Mauricio Pochettino said Paris Saint-Germain felt like "a real team" after they edged out Bayern Munich to reach the Champions League semi-finals.

With "geniuses" such as Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria, there has never been any doubting the quality of the individuals in the PSG ranks.

They reached last season's Champions League final, and on Tuesday they completed a revenge mission against the Bundesliga giants who beat them in that Lisbon showpiece match.

A 1-0 home defeat saw the Ligue 1 outfit through on away goals following their 3-2 win in Munich last week.

"It was a real tough match," Pochettino said on BT Sport. "I'm really happy because the players deserve big credit. I'm so happy for them, the club, the president, for [sporting director] Leonardo who trusts in us.

"After three months working here, we are here and we are enjoying the moment. If you win and you qualify for the semi-final that is an amazing moment for us."

Asked directly about his three thrilling front players, Pochettino shone a light on what he wants them to deliver, which is not only the frequent moments of solo magic.

"They are fantastic players and the capacity and the quality is there and you can appreciate it, and of course they work so hard," the former Tottenham boss said.

"I am so happy because our job is to try to put this type of talent, they are geniuses, to work like a team, to bring the effort without the ball. Of course with the ball they are fantastic, but to feel that we are a real team that is a challenge for us and at the moment we are so happy about that."

PSG had won all four of their previous home matches against Bayern in Europe, with those games all coming in the Champions League from 1994 to 2017, and the slender defeat felt like another victory this time.

Pochettino said he tried to enjoy a contest in which PSG played delightfully at times, repeatedly opening up the Bayern defence with thrilling interplay between the front players.

Neymar had five shots in the first half, three of which drew fine saves from Manuel Neuer, hitting the crossbar and post with the other two attempts prior to the break.

In all, he had a team-high 85 touches, played the most passes in the opposition half (28) of any PSG player, and was involved in more duels (30) than anyone on the pitch.

The Brazilian was sensational on a night when Mbappe, who scored twice in the first leg, was a little erratic, being flagged offside six times. On one of those occasions, the flag looked to have gone up too early and Mbappe might have had a chance to score or set up a team-mate. On another, he raced through and thrashed a ferocious shot beyond Neuer, only for the goal to be disallowed.

It was a tie that was tense through to the final whistle in the second leg, as Pochettino got the better of Bayern boss Hansi Flick.

"Every time I am calm outside," said Pochettino. "But inside always you are always a little bit with the stress of the competition, adrenaline that we love to feel, but tonight was a fantastic game."

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi insists Neymar and Kylian Mbappe have "no excuses to leave" as the French giants mount another Champions League challenge this season.

PSG reached their second successive semi-final after eliminating holders Bayern Munich on away goals on Tuesday after the tie ended 3-3.

Bayern won the second leg 1-0 in Paris, but PSG exacted some revenge after moving through to the final four, having lost last season's final to the Bundesliga champions.

Neymar – named man of the match – has been linked with a return to Barcelona following his world-record €222million exit in 2017, while star team-mate Mbappe has long been tipped to join Real Madrid.

Al-Khelaifi was asked about the future of the duo amid ongoing contract negotiations as PSG look ahead to a semi-final showdown with either Manchester City or Borussia Dortmund.

"We have invested a lot in this club to win the Champions League and all the trophies at stake," Al-Khelaifi told RMC Sport.

"Neymar and Kylian Mbappe have no excuses to leave. We really have everything to win all tournaments. We're a great team today. 

"We have respect for others but we are there with them. We work. And it's not over. We need to keep going, to stay calm because the Champions League is not over. 

"We need to work more every day. The confidence is there. The secret is work. The details also make the difference."

PSG's elimination of Bayern is the first instance in Champions League history of the previous season's losing finalists eliminating the holders in the knockout stages.

Mauricio Pochettino's PSG have reached the semi-finals for the second season in a row, after managing to reach the final four only once in their previous 11 campaigns in the competition before that – their first in 1994-95.

PSG, though, failed to score at home in the Champions League for the first time in 24 games, since a 0-0 draw with Madrid in October 2015.

Neymar felt Paris Saint-Germain's team spirit and willingness to work for one another was key to their Champions League quarter-final triumph over holders Bayern Munich.

Former PSG forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting scored the only goal of the thrilling contest at Parc des Princes, but a 1-0 win on the night for Bayern saw them go out 3-3 on away goals.

Neymar was named man of the match after he had more shots (six), more shots on target (three) and made more key passes (three) than any other PSG player, hitting the crossbar and then the post during the first half.

"I am very happy, despite the defeat. We faced a great team. We are also a great team and we showed it," Neymar told RMC Sport after a moment of sweet revenge for last season's final defeat at the hands of Bayern.

"We eliminated the European champion. Now we are in the semi-finals and we still have to work more, improve and we hope to have a good half.

"We are really a team, we talk to each other a lot. Marquinhos [the centre-back who was absent through injury] spoke to us during the match to help us organise ourselves.

"We are a really competitive team, all together. We saw that [Angel] Di Maria ran a lot, we must congratulate everyone."

In Marquinhos' absence, Presnel Kimpembe took the captain's armband and excelled at centre-back.

A product of PSG's youth system, Kimpembe echoed Neymar's sentiments and singled out Colin Dagba for praise after his display at right-back marking last season's final match-winner Kingsley Coman.

"A lot of joy, emotion, because this was a very difficult match. We lost but the game was characterised by a great team performance," he told RMC Sport.

"I want to say, I am proud. Even though we lost, it remains very positive. For me, it means a lot to be able to have PSG youth products on the pitch, it shows that there is soul in this club.

"Colin showed what he was capable of, I am very proud of him. Collectively we did the job, but I would like to congratulate him because he was hyper-focused."

Kimpembe believes some of PSG's painful Champions League defeats over recent years make success over Bayern a little sweeter, focusing particularly on their 2019 reverse against Manchester United when he was controversially penalised for handball and Marcus Rashford netted a decisive penalty.

"The club never stops growing, day by day, year by year. I am the proof, I struggled to rebound after what happened two years ago. When you fall, you need to figure out how to get back up again.

"Tonight was a battle, a war but we fought well. The most important thing is the qualification and now we are going to try and savour this a bit, even though we have to quickly get back to it in Ligue 1.

"We have a big message for our supporters. We want to thank them. Our thoughts are with them, we want to thank them."

When Monaco and Manchester City embarked upon a sensationally riotous Champions League last-16 affair in 2017, a livewire forward with a combination of technique and pace to leave the most seasoned defenders utterly mortified scored in both legs as the Ligue 1 side went through 6-6 on away goals.

That young man was Kylian Mbappe. But it was also, in a losing cause, Leroy Sane.

Four years on from a knockout tie that marked out both players as potentially dominant figures for the decade to come in European football, each had points to prove at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday.

Mbappe was looking to add to the argument that he is the finest player in the world right now, Paris Saint-Germain's talisman in their quest for elusive continental supremacy. Sane was trying to prove he belongs at Bayern Munich.

In all competitions this season, Mbappe has 33 goals and 10 assists, following up his brace as PSG edged Bayern 3-2 in the quarter-final first leg by scoring one and setting up another in a 4-1 win over Strasbourg. Only Robert Lewandowski (50) – oh, how heavily his absence weighed upon the Bavarian giants' eventual exit – and Harry Kane (45) have more than Mbappe's 43 goal involvements among players in Europe's top five leagues.

Sane has scored four times in the Bundesliga and not at all in the league since January 3. If Serge Gnabry was not undergoing a period of coronavirus isolation, it is doubtful the winger would have had the chance to atone for an ineffective first-leg showing.

It pays not to be ineffective when the remaining array of attacking talent are cranking merrily through the gears. Mbappe and Neymar grab the limelight but, flanked by Angel Di Maria and Julian Draxler, the entire PSG forward line was irresistible during the first half.

One piece of skill to humiliate Benjamin Pavard might mean Mbappe apologising profusely the next time France's national team gets together. However, as in the first leg, Bayern were in no mood to drop deeper and rob Sane, Kingsley Coman and the rest of a platform to lay siege to the PSG goal.

Similarly, the hosts would not instantly go long. They would play through the ravenous press because Mauricio Pochettino says so and Leandro Paredes – both as easy on the eye and robust as a polished marble slab – relished the challenge in holding midfield.

When it worked, their magnificent forwards were away; when it didn't, PSG were incredibly vulnerable. The opening 20 minutes felt like two heavyweights swinging big punches while balancing on highwires.

Neymar's soft feet and underestimated hard edges were at the heart of some of the most eye-catching moments. A wonderful body swerve left David Alaba in his wake and he curled against the bar. Then he hit the post.

The tempestuous Brazilian superstar often seems to think the fates are conspiring over the course of 90 minutes. When Bayern bounced off the ropes for Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting to scramble home against his former club, making it 3-3 on aggregate, it was tempting to think Neymar might actually have a point.

Sane forced Keylor Navas into a sharp save in first-half stoppage time and he threaded a superb ball through for Thomas Muller to almost put Bayern ahead in the tie after the hour.

By that time, Neymar had produced more outrageous skill and agonisingly failed to turn home with the goal gaping. Jerome Boateng nonchalantly backheeled the loose ball behind for the corner, apparently so mesmerised by the fancy footwork that he had to join in.

Boateng wasn't the only jack of all trades as Neymar tore back into his own half after Sane skipped past Paredes. He didn't tackle him. Mbappe did.

It was an utterly colossal contest. Mbappe strayed just offside before he throttled one into Manuel Neuer's net, the Germany goalkeeper somehow seeing out a clean sheet that will be scant consolation.

Then, in stoppage time came Sane's moment. He had found PSG replacement left-back Mitchel Bakker very much to his liking during the final half hour and darted into space down the right channel. There was time to cut back on to his favoured left foot and pick the pass for the winning goal.

Sane mishit the cross, the unflappable Keylor Navas grasped it and PSG were out of the woods. After another Champions League classic settled on away goals, he and Mbappe remain on very different trajectories.

Paris Saint-Germain took their revenge as they reached the semi-finals of the Champions League at the expense of last year's winners Bayern Munich, losing 1-0 on the night but sneaking through on away goals.

A dazzling first-half performance from Neymar could have seen the Brazilian score a hat-trick for PSG before the break, but for brilliance from goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and two shots against the Bayern woodwork.

It therefore became worrying for the hosts, who were beaten by Bayern in the 2019-20 final, when Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting nudged the visitors ahead at the Parc des Princes and back to 3-3 on aggregate in the 40th minute.

But Bayern were without their injured talisman Robert Lewandowski and head coach Hansi Flick could have used his immense goal threat as the Bundesliga side chased the second goal they needed, ultimately without avail.

Neuer had to save well from Neymar in the early stages after Kylian Mbappe's run down the left and cut-back caused Bayern's defence to panic.

The goalkeeper made his second huge save from Neymar in the 27th minute when Mbappe's clever pass found the Brazilian 12 yards from goal, with the goalkeeper charging out to block brilliantly.

A third followed when Neymar showed quick feet on the edge of the penalty area and unleashed a blistering left-footed effort. Neymar then curled a delicious shot against the bar and moments later hit the foot of the right post from Mbappe's pass.

Yet entirely against the run of play, Choupo-Moting headed Bayern ahead. Keylor Navas was only able to parry a tame shot from David Alaba, and Choupo-Moting was alert to reach the ball first and nod over the line.

PSG raced forward to thrilling effect early in the second half, with Kylian Mbappe feeding Angel Di Maria to the right of goal, and the Argentinian's prod beyond Neuer and across goal was agonisingly out of the reach of the stretching Neymar as an empty goal beckoned.

Navas did well to thwart Thomas Muller just after the hour as Bayern, heading out on the away-goals rule, looked for the strike that would put them ahead in the tie.

They continued to forage, but whereas a 1-0 win over the Parisians was enough for glory last August in Lisbon, here it meant Bayern's title defence was over.

Paris Saint-Germain are 90 minutes away from avenging their Champions League final defeat to Bayern Munich.

The Ligue 1 champions go into the return leg of the quarter-final with Bayern at the Parc des Princes with a one-goal advantage and with their talisman eyeing a slice of history in Europe's elite club competition.

If PSG complete their task and ensure there is to be a different name on the trophy this year, then in-form Chelsea will fancy their chances of lifting club football's most sought-after prize.

Led by the man who guided PSG to the showpiece last season, the Blues hold a comfortable lead in their last-eight encounter with Porto.

All the evidence points to Chelsea going through to the semis as they look to replicate their team of 2011-12, who overcame Bayern in a penalty shoot-out in the final.

Here we look at Tuesday's quarter-final clashes with the help of Opta numbers.

 

Paris Saint-Germain v Bayern Munich - Omens against holders as Mbappe eyes record

The holders must score at least twice if they are to keep their hopes of retaining the trophy alive, having lost the home leg of this rematch of last season's final 3-2 at the Allianz Arena.

And history is against Hansi Flick's side turning it around. 

PSG have won all four previous games when they have hosted Bayern in European competition between 1994 and 2017.

Bayern have been eliminated on each of the most recent four occasions they have lost the first leg of a Champions League knockout tie, while only three of the past 50 teams to lose the first leg at home in the competition have progressed.

However, one of those teams did so against PSG, Manchester United coming from behind to knock out the Ligue 1 side at the Parc des Princes in the last 16 in 2018-19.

If PSG are to unseat the champions, they will likely look to Kylian Mbappe.

Mbappe was on target twice in the first leg and has eight goals in as many appearances for PSG in the Champions League this season. If he nets again on Tuesday, he will set a new record for the most goals by a French player in a single Champions League campaign, surpassing David Trezeguet in 2001-02 and Wissam Ben Yedder in 2017-18.

Should he score against Bayern once more, he will have netted in four consecutive knockout appearances for the second time in his career, having done so with Monaco in 2017, and would become the first PSG player to achieve that feat. 

 

Chelsea v Porto - Seville shock unlikely to be on the cards

Thomas Tuchel's Blues will not have the benefit of any home comforts when Chelsea attempt to finish the job and reach the last four having won 2-0 in the first match.

As with the opening leg, Chelsea and Porto will do battle in Seville due to coronavirus restrictions, with the odds firmly in the London club's favour.

Indeed, there have been only four previous instances of a team progressing after losing the home leg of a Champions League knockout tie without scoring – Ajax in 1995-96 v Panathinaikos, Inter in 2010-11 v Bayern, United in 2018-19 v PSG and Tottenham in 2018-19 v Ajax.

Porto pulled off one of the shocks of the Champions League when they knocked out Juventus in the last 16, however, they will need to reverse a worrying trend if they are to do the same to Chelsea.

Since beating Leicester City 5-0 in the group stages of this competition in December 2016, Porto are winless in seven matches against English sides in the Champions League (D2 L5), scoring only twice while conceding 16 goals themselves.

The smart money is on that streak continuing, with Chelsea unbeaten in the Champions League this season (P9 W7 D2 L0).

They could become the first Premier League team to go unbeaten across their first 10 games in a season in the competition since Liverpool in 2017-18 (11 games).

A solid defence has been key to their success in Europe this term, as Chelsea have kept seven clean sheets in nine Champions League matches this season, the joint-most along with Manchester City; the last side to keep more clean sheets in a single campaign in the competition was Juventus in 2016-17 (nine).

The Blues are looking to keep a clean sheet in four consecutive matches in the tournament for the first time since a run of six ending in March 2008. 

Great credit for that run must go to goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, who can tie the record of Fabian Barthez (eight with Manchester United in 2002-03) for the most consecutive Champions League games won by a goalkeeper for an English club with another triumph over Porto.

Jesse Lingard has been in blistering form during his six-month loan spell at West Ham.

As a result, speculation is rife over the 28-year-old England international's future.

Lingard is contracted with parent club Manchester United for one more season.

 

TOP STORY - EUROPEAN GIANTS CIRCLE FOR LINGARD

European powerhouse clubs Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Inter are all interested in Lingard, claims ESPN.

Lingard has scored eight goals in nine games for the Hammers, who are surprisingly sitting fourth in the Premier League.

ESPN reports those clubs are monitoring Lingard's situation, with West Ham keen to sign him permanently and the player yet to declare a preference, although it is believed he wants to play  Champions League football.

 

ROUND-UP

- Serbia international Sergei Milinkovic-Savic has garnered interest from European giants Manchester United, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. The midfielder is contracted with Lazio until 2024.

- Manchester United may have missed out on Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho last off-season but they are set to revive their interest, says the Manchester Evening News.

- Calciomercato reports that French winger Ousmane Dembele is open to joining Juventus from Barcelona in the next transfer window.

- Tottenham are making their move to sign off-contract Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng, reports Sky Germany.

- Arsenal have joined the race to sign Celtic forward Odsonne Edouard, alongside Leicester City, according to the Telegraph.

- Tuttosport says Torino's Italy international forward Andrea Belotti is being courted by Chelsea, Everton, AC Milan and Atletico Madrid.

- Fiorentina want to hire Gennaro Gattuso from Napoli as their next coach, claims Sky Sport Italia. Gattuso is out of contract at Napoli at the end of the season.

Bayern Munich will approach Wednesday's quarter-final second leg against Paris Saint Germain with the confidence expected of Champions League holders.

Sure, they lost 3-2 in an enthralling meeting at the Allianz Arena last week and are without star striker Robert Lewandowski, but Hansi Flick's men had more than enough chances to have emerged victorious and face up to a PSG defence likely to be without the influential Marquinhos.

The main problem for Bayern is Kylian Mbappe's apparent bid to turn the competition into his own personal playground.

Having put Barcelona to the sword with a hat-trick at Camp Nou in the previous round, the France forward was PSG's match-winner once more with a brace in Bavaria.

When the second leg gets under way, Mbappe will be 22 years and 115 days old. No player has scored more than his 27 goals in the Champions League by that age. For reference, Lionel Messi had 18, Raul 12, Wayne Rooney 12 and Cristiano Ronaldo three at the same vintage.

A place among the Champions League greats looks to be Mbappe's for the taking and we've decided to compare his Barcelona and Bayern performances to some of the most memorable goalscoring outings of recent years on the biggest stage.

Lionel Messi – Barcelona 4-1 Arsenal: April 6, 2010

A second-leg penalty from Mbappe as PSG overcame Barcelona 5-2 on aggregate in the round of 16 made him the youngest player in Champions League history to reach 25 goals at 22 years and 80 days, usurping the great Messi.

Of course, Mbappe still has plenty more to accomplish if he is to get close to Messi's deeds in the competition. The six-time Ballon d'Or winner has won Europe's top competition four times. Barca were triumphant finalists in 2009 and 2011, with Messi netting in each game against Manchester United. They fell short in 2009-10, but a dominant quarter-final win over Arsenal that season found him at his very best.

The Gunners battled to a thrilling 2-2 draw at Emirates Stadium and led at Camp Nou through Nicklas Bendtner, but the tie was as good as over before half-time as Messi compiled a blistering hat-trick – smashing in from the edge of the area, finding the roof of the next with an opportunistic effort and then racing clear to sublimely lob Manuel Almunia.

He nutmegged the Arsenal goalkeeper having dribbled through a bedraggled defence for his and Barcelona's fourth. Messi's haul came from eight shots overall, with six on target. Three goals came from his impeccable left boot, with the second right footed. He stamped his mark all over the contest, completing 46 of 52 passes and making 77 touches – a greater level of overall involvement than any other performance on this list.

Robert Lewandowski – Borussia Dortmund 4-1 Real Madrid: April 24, 2013

Injury has robbed us of the Mbappe v Lewandowski showdown we crave and the quarter-final first leg might have panned out differently if Bayern had been able to call upon their attacking talisman.

Lewandowski's deadly finishing has been a constant over the past decade and he produced a breakout performance in the 2013 semi-finals against Real Madrid, while still at Borussia Dortmund.

The Poland striker reached to volley home Mario Gotze's eighth-minute cross and controlled Marco Reus' mis-hit shot to finish smartly early in the second half – prompting a run of three goals in 16 minutes as Lewandowski showed immaculate close control to rifle into the top corner before converting a penalty in similarly emphatic fashion.

All Lewandowski's goals came from inside the area, all with his right foot as he netted four of five attempts on target (seven in total) to fire Dortmund towards an all-Bundesliga final against his future employers.

Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid 4-2 Bayern Munich (aet): April 18, 2017

Mbappe has the opportunity to build on eight goals in this season's competition in the return against Bayern – the joint-most by a French player in a single campaign alongside Wissam Ben Yedder (2017-18) and David Trezeguet (2001-02).

In terms of huge one-season hauls, Ronaldo sets the gold standard. His 17 en-route to glory with Real Madrid in 2013-14 were followed by 16 in 2015-16 and 15 in 2017-18 as Los Blancos claimed three in a row.

In between, when Madrid went all the way in 2016-17, Ronaldo's personal total was – by his own remarkable standards – a relatively meagre 12. However, six of these came in quarter-final and semi-final hat-tricks versus Bayern and Atletico Madrid.

The Bayern treble was the most dramatic as Madrid diced with elimination. They lost 2-1 in 90 minutes at the Santiago Bernabeu but Ronaldo would not be denied, netting in the 76th minute and then twice more in extra time to complete a perfect hat-trick from nine attempts, five of which were on target.

Cristiano Ronaldo – Juventus 3-0 Atletico Madrid: March 12, 2019

Ronaldo's ambition of winning a sixth Champions League at a third club looks set to come up short after Juventus's meek exit against Porto last month. But during his first season in Turin, everything appeared to be falling into place against a familiar foe.

Atletico Madrid won the first leg of the last-16 encounter 2-0, but the writing was on the wall from the moment Ronaldo powered in a towering back-post header in the 27th minute.

Early in the second half, Jan Oblak could only claw away another headed Ronaldo attempt from behind the goal line and the Atlei goalkeeper had no chance when faced with penalty from the Portugal great five minutes from time.

Ronaldo netted with all three of his attempts on target, while his five efforts overall on the night had an xG value of 1.39.

Lucas Moura – Ajax 2-3 Tottenham: May 8, 2019

The 2018-19 season provided relentless drama when it came to improbable comebacks and Tottenham were surely down and out when 2-0 behind after 35 minutes Amsterdam, nursing a 3-0 semi-final aggregate deficit against an Ajax side who had already seen off Real Madrid and Juventus. Enter Lucas Moura.

The Brazilian forward, leading the line for Spurs in Harry Kane's injury absence, streamed into the Ajax penalty area to pull one back early in the second half and by the time he engineered space to dispatch a fine left-footed finish in the 59th minute, the whole complexion of the contest had changed.

Five minutes of stoppage time had just expired when Lucas clipped a third with his trusty left boot to break Ajax hearts. Opta began collecting xG data in the Champions League in 2013-14. Of the hat-tricks on this list with those figures available, Lucas' is the only one with an overall shot value (0.88) below an xG of one.

Kylian Mbappe – Barcelona 1-4 Paris Saint-Germain: February 16, 2021

Despite Messi putting Barcelona ahead with a first-half penalty, Mbappe soon took charge. Magnificent close control, nimble movement and a thumping finish with his left brought PSG level.

Mbappe was again happy to crash home with his weaker foot on the other side of half-time and curled in a majestic strike on the counter-attack after Moise Kean made it three. Four of his six attempts (xG 1.84) were on target in an all-action display.

It made Mbappe the third player in Champions League history to score a hat-trick against Barcelona after Faustino Asprilla for Newcastle United and Andriy Shevchenko for Dynamo Kiev in 1997.

Kylian Mbappe – Bayern Munich 2-3 Paris Saint-Germain: April 7, 2021

Mauricio Pochettino's men overwhelmed Barcelona at Camp Nou but were forced to play a different game against Bayern last week, spending long spells on the back foot.

This gave Mbappe the chance to show his ruthless side as he scored from each of his two shots, albeit helped by an error from Manuel Neuer for the opener. A fit-again Neymar laid on that goal and he and Mbappe have assisted one another 10 times in the Champions League since joining forces in 2017-18 – at least three more than any other pair during this period.

Neymar also set up compatriot Marquinhos to make it 2-0 before Eric Maxim Choupo Moting and Thomas Muller brought Bayern level.

Mbappe's electrifying pace and unerring poise were again on display when he cut inside Jerome Boateng to send the winner fizzing past Neuer at his near post. His five away goals in the knockout rounds is already a single-season record in the Champions League. To earn the chance to add to that number, there is first some mouth-watering business to attend to at Parc des Princes.

Bayern Munich head coach Hansi Flick is "absolutely convinced" Kylian Mbappe will win the Ballon d'Or in his career.

Mbappe was the star of the show in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final tie between Bayern and Paris Saint-Germain, scoring twice as the holders were beaten 3-2 in Germany.

Should the 22-year-old score in the return fixture in Paris, he will become the first French player to reach nine goals in a single Champions League season.

Mbappe has scored 33 goals and provided 10 assists in 39 games this season in all competitions. Only Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski (42) has scored more, while only the Poland star (50) and Tottenham's Harry Kane (45) have had more direct goal involvements.

Ahead of the second leg on Tuesday, Flick explained why there is no doubt in his mind that Mbappe will one day be crowned the best player in the world.

"He will win the Ballon d'Or one day, I am absolutely convinced of that," said Flick. "He has everything. He is fast, he has good technique and – most importantly – he scores a lot of goals."

Bayern forward Thomas Muller also admires Mbappe and accepts the Bundesliga champions' system will always make it risky to play against the PSG attack.

"He is very dangerous," said Muller. "With our style of play, space will automatically be created.

"Neymar and Mbappe usually stay up front, they don't defend but they stay in a dangerous situation for a counter-attacking chance. You're never going to be able to keep them out of the game completely."

Bayern had gone 17 Champions League games without defeat under Flick until PSG's victory last week and must now end a four-game losing away run against PSG if they are to progress.

Only three of the previous 50 teams to lose the first leg of a Champions League knockout tie have gone through to the next round, but one such instance involved PSG, when they were stunned by Manchester United at the last-16 stage two seasons ago.

"We had many chances in the first leg, but weren't so clinical. We have to do better. We know it won't be easy, but we will give everything," said Flick.

"We know we have to score at least two goals. It will be a tough task, but these are the games we play football for. We want to cause a mini upset in Paris. Of course, we'll be delighted if we manage that."

Robert Lewandowski has stepped up his recovery from a knee injury as Bayern Munich aim to overturn a first-leg deficit against Paris Saint-Germain without their prolific striker.

Lewandowski suffered damage to his right knee while on international duty with Poland in March, ruling him out of both games against PSG in the Champions League quarter-final tie.

However, Bayern were able to provide a positive update on Monday, with the 32-year-old resuming running duties at the club's training facilities.

In his absence, the reigning European champions were wasteful in the first meeting with their French opponents last week, resulting in a 3-2 loss on home soil.

Hansi Flick's side had 31 attempts, the most in a single Champions League fixture since the start of the 2003-04 campaign. Their expected goals (xG) value of 3.8 was the highest for a team in the competition this season.

Thomas Muller accepts Bayern must be more ruthless in the return fixture in the French capital, but he is confident they have the quality – even without Lewandowski, who has scored 42 goals in all competitions this season – to turn the situation around and seal a place in the last four.

"We'll approach the game as we normally do," Muller told the media.

"It's important to balance risks in individual situations. We won't be going all-out-attack from the off, but we will try to score an early goal.

"We would be happy to have as many chances [as in the first leg]. We need to make better decisions in critical moments. We have done some analysis and I hope we can implement it.

"Unfortunately, we have suffered a few injuries, but we feel we have the quality and are mentally capable of turning the game around."

While Lewandowski is a certain absentee, Flick confirmed in his press conference that Lucas Hernandez, Jerome Boateng, Leon Goretzka and Kingsley Coman had all trained with the squad on Monday, adding: "We assume that those who trained can play."

Only three of the last 50 teams to lose the first leg at home in a Champions League knockout tie have managed to progress, albeit one of those occasions came when PSG were knocked out by Manchester United at the last-16 stage in 2019.

Bayern have been eliminated in each of the last four instances when losing the first leg, all coming in consecutive seasons between 2014-15 and 2017-18.

Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed Marquinhos and Marco Verratti are unlikely to start the second leg against Bayern Munich as Paris Saint-Germain look to reach the Champions League semi-finals.

Verratti, along with fellow Italy international Alessandro Florenzi, missed the first meeting between the teams in Munich after testing positive for COVID-19.

However, the duo have received the all-clear and are back in training ahead of the return fixture in the French capital, with PSG holding a 3-2 advantage at the halfway stage in the tie.

Pochettino told the media on Monday he is yet to decide on his line-up, with Marquinhos remaining a doubt due to a thigh injury.

"We haven't decided the team for tomorrow yet, but it will be difficult for Verratti to start," the PSG boss said in his pre-game news conference. "Florenzi will be assessed further tomorrow."

On Marquinhos' status, he added: "We will see how he feels tomorrow. In theory, he could be involved in the squad, so we will see.

"I don't think he will be able to start, certainly, but he may be able to be on the bench. We will decide that on Wednesday."

PSG knocked out Barcelona in the previous round 5-2 on aggregate, though were held to a 1-1 draw at home in the second leg following a resounding triumph at Camp Nou.

Pochettino is well aware that the tie with Bayern – who he made clear are the best team in the world – is much tighter, meaning his players must find the right balance between retaining their slender advantage and also posing problems in attack for their opponents.

"At home to Barcelona, particularly in the first half, we found it very hard to keep the ball, even with Verratti and Leandro Paredes in the team," Pochettino said.

"It is not about individual names but collective attitude. We have to have a different approach from the Barcelona game while understanding that we don't just need to defend but also to keep the ball to attack and hurt the opposition.

"This is the challenge that lies ahead, and once again we have a positive first-leg result to build on."

PSG have won all four of their previous games in which they have hosted the German side in European competition, while only three of the previous 50 teams to lose the first leg at home in a Champions League knockout tie have managed to progress.

Pochettino, though, is well aware of the size of the task the hosts face against the defending champions, with Bayern having gone 16 games unbeaten in the competition under Hansi Flick prior to the loss on home soil last week.

"The Barcelona game is the past, Bayern are the best team in the world at the moment so they will certainly make it difficult for us," the former Tottenham head coach said.

"We need the strength and ability to manage those moments, just as we did in the first leg in Munich.

"They are world champions who have won six trophies in recent months. We are the pretenders and contenders to win the trophy. We have to consider all the circumstances surrounding the tie.

"If we get through to the semi-finals, it will be a big achievement for the club. PSG want to win every competition we are involved in, but beating Bayern Munich, in itself, would be a big feat."

Where will Kylian Mbappe be playing next season is a question being asked across Europe.

The Paris Saint-Germain star has been tipped to join Real Madrid.

Should Mbappe depart Paris, PSG are reportedly drawing up a list of replacements.

 

TOP STORY – KANE AND SALAH WANTED IN PARIS

Paris Saint-Germain have set their sights on Tottenham forward Harry Kane and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah as possible replacements for Kylian Mbappe, according to Telefoot.

Mbappe has been heavily linked with LaLiga champions Real Madrid, though PSG remain in negotiations over a contract extension.

While PSG are still hopeful, the Ligue 1 holders are eyeing the Premier League should Mbappe leave the French capital.

Kane is reportedly wanted by Manchester United and Manchester City, while Salah has previously been linked with Madrid and Barcelona.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato reports Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid are chasing Inter midfielder Nicolo Barella. The Sun adds Chelsea are also interested in the Italy star.

Juventus and PSG could exchange Mauro Icardi and Paulo Dybala in a swap deal, says Corriere dello Sport. Icardi's future is up in the air, despite only joining PSG permanently from Inter last year, while countryman Dybala is reportedly nearing an exit.

- AS Diario claims United are keeping tabs on Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres, who has also been linked with neighbours City. United have also been credited with interest in Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, RB Leipzig's Liverpool target Ibrahima Konate as well as Madrid captain Sergio Ramos and team-mate Raphael Varane.

- Eintracht Frankfurt boss Adi Hutter is set to replace outgoing boss Marco Rose at Borussia Monchengladbach, reports Kicker. Rose is poised to take charge of Borussia Dortmund.

What does the future hold for Kylian Mbappe and Cristiano Ronaldo?

Mbappe has been heavily linked with Real Madrid, while Ronaldo's future at Juventus is far from certain.

A possible switch to the Spanish capital could reportedly impact Ronaldo.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE OUT, RONALDO IN AT PSG?

Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo could join Paris Saint-Germain if Kylian Mbappe leaves for Real Madrid, according to Tuttosport.

Mbappe has long been tipped to swap Ligue 1 holders PSG for LaLiga champions Madrid, who have been linked with Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and Inter forward Romelu Lukaku.

If Mbappe makes the move to the Santiago Bernabeu, it could send Ronald to Paris as Juve look to reduce their wage bill in Turin.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Athletic reports Harry Kane will ask to leave Tottenham if they do not qualify for next season's Champions League. The Spurs star has been linked with Manchester United, Manchester City and Madrid.

Barcelona are eyeing Tottenham defender Davinson Sanchez, claims Mundo Deportivo. The LaLiga giants are not rumoured to be interested in Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng, who is set to depart Bavaria at season's end.

- The Mirror says Liverpool are interested in signing Barca star Pedri, who reportedly has a release clause around £70million (€81m).

United have been warned West Ham will not accept an offer to include Jesse Lingard as part of a deal to prise Declan Rice to Old Trafford, claims The Sun. United are also keen to bring back Sam Johnstone from West Brom if David de Gea or Dean Henderson leave.

- Bild says Liverpool are entering the final stages of a deal for RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate. Premier League rivals United have also been linked.

Jamal Musiala's goal was not enough for Bayern Munich as they were held 1-1 draw by Union Berlin in a match which was hardly ideal preparation for Tuesday's Champions League showdown with Paris Saint-Germain.

Hansi Flick named a much-changed team for the Bundesliga game sandwiched between the two-legged quarter-final tie with PSG, and it appeared as though one of the fresh faces would prove decisive when Musiala – who later went off injured – slotted in.

Yet Bayern, who also lost Kingsley Coman to injury, were punished for sloppy defending late on when Marcus Ingvartsen bundled in from close range, with help from the unfortunate Josip Stanisic.

While ending a six-match winning run in the Bundesliga, the result also sees Bayern's lead at the top cut to five points, with RB Leipzig defeating Werder Bremen.

Bayern Munich face mounting injury problems ahead of Saturday's showdown with Union Berlin, as Hansi Flick fears Niklas Sule could miss the second leg with Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.

Sule, Leon Goretzka, Lucas Hernandez and Marc Roca will all be absent when Bayern return to Bundesliga action at the weekend.

Defender Sule and midfielder Goretzka were both injured in the 3-2 quarter-final first-leg loss to PSG, with the former a major doubt for the return match.

"Leon Goretzka, Niklas Sule, Lucas Hernandez and Marc Roca will all be unavailable," said head coach Flick.

"Niklas Sule and Leon Goretzka have muscular problems. Leon's problems aren't quite as bad as Niklas'.

"So Niklas will probably miss the second leg versus PSG as well. We need to wait and see how things develop.

"Marc got injured against Leipzig. He started training again but had to stop. Lucas suffered a knock, this is nothing to do with his abdominal muscle injury, but it's painful.

"We're hoping Leon and Lucas will be available in Paris."

Despite Bayern's midweek setback in defence of their Champions League title, Flick's men sit seven points clear at the Bundesliga summit ahead of the visit of seventh-placed Union Berlin.

Union held the German champions to a 1-1 draw in December and Flick expects another tough test from Urs Fischer's side.

"We want to beat Union, but it will be difficult," he said. "We will also be taking workload into consideration however, but three points are our priority.

"I like their mentality and the way they play football. They run a lot and are very dynamic. The coach is doing an outstanding job and I'm looking forward to seeing him again."

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