Neymar expected to miss Bayern trip as Galtier bemoans forward's absence

By Sports Desk March 03, 2023

Neymar is expected to miss the second leg of Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League last-16 tie with Bayern Munich as a result of his ankle injury, head coach Christophe Galtier has revealed.

Neymar was taken off on a stretcher during PSG's thrilling 4-3 win against Lille on February 19, with scans subsequently revealing he had suffered ankle ligament damage.

The Brazil international's injury immediately threw his participation against Bayern into doubt, with PSG needing to overturn a 1-0 deficit after losing the first leg at the Parc des Princes – a game that saw fellow attacking star Kylian Mbappe reduced to the role of substitute through injury.  

PSG's fears were confirmed as Galtier previewed Saturday's Ligue 1 meeting with Nantes, saying: "In the next two games, we won't have Neymar available. 

"I think he will miss out against Bayern Munich."

A medical update issued by the club, meanwhile, said Neymar was continuing his rehabilitation and would be reassessed on Monday – two days before PSG's trip to Germany.

Neymar's absence did not hamper PSG last time out, as Mbappe and Lionel Messi starred in a 3-0 thrashing of Marseille to move the Ligue 1 leaders eight points clear at the summit.

That win saw Mbappe move level with PSG's all-time record scorer Edinson Cavani with 200 goals for the club, while Messi claimed the 700th senior goal of his club career.

Having exchanged assists for all three goals, Messi and Mbappe have now combined for 10 goals in Ligue 1 this season, which is the most in the division and four more than Neymar and Mbappe.

However, Galtier dismissed suggestions PSG were a more balanced side with Neymar sidelined, saying: "Our block is much more compact, denser. 

"With the absence of Neymar, instead of having two midfielders, we will be with three midfielders and two attackers.

"To tell you that Neymar's absence is trivial… no. It's a detrimental absence for us."

While Wednesday's trip to Bayern is viewed as make-or-break for PSG's season, Galtier knows Nantes – who have won two of their last four league games against the Parisians – will provide a stern test.

"The most important game is the one that's coming. Our squad is weakened by suspensions and injuries, we have to make our way in the league," he said.

"I hope the players don't have the game against Bayern on Wednesday in a corner of their heads. It's important to have a third consecutive victory in the league." 

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