Trip to wine country could help PSG sober up

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Could a bit of Bordeaux cure a midweek hangover? Paris Saint-Germain’s players will answer the question on Saturday night with their visit to the Matmut Atlantique in the principal city of the wine-growing region.

PSG go into the clash top of the Ligue 1 pile by eight points after 12 games.

Mauricio Pochettino’s squad of internationals have dropped only five points since the start of the campaign.

But as their pageant in the top flight continues, it is the Champions League story which hovers lugubriously over the players.

They drew 2-2 with RB Leipzig on Wednesday night in Germany. The hosts’ equaliser came in second-half stoppage time after PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe clambered over Christpher Nkunku in the penalty area to concede the spot kick.

Equaliser

Dominik Szoboszlai swept the ball past the PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma to earn Leipzig their first point of the campaign.

Following Manchester City’s 4-1 stroll past Club Bruges, PSG dropped to second in Group A with eight points from their four games.

City boast nine, while Club Bruges in third have four.

PSG have reached the last 16 knockout stages for the last eight seasons. A ninth is not yet assured.

And it wasn't supposed to be this way after a splurge of high profile acquisitions including Donnarumma, Lionel Messi, Georginio Wijnaldum, Achraf Hakimi and Sergio Ramos.

Wijnaldum - the brunt of much criticism since his arrival on a free transfer - bagged a brace on Wednesday night and was on the verge of being the match winner but for Kimpembe’s clumsiness at the death.

Process

“We’re in a process of construction,” said Pochettino in the prelude to the clash at Bordeaux.

"That’s on an individual and collective level. For the team to work it needs a structure and solid foundations then we can build on those and have something lasting.

"Of course I’d like to win 5-0 and have loads of possession lots of pressing ... it would be ideal but it’s a long process and I’m happy with how things are going but it’s true that I don’t sleep some nights thinking about how to make it better."

The continued absence of the injured Ramos won’t help Pochettino’s insomnia nor the injury to Messi’s knee.

The 34-year-old Argentine missed the trip to Germany because of the problem and will be absent in Bordeaux.

Kimpembe has joined a sick list containing midfield schemer Marco Verratti and Leandro Paredes.

Comparison

PSG’s woes would be wonderfully welcome at Bordeaux.

They last participated in European club football’s most prestigious tournament in the 2010 when they reached the last eight.

Just over a decade on, those halcyon days are distant memories.

As 2021 fades away, they are three points above the relegation zone in Ligue 1 having won only two of their 12 games this term under Vladimir Petkovic who took over in July after leading Switzerland to the last eight at the European championships.

“Going up against PSG is obviously one of the big games of the season, said Bordeaux striker Alberth Elis.

“They’ve got some of the best players in the world so it would clearly be an achievement to win, especially as three points would be important in our situation.”

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