A second-place finish in the so-called ‘Group of Death’ left Paris Saint-Germain at the mercy of a potential blockbuster tie in the Champions League round of 16.
Luis Enrique’s side would avoid the heaviest of hitters, although Real Sociedad are an outfit capable of inflicting further continental misery of France’s dominant force despite their recent domestic slump.
Sociedad beat out last season’s finalists, Inter, to top spot in Group D.
Many have tipped the Spaniards to topple Enrique’s Parisiens despite their contrasting runs of form heading into Wednesday’s first leg. If PSG are to advance into the last eight, you feel that they must build a comfortable advantage on home soil.
Here’s how the hosts could line up for Sociedad’s visit.
GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma – There are no doubts about the Italian’s spot in the team. His two group stage clean sheets both arrived at Parc des Princes.
RB: Achraf Hakimi – Hakimi was one of PSG’s standout performers of the group stage and he’s a sure bet to return to the XI after earning minutes off the bench against Lille.
CB: Marquinhos – The skipper was one of several players rested on Saturday night with this fixture in mind.
CB: Lucas Hernandez – Enrique is still without Milan Skriniar and Presnel Kimpembe, with Hernandez likely to pip Danilo Pereira to a starting berth.
LB: Lucas Beraldo – The Brazilian is set to make his first Champions League appearance after joining the club in January.
CM: Vitinha – Enrique has opted for bold midfield combinations in this competition so far and he may well opt for the crazy by utilising Vitinha in a deeper role so he can influence the build-up.
CM: Fabian Ruiz – The Spaniard has been a steady performer for PSG this season and is deserving of a place in Wednesday’s XI over Manuel Ugarte.
CM: Warren Zaire-Emery – The teenager earned some respite at the weekend heading into this fixture by only enjoying a second-half cameo. His goal away at Borussia Dortmund fired PSG into the knockouts.
RW: Ousmane Dembele – Enrique will likely opt for the game-breaking talent of Dembele for this fixture over Marco Asensio.
ST: Kylian Mbappe – Mbappe has primarily operated with a recognised striker this season, but he could be deployed as the leading man himself in midweek. The Frenchman will be fresh after he was an unused sub in the 3-1 win over Lille.
LW: Bradley Barcola – A petulant red card against Brest last month refused to deter Enrique, who started Barcola in the next game he was available for – incidentally against Brest. He’s come into his own in recent weeks and should be in the lineup on Wednesday.
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