Paris Saint-Germain is hoping Kylian Mbappe can make a rapid recovery from injury and feature in Tuesday’s Champions League showdown with Bayern Munich as the French club aims to put a run of poor form behind in a tie that could define its season.
Mbappe was ruled out for three weeks after suffering a thigh injury in a game at Montpellier on February 1 but he returned to the training pitch Sunday and again on Monday.
The France superstar was then named in a squad of 22 for the last 16, first leg at the Parc des Princes, suggesting that he will play some part against the German giants.
However, PSG coach Christophe Galtier said there were no guarantees that the 24-year-old, who scored seven goals in six matches during the group stage, would even be named as a substitute for the game.
“He trained well and the feedback is positive but it is not yet sure that he will be on the teamsheet. We will look at things tomorrow morning,” Galtier told reporters on Monday.
Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann had previously suggested PSG was playing mind games when it announced the France superstar would not be fit for the first leg.
“I am assuming and anticipating that he is going to start. It is my job as head coach to be prepared for him playing and to try to prevent him from damaging us,” Nagelsmann, who is without the injured Sadio Mane, said in Paris on Monday.
Meanwhile, Galtier denied that PSG was considering naming Mbappe as a substitute just to frighten its opponent in a repeat of the 2020 Champions League final, won 1-0 by the Germans in Lisbon.
“If he is on the teamsheet it will be to play, but I don’t know how long it would be for,” said the coach.
Lionel Messi and Marco Verratti were also named in the squad after sitting out PSG’s 3-1 defeat at Monaco on Saturday, which was its second consecutive loss and fourth in 10 games in 2023.
There have been doubts about Bayern’s form too, but it has lost just once all season and sits top of the Bundesliga.
PSG’s slump has raised the spectre of another frustratingly early exit from the Champions League for the Qatar-owned club.
It has gone out of the competition in the final 16 in four of the last six campaigns, including last season against eventual winner Real Madrid.
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