What would playing PSG mean for the Reds?
Manchester United could face French champions Paris Saint-Germain in the group stages of the 2020/21 Champions League.
But what sort of threat would PSG pose? What’s our record like against them, and how did they secure a spot in Europe’s premier competition? We’ve got the answers to those questions and many more…
We’ve actually only been paired with PSG once before in a European tournament. That, of course, came in 2018/19 when the Reds dumped the side from the French capital out of the Champions League. PSG had earned a 2-0 lead from the first leg of that last-16 tie, thanks to goals from Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe at Old Trafford. However, at the Parc des Princes, United put in a gritty, resolute showing and emerged with a 3-1 win to ensure our passage to the last eight. It was a dramatic injury-time penalty from Marcus Rashford that wrapped things up that night, after Romelu Lukaku’s first-half brace.
Six players have represented United and PSG, the first of whom was Ray Wilkins in the 1970s and ‘80s. Since then, Gabriel Heinze, David Beckham and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have worn the colours of both clubs with large degrees of success. Two of the current roster at the Ligue 1 outfit also previously played for the Reds. Angel Di Maria spent one season at Old Trafford in 2014/15, before he joined PSG, meanwhile, Ander Herrera played nearly 200 games for the Reds in five seasons and swapped Manchester for Paris last summer.
PSG enjoyed another successful season last time out and won their seventh Ligue 1 title in eight years, despite the French division being curtailed due to the outbreak of COVID-19. The Parisians were 12 points clear after 27 matches (with a game in hand) and were awarded the title on a points-per-game basis. Thomas Tuchel’s men also wrapped up the Coupe de France with a 1-0 win over Saint-Etienne in the final, while seven days later a penalty shoot-out triumph over Lyon meant they also claimed the Coupe de la Ligue. PSG had hoped to add to their domestic treble when the Champions League returned in August, but after eliminating Atalanta and RB Leipzig, the Parisians came unstuck in the final against Bayern Munich. Former PSG man Kingsley Coman grabbed the only goal of the game, as the Germans were crowned European champions for a sixth time.
PSG’s side is packed full of world-class talent, but it’s hard to look past the intoxicating skill of Neymar when selecting the squad’s pre-eminent star. The Brazilian lit up the latter stages of the Champions League with his skill and trickery, something fans of European football have come to expect from the former Barcelona man. Neymar doesn’t shoulder the burden alone, and he has come to rely on his partner in crime Kylian Mbappe in the past three seasons. The rapid frontman, who was a pivotal part of France’s 2018 World Cup triumph, has scored 90 goals in 124 appearances for PSG and bagged 30 in all competitions in 2019/20.
Thomas Tuchel has been in charge at the Parc des Princes for two seasons, winning the league title in each campaign. The German began his coaching career at Augsburg’s reserve side, before progressing to Bundesliga outfit Mainz and then Borussia Dortmund. Tuchel replaced Unai Emery at PSG in 2018 and last season led the club to their first-ever appearance in a Champions League final, as well as winning a domestic treble.
Get ready for next season. Our 2020/21 home and away kits are available now from United Direct.