Mon, 25/09/17, 13:30
PSG: More than just Mbappé, Cavani and Neymar
FC Bayern visit Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday evening in the second group game of this season’s Champions League. The two teams have faced off on six occasions in the past, all in Europe’s premier club competition. The last meeting was in the 2000/01 group stage. On the way to eventual victory in the competition Bayern prevailed 1-0 in Paris before winning 2-0 in the return fixture. Here at fcbayern.com we take a closer look at the Bavarians' next opponents.
Paris Saint-Germain were formed in August 1970 from existing club Stade Saint-Germain, founded in 1904 in the Paris suburb Saint-Germain-en-Laye, and achieved promotion to the French top flight in their first season. However only one year later PSG suffered a forced relegation to the third division, after infringing on French FA (FFF) regulations. In 1973 the Parisians were promoted to the second division, and only one year later were back in the top flight, where they have remained since.
PSG won their first honours in the early 1980s. The men from the French capital won the French Cup in 1982 and 1983, and the league title followed in the 1985/86 season. In the 1990s PSG won the cup three more times, the league once (1994) and the club’s greatest achievement to date, the 1996 European Cup Winners’ Cup. The most recent international success was the 2001 UI Cup.
The Parisians stagnated in the early 2000s, before a recovery that saw them win the French Cup in 2004, 2006 and 2010. In the league PSG were unsuccessful and narrowly avoided relegation in 2008. After the Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) takeover in 2011 the club’s fortunes improved rapidly: they finished second in Ligue 1 in 2011/12, before taking their third league title the following year under Carlo Ancelotti. Three further league titles have followed and PSG were victorious in the French Cup three times in a row between 2015 and 2017.
Paris Saint-Germain are 14th in the all-time Champions League table with 150 points from 83 games. This season will be PSG’s tenth appearance in Europe’s premier club competition and after huge investment in this summer’s transfer window, they are aiming for the top prize. So far the club’s greatest success in the competition came in 1994-95, when the Parisians went out to AC Milan in the semi-finals. In the past five seasons they haven’t progressed beyond the quarter-finals. Especially notable was last year’s last 16 matchup against Barcelona: After winning 4-0 at home PSG lost the second leg 6-1 and went out in Catalonia.
PSG play their home games at the Parc des Princes, which was also the home of the French national team before 1998. The arena holds 49,000 spectators, but just over 46,000 for international meetings. At home PSG are a force to be reckoned with, losing just one of their last 43 European games, and scoring at least once in 25 of the last 26.
Unai Emery has been in charge at PSG since last season. The Spaniard replaced Laurent Blanc, who brought three league titles and two French Cups to the club in three years. Emery knows how to win as well though: at Sevilla the 45-year-old was triumphant in three successive Europa Leagues from 2014-16. In his first season in Paris Emery was victorious in the French Cup, but PSG had to settle for second in the league behind AS Monaco. He hopes to go one better this season.
The PSG squad is littered with top international stars, including €222 million new signing Neymar Jr. and wonder kid Kylian Mbappé from Monaco, also captured for a vast fee. Alongside are goal machine Edinson Cavani, captain Thiago Silva, Brazilian teammates Dani Alves and Lucas, Argentine duo Angel di Maria and Javier Pastore, Italian pair Thiago Motta and Marco Verrati, and Germany internationals Kevin Trapp and Julian Draxler, who together line up in a formidable 4-3-3 formation.
After finishing a disappointing second last season PSG have been on fire so far this time round. The Parisians began with seven straight wins and outscored their opponents 21-3. The 0-0 draw in Montpellier at the weekend was the first slight setback. PSG are currently a point clear of Monaco at the top of Ligue 1, but anything other than first place this season would be a big disappointment. In the Champions League the Red and Blues also started impressively with a 5-0 romp against Celtic in Glasgow – four goals were scored by ‘MCN’, the acronym for the new attacking trio.