PSG vs. Real Madrid: Champions League betting odds, preview, and pick
La Liga giants Real Madrid visit Paris to take on Ligue 1 powerhouse PSG on Tuesday afternoon in Champions League Round of 16 action.
PSG are chasing elusive European glory
For all of their domestic success, everything for PSG’s owners comes down to what happens in Champions League. It’s why they sacked Thomas Tuchel despite him reaching the final in 2020, and it’s why Mauricio Pochettino’s future with the club will be in danger should he fail to deliver glory. PSG spent the summer amassing loads of talent, bringing keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, world superstar Lionel Messi, and right back Achraf Hakimi into a side already brimming with talent.
Things have not gone fully to plan for PSG, despite their 13-point lead atop the Ligue 1 table after a stoppage-time goal on Friday gave them a 1-0 win over Rennes. Neymar has been out since November with an ankle injury, but is expected to be on the bench for this match after returning to training. Messi has just seven goals in 20 matches played, far below what many expected from him.
Former Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has barely seen any time on the pitch, playing just 239 total minutes due to a rash of injuries. Additionally, the midfield issues continue, as PSG often struggles to make a clean transition from defense to attack, where Angel Di Maria and Kylian Mbappe can put pressure on defenses.
Ramos will miss the match with his former club, as will midfielder Ander Herrera. However, the midfield will be boosted by the return of Idrissa Gueye, fresh off his AFCON win with Senegal. The holding midfielder will provide protection for a back line that has been shining of late. In their last six matches in Ligue 1 play, PSG allowed an xG of higher than one goal just once.
Real Madrid are hopeful for Benzema return
For the visitors, everything hinges on the availability of talisman Karim Benzema. With 24 goals to his name in all competitions this campaign, he is vital to their attack and is as clutch as they come. His budding partnership with Vinicius Junior has seen the young Brazilian take the huge step forward that many hoped he would, as Vinicius has scored some stunning goals for the side this season. That said, he will hope to end a seven-match scoreless run on Tuesday.
Benzema has missed Madrid’s last three matches, but there is hope he will be ready for the visit to PSG. Should he be unavailable, Gareth Bale could start centrally as he did over the weekend in Madrid’s scoreless draw with Villarreal. The Spanish side have just one win in their last four matches in all competitions, and have scored just once in the three matches without Benzema. His absence could be a huge blow to a side going up against PSG’s solid defense.
Left back Ferland Mendy is also a doubt for the match, but could play if required. It’s more likely that David Alaba will switch to the left, giving some extra defensive help against Di Maria. The midfield will see the normal trio of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, and Casemiro pulling the strings, and will give them an advantage over the Parisians in terms of passing and ball movement.
PSG vs. Real Madrid Betting Trends
- Real Madrid have lost seven of their last 16 matches away against Ligue 1 opposition, with six wins and three draws
- Real Madrid have won just one of their last three two-legged ties with PSG
- The last 10 meetings between these sides are evenly split, with PSG winning three and Madrid taking victory in four
- The last five meetings between these sides have seen at least three goals scored in each
- PSG led the Champions League group stage with an average of 3.5 goals scored in their six matches
Expect both teams to find the scoresheet
This matchup is heavily loaded with storylines. Mbappe has been linked for months with a free transfer this summer to Real Madrid, and this gives him a chance to audition for what will likely be his future home. Messi and Madrid have long been rivals, and he will be keen to stick it to them yet again.
PSG manager Pochettino on Mbappé and Real Madrid: "Mbappé will make a decision on his future after the UCL clash with Real Madrid. I see Kylian focused on doing the best possible for PSG", he told @ellarguero. 🔴🇫🇷 #PSG— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) February 11, 2022
"We respect Kylian - it's up to him, to decide his future". pic.twitter.com/V2SvAeTd9w
The biggest storyline, however, is Benzema. Without him, Madrid’s attack simply lacks the bite it needs to win this sort of match. However, his comments on Monday made it very likely he will start the match on Tuesday. That should be enough to help Madrid secure a result, which would give them a huge advantage given the second leg is at home.
For that reason, I like Madrid to look to limit the damage, with or without their talisman, and take a share of the points on offer. That said, it’s hard to bet against PSG getting on the scoresheet, so combine the double-chance with both teams finding the scoresheet to get some Same Game Combo action on the match.
Score prediction: PSG 1-1 Real Madrid