Paris Saint-Germain - Dinamo Zagreb Preview: Ancelotti's men aiming to rebound against struggling Croatians
The French side are hoping to make amends for a shock league defeat at the weekend, and secure a win against the visitors, who are on the brink of elimination
By Mohammed Ali
Jallet, Sakho, T. Silva, Maxwell
Verratti, Chantome, Sissoko
Vida, Puljic, Simunic, Pivaric
Vrsaljko, Kovacic, Ademi
Paris Saint-Germain could be without midfielders Blaise Matuidi and Clement Chantome with both men substituted in the shock 1-2 defeat to Saint-Etienne on Saturday. Matuidi has played all but 70-odd minutes in Ligue 1 for the hosts, and could well be rested in favour of Mathieu Bodmer - should Chantome not recover in time.
Meanwhile, Zlatan Ibrahimovic will play his final match before sitting out through suspension after catching Stephane Ruffier with a reckless tackle, with the likes of Ezequiel Lavezzi and Nene close to returning to first-team action.
Captain Christophe Jallet could return in favour of Gregory van der Wiel, after being benched on Saturday, as PSG look to maintain their European momentum.
Dinamo Zagreb coach Ante Cacic could well name the same line-up that managed a 3-1 win over Istra 1961 on Friday, as they seek to score a shock victory.
18-year-old Mateo Kovacic will be the main player to watch, along with Sammir, Domagoj Vida and Sime Vrsaljko, though 16-year-old Alen Halilovic - who came on in the return in Croatia two weeks ago - is the name on many lips in European football.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- PSG's 2-0 win over Dinamo on matchday three was their first ever match against Croatian opponents in European competition.
- The French outfit can assure themselves of at least a place in the Europa League if they win on Tuesday evening.
- Carlo Ancelotti's men sit joint-top of Ligue 1, despite Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Saint-Etienne.
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic's mother hails from Croatia.
- Dinamo Zagreb must beat Paris Saint-Germain or be eliminated from the Champions League on Tuesday, with two games to spare.
- The Croatian side sit 11 points clear at the top of their domestic league, having been champion in their last seven successive seasons.
- Ante Cacic's men lost in France last season, going down 2-0 to Olympique Lyonnais at Stade Gerland, before suffering a 7-1 reverse.
- Dinamo have won just one of their last seven matches in France, and have lost the last three.
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Top 3 Predictions
Paris Saint-Germain 3-0 Dinamo Zagreb
- 21.05 %
Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 Dinamo Zagreb
- 14.52 %
Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 Dinamo Zagreb
- 9.8 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Nov 6, 2012||Paris Saint-Germain 4 - Dinamo Zagreb 0|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Oct 24, 2012||Dinamo Zagreb 0 - Paris Saint-Germain 2|
|Dec 10, 2013||Benfica 2 - Paris Saint-Germain 1||UCL|
|Dec 7, 2013||Paris Saint-Germain 5 - FC Sochaux 0||FRA1|
|Dec 4, 2013||Evian Thonon Gaillard 2 - Paris Saint-Germain 0||FRA1|
|Dec 1, 2013||Paris Saint-Germain 4 - Olympique Lyonnais 0||FRA1|
|Nov 27, 2013||Paris Saint-Germain 2 - Olympiakos Piraeus 1||UCL|
|-||Mohamed Lamine Sissoko||Midfielder|
|23||Gregory van der Wiel||Defender|
The Italy goalkeeper was not his usual self on Saturday against Saint-Etienne. Normally a cool and calm individual, he was flustered and unconvincing after letting in two goals. Typically a solid pair of hands in goal, and tipped to be Gianluigi Buffon's successor in the Azzurri set-up, Sirigu is undoubtedly one of PSG's best players, and will hope to do his bit in securing qualification at one of the earliest opportunity.
The 18-year-old up and coming star has perhaps been overshadowed by the emergence of 16-year-old Alen Halilovic, but the attacking midfielder remains one of Europe's best teenage talents. Kovacic was a little unassuming in the side's first game in Croatia two weeks ago, but he can make a real impact and retake the spotlight if he shines in Paris. A fantastic passer of the ball, and a great ability to string attacking opportunities, Kovacic will be one to watch.
PSG will want to bounce back on Wednesday after their league capitulation, and with Ibrahimovic soon to be suspended in Ligue 1, he will want to also make a good account of himself with an act of redemption. For Dinamo, their record in France speaks for itself, so don't expect too many surprises.