: Renard (7), LB: Morroni (6); CM: Horan (6), CM: Egurrola (6), CM: Marozsan (6); RW: Cascarino (7), ST: Le Sommer (5), LW: Dabritz (6)
Subs: Bechel (6), Van de Donk (7), Bacha, (6), Malard (6), Majri (7)
GK: Berger (7); RB: Perisset (7), CB: Buchanan (8), CB: Bright (7), LB: Carter (7); CM: Leupolz (7), CM: Ingle (7); RM: James (8), AM: Cuthbert (8), LM: Reiten (8), ST: Kerr (6)
Subs: Eriksson (6), Charles (6), Rytting Kaneryd (N/A), Mjelde (N/A)
Player of the match – Kadeisha Buchanan (Chelsea)
Bayern Munich vs Arsenal – UWCL preview: TV channel, live stream, team news & prediction
Bayern Munich and Arsenal will play the first of this season’s Women’s Champions League quarter-final first legs as the competition reaches the knockout phase.
The group stage wound up back in December, making it along wait for the last eight to resume their respective quests for European glory.
Bayern are a growing force in Germany and Europe, reaching the semi-finals of this competition in two of the last four seasons. Arsenal, meanwhile, are only featuring in the Champions League at all for the third time since 2014 but, like Bayern, reached the quarters last season.
Arsenal topped their group earlier in the season, largely thanks to a surprise 5-1 thrashing of reigning champions Lyon. Bayern also enjoyed a strong group stage, inflicting Barcelona’s only defeat in any competition since last season’s final, but finishing second on goal difference.
Former Manchester City midfielder Georgia Stanway is a very familar face for Arsenal fans but has said she has grown and developed even more than she would have expected since moving to Bayern for a new challenge last summer.
Linda Dallmann has recently been ruled out for the rest of the season following an ankle injury suffered earlier this month. Fellow Germany international Giulia Gwinn is out with an ACL tear, but Carolin Simon is back in the squad.
Arsenal did not add veteran Jodie Taylor to their Champions League squad when she returned to the club last week – the deadline for squad additions had already passed.
Stina Blackstenius could return to the starting XI after illness in the build up to the last game against Reading just over a week ago limited her to a 30-minute cameo. Frida Maanum, Arsenal’s hero against Lyon, is likely to be back in midfield, with Leah Williamson returning to defence.
The double loss of Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema will still be felt massively. Losing versatile defender Steph Catley in recent weeks has also been a blow.
Bayern have won 12 consecutive games in all competitions coming into this one, a run which includes victories over Barcelona and domestic rivals Wolfsburg.
Arsenal have themselves come into decent form after a poor start to 2023, putting together successive wins over Chelsea, to win the Conti Cup, Liverpool and Reading.
But in Munich and Arsenal missing their two most potent goal threats, the advantage here – and perhaps for the whole tie – has to lie with Bayern. There is also the not so small matter of returning to the Allianz Arena for the first time since beating Barcelona, which will evoke fond memories.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 3-1 Arsenal
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