Red Bull Salzburg vs PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN
UEFA Europa League – Group F
Venue: Red Bull Arena
Date: 1st December 2011
Kick-Off: 20:05 (GMT)
With no win in three and last Sunday’s humiliation away to Marseille in Le Classico still fresh in the mind, Paris Saint-Germain will be hoping to book qualification to the knockout-stage of the Europa League in Austria tonight.
The disappointment of being knocked off top spot in Ligue 1 and losing consecutive games in Ligue 1 for the first time in 18 months is a bitter pill to swallow, but a European fixture will be a welcome distraction. The Parisians can guarantee qualification with just a point against Red Bull Salzburg, who they brushed aside with ease back in September at the Parc des Princes, 3-1.
If PSG’s current form is considered below par, then it is nothing compared to their opponents. RBS have only notched up two wins in 10 within all competitions. However, they have just come off the back of a 6-0 drumming of Kapfenberger, who incidentally, sit rock bottom of the Bundesliga. Nevertheless, a win is a win and that should give them a sense of fresh optimism for tonight’s game.
They sit three points behind PSG in Group F, but know full well a win can put them right back in the mix for qualification at the expense of the Ligue 1 side.
Parisian Coach Antoine Kombouare will be fully aware of the threat of Stefan Maierhofer, who has bagged six goals this season since moving from Wolverhampton Wanderers back in the summer. He has bagged three goals in his last two, with a brace coming last weekend.
As for the visitors, they will be without Jeremy Menez and Diego Lugano who both picked up knocks against Marseille. Also, Kombouare has taken the decision to leave Javier Pastore back in Paris in order for him to recuperate due to his recent loss of form.
He explained his decision to the club’s Official Site:
“I’ve rested Javier because he’s been out of form in recent weeks.” he said.
“He needs to recuperate with a specific program tailored to his needs. We’ll get him full of energy. But his absence this week is anything but a sanction for his displays. Everyone was poor against Marseille.”
Although qualification is the main priority, Tony has not ruled out the possibility of finishing top ahead of Athletic Bilbao who currently sit there with 10 points. PSG will host the Spaniards in the final game and if results go their way, that game will determine who finishes top of the pile.
“The first goal is to qualify.” Kombouare stated.
“Then, given how Athletic Bilbao get on, we’ll think about that first place in the group. We want to get back to winning ways after consecutive defeats to Nancy and Marseille.”
Getting back to winning ways is imperative and the sooner it comes the better. With one eye on the weekend clash with Auxerre, a win tonight could be just be the tonic needed to galvanise the camp and get the season back on track.