Galtier to make late call on Mbappe with forward included in squad to face Bayern

By Sports Desk February 13, 2023

Christophe Galtier will make a late call on whether to use Kylian Mbappe in Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League last-16 first leg against Bayern Munich.

The France forward returned to training ahead of schedule on Monday and has been included in PSG's 22-man squad for Tuesday's match at the Parc des Princes.

Mbappe had been ruled out of the match after sustaining a hamstring injury against Montpellier on February 1 that was expected to sideline him for three weeks.

While he came through his first training session back unscathed, Galtier will not risk the 24-year-old unless he feels ready to play a part.

"He's done everything possible to make himself available for this match," Galtier said during a press conference on the eve of the game. "He's trained the day before the match and felt good.

"We'll see tomorrow morning how he feels. The first person I'll listen to will be Kylian, then I'll make the wisest decision. He won't be on the bench to make up the numbers."

Mbappe trained alongside fellow superstar forwards Lionel Messi and Neymar, who are both expected to start against Bundesliga leaders Bayern.

"I'm surprised to see him back, yes. But we know Kylian's ability to recover faster than some," Galtier added.

"He trained as part of the team and was there for the whole session. His post-training feedback is very positive. But whether he'll be on the team sheet, I don't know."

Since making his PSG debut in 2017, Mbappe has recorded 57 goal contributions (34 goals and 23 assists) in 50 Champions League appearances.

During that timeframe, no other player has managed 20 goals and 20 assists in the competition.

Neymar, who was sat alongside Galtier at Monday's press conference, is hoping his team-mate will be able to join him and Messi in the frontline.

"He's an extremely important player, a great player," Neymar said. "When the three of us are together, we feel very strong. He told me he felt good. These are good signs."

PSG have struggled in Mbappe's short absence, having exited the Coupe de France against Marseille last week before losing 3-1 at Monaco in Ligue 1 on Saturday.

Galtier is already under pressure just seven months after taking over, with the Champions League now taking on even more importance for the former Lille and Nice boss.

With the stakes so high in the blockbuster tie played over two legs between the reigning champions of France and Germany, Galtier is confident his players will step up.

"There is always pressure when you are a PSG coach, even more so in the Champions League," he said. "I don't think about my future at all. I am determined.

"The team I field tomorrow will look different to the one against Monaco. In these major games, I know my players know how to raise their level of play and their standards."

PSG have defeated Bayern in six of their previous 11 meetings, each of those coming in the Champions League, with the Bavarian giants prevailing five times.

"It's 50-50," Galtier said when asked who are the favourites to advance. "It's the Champions League. My players are used to these big meetings.

"No side will go through at the end of the first match, but I know I now have a more complete squad than previously in the competition."

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