Serie A overachievers Atalanta face French super club PSG in the first quarterfinal tonight and we bring you predicted starting XIs and other Champions League team news.
Champions League team news
Atalanta’s red-hot Slovenian striker Josip Ilicic has withdrawn from the squad due to personal reasons related to his marriage and the alleged infidelity of his wife.
The Serie A outfit will be without first-choice goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini, who has travelled to Portugal in the hopes the club may progress and he could take part in the last four.
Marco Sportiello looks set to deputise in goal for Orobici who otherwise have a full squad to choose from.
Colombian striker Duván Zapata is expected to start as the lone frontman and will be looking to transfer excellent league form into continental competition.
Atalanta skipper Alejandro Gomez is expected to provide the impetus and should slot in just behind Zapata. The captain is often at the heart of La Dea’s attacking play.
The French treble winners have benefitted from the long lockdown break with Neymar returning to the team having played little part in the 2019/20 season.
The Brazilian’s return is so much more meaningful against the backdrop of Angel Di Maria’s suspension and the niggle picked up by France superstar striker Kylian Mbappe.
Mbappe is in a race to be fit for the Champions League quarterfinal after picking up a sprained ankle in the French Cup final.
Fullback Layvin Kurzawa has been ruled out with a hamstring issue which was picked up in training.
Marco Verratti has also been ruled out of the Champions League quarterfinal with former Manchester United man Ander Herrera set to combine with PSG’s playmaker Marquinhos.
PSG manager Thomas Tuchel should deploy Senaglese hard man Idrissa Gueye to firm up his three-man midfield.
Tuchel called on Mauro Icardi to step up in the expected absence of Mbappe.
“Mauro is very important, especially with Kylian’s injury and Edi Cavani absent,” he told a news conference.
“It will be very important that he play a great game, showing his personality, showing that he can fight in important games. He is never scared, he can always score.
“We can rely on him tactically and defensively. His integration was great with the group, which was not very complicated as we have plenty of South American players, but he really fits in this locker room.
“It’s now time for him to put us into the semis.”
Champions League team news – Predicted Starting XIs
Atalanta: Sportiello; Palomino, Tolói, Djimsiti; Hateboer, de Roon, Freuler, Gosens; A Gómez, Malinovskyi; Zapata
Out: Gollini (knee), Iličić (personal reasons)
Paris Saint Germain: Navas; Kehrer, Thiago Silva, Kimpembe, Bernat; Herrera, Marquinhos, Gueye; Sarabia, Icardi, Neymar
Out: Di María (suspended), Verratti (calf), Kurzawa (thigh)
Doubtful: Mbappé (ankle)