DINAMO ZAGREB VS PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
VENUE: STADION MAKSIMIR
DATE: 24th OCTOBER 2012
KICK-OFF: 19:45 (GMT)
Coming off the back of the perfect weekend for the club, PSG travel to the Croatian city of Zagreb looking to get things back on track in Europe.
Domestically, things cannot get any better. The 1-0 win over Stade de Reims on Saturday not only sent us top of Ligue 1 but it also had a detrimental effect on Marseille. OM looked a foregone conclusion to pick up three points against struggling Troyes and failed, resulting in us keeping top spot – albeit on goal difference. Regardless, it is an important moment in the title race as we can now really look to get a stranglehold.
The performance at the weekend may have been less than convincing, and the play was not the prettiest at times – largely down to the influx of defenders in the team – but that winning mentality has been evidently installed. Carlo Ancelotti must take an awful lot of credit for it and the criticism of his tactics are a little unfair at times. At the end of the day it is all about results and this is still virtually a brand new team. The players are complementing each other more often than not and the consistency is there for all to see results wise. The football also has been mesmeric at times, particularly against Dynamo Kiev which was some of the finest stuff ever played at the Parc des Princes.
In Europe though, things are a little inconsistent. The defeat in Porto three weeks back was pretty abysmal in truth and nothing went right from the get go. The team were humbled by a far more superior team on the night but it should not come as a great shock. The club has not won in its last 10 European away fixtures and it is a monkey we need to get off our backs if we want to progress. The media will scrutinise the team if three points are not obtained Wednesday night against Dinamo and it will be no easy feat to achieve that.
The Blues are absolutely flying in the Croatian league, sitting at the summit, clear by seven points and having only lost one in 12 games. Their enigmatic playmaker Sammir will be the focal point of the team’s play and he is very dangerous. The Brazilian born Croatian international – only making his debut last week – has racked up 10 goals already this season. However, his fondness of the Zagreb nightlife has got him in trouble once or twice with coach Ante Cacic.
The Croats are bottom of the group with no points, losing their opening two to Porto and then Kiev. We sit in second, three points behind the Portuguese champions but know a win on Wednesday will be crucial in our quest for qualification – especially as we host Zagreb again in two weeks on home turf.
On the injury front, Mathieu Bodmer is fit and makes the squad. However, Clement Chantome, Thiago Motta and defender Mamadou Sakho are all out through injury. Nene is also missing and will be for some time after fracturing his cheek bone at the weekend. The Brazilian took to his Facebook page on Monday to clarify his situation; “Now I’m fine, I felt a horrible pain, worst I had ever felt in my life. The operation was successful, and the doctors have placed three plates to help my bones to harden. I should be discharged (hospital) this afternoon.”
Hopefully he will feel better with a Parisien win come Wednesday.
Note: The clash with Zagreb will be the first meeting between the two clubs in a competitive fixture.