Athletic Bilbao vs PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN
UEFA Europa League
Venue: Estadio San Mames
Date: 29th September 2011
Kick-Off: 20:05pm (GMT)
Following the fantastic result in Montpellier last weekend, Paris Saint-Germain now turn their attention to Europe for a fascinating encounter with Spanish side Athletic Bilbao in the Europa League.
Antione Kombouare’s men kicked off their European adventure in emphatic fashion two weeks ago at home to Red Bull Salzburg, where a Mathieu Bodmer stunner contributed to a 3-1 home win. Since then the club have registered two wins, one draw and are sitting joint top of Ligue 1 with Lyon.
Tomorrow’s game with Bilbao is the first time both sides have met in European competition. Bilbao have only played one French club before and were eliminated from the first round of the 1984-85 European Cup by Bordeaux.
Our opponents have started their La Liga campaign in disastrous fashion. They are currently sitting in the bottom three after picking up just two points in three games. However, they did win their opening Europa League fixture away to Slovan Bratislava in a 2-1 victory.
They will be without influential playmaker Ander Herrera who is out for up to five weeks with a knee injury and will be sorely missed by the Spaniards. They do still possess a number of figures who can be instrumental in attack. Markel Susaeta will be a tricky customer out on the wings who has nimble feet and pace to really give his opposite numbers some food for thought. Fernando Llorente, their star man up top will lead the line and his physical presence will need to be dealt with by Diego Lugano and Zoumana Camara in central defence.
As for PSG, both Jeremy Menez and Kevin Gameiro have been left home to recuperate for the huge Ligue 1 tie with Lyon at the weekend. They are the only two notable absentees from Kombouare’s travelling party along with defender Milan Bisevac who is still nursing a groin problem.
The good news for the Parisians is that Bilbao have not won in their last three European matches at home, where as PSG have won their last three European games , scoring nine goals in the process and conceding just one.
Although Bilbao have had their problems this season, they will still be a resilient and difficult outfit to break down. PSG can find joy down the flanks if Nene is giving the right kind of service he received in Montpellier at the weekend from the likes of Pastore and Blaise Matuidi.
This is arguably the club’s most difficult fixture in Group F. If they can take something back to the French capital, it will be a more than creditable result.