If Mbappe plays on my side, it will be war! – Hernandez relishing latest Bayern-PSG showdown

By Sports Desk March 23, 2021

Lucas Hernandez has joked he is ready to go to war with compatriot Kylian Mbappe when Bayern Munich face Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League quarter-finals.

The heavyweight clubs were paired together in Friday's draw, potentially giving PSG a chance to exact some revenge following last season's 1-0 loss to the same side in the final.

Hernandez was an unused substitute for Bayern that day, while Mbappe played the full 90 minutes through the middle of the French giants' three-man attack.

France international Hernandez played the full 90 minutes of Bayern's 2-1 second-leg win over Lazio in the last 16, but he has more regularly been used as a substitute this season.

But if the versatile left-sided defender is given the nod to play against PSG in either leg next month, he is up for the challenge of keeping prolific countryman Mbappe quiet.

"If I have to face him I will say two or three words to keep him quiet," Hernandez said in an interview with L'Equipe. 

"I will tell him above all he should stick to PSG's left side. If he comes to the right then it will be a war! I'm kidding, but it's true he has a talent and we must be vigilant with him.

"The Champions League is what we are aiming to retain on May 29. Everyone is determined to do exactly that."

Mbappe reached the 30-goal mark for the campaign with his double in Sunday's 4-2 win against Lyon, while also bringing up a century of Ligue 1 strikes in the process.

At the age of 22 years, three months and one day, he overtook former Saint-Etienne striker Herve Revelli as the youngest player to reach three figures for goals in the division.

That victory moved PSG to the top of Ligue 1, keeping them on course for a clean sweep of trophies in Mauricio Pochettino's first campaign at the helm – the Argentinian having replaced Thomas Tuchel in January.

Bayern are the team PSG have defeated the most in European competition (five times), but they have won just one of the last four encounters – a 3-0 win in September 2017.

Hernandez, currently away on international duty with France, is expecting a tight contest when the sides face off in April.

"It will be a huge match," he said. "It will not be easy to eliminate them and they will be after a little revenge following last season's final.

"The Parisians will be envious, but so will we. Several important players have left but other great players have replaced them.

"When you see our offensive quality, we create four chances and score four goals - it's incredible. But we also have a solid defensive block. Everyone is ready to give their all."

Hernandez has played 29 times in all competitions this season, which is already four more than he managed in the whole of last season when struck down by injuries.

Bayern have won 10 and drawn two of the 12 league games Hernandez has started this term, compared to three defeats in 14 games without the defender in their XI.

And having put his injury troubles behind him, the 25-year-old is eager to continue taking his chances when they arrive.

"It's true that I have had periods where I have played less than I wanted, but Hansi Flick always trusted me," Hernandez said. "In his speeches he always used to count on me.

"That's why when I wasn't playing, I sometimes struggled to understand. But this year I have come back from my injuries. I'm now 100 per cent and the coach knows that.

"It's always flattering when a coach says 'it's great to have a player like you'. He knows it doesn't matter if I play 10, 30 or 40 minutes. I'll give my all, and he likes that."

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