Tuchel expects Neymar to face Red Star in Champions League

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AFP
The Brazil captain was absent for a Ligue 1 draw against Strasbourg, but his manager says the PSG star should be fit to face the Serbian side

Neymar is expected to be fit to face Red Star Belgrade in a Champions League decider, says Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel.

The Brazil captain was substituted in a Ligue 1 draw at Bordeaux on December 2 after aggravating a groin problem and he missed PSG's following game, another draw at Strasbourg, due to the injury.

PSG did not play at the weekend as their game against Montpellier was postponed due to civil protests in Paris, giving Neymar a chance to build his fitness.

And Tuchel is hopeful the forward will come through Monday's training session and be available for PSG, who will qualify from Group C if they beat Red Star having won their last game at home to Liverpool.

"Neymar will train with the group tonight, he should play tomorrow if all goes well," Tuchel told a news conference.

"It's the same for [Eric Maxim] Choupo-Moting who will be testing this Monday, if he can do the training normally, he will be there. As for who'll play in goal, we must discuss with the staff and see.

"Training here tonight in Red Star's stadium is a good chance to feel the pitch and become familiar with it. I prefer to train here, but we organised the trip two weeks ago because the match against Montpellier was scheduled for Saturday and it would have been impossible to do the tactics on Sunday."

Neymar's fellow forward Kylian Mbappe also feels the Brazilian will be passed fit to take on Red Star in Belgrade, where a fearsome atmosphere is anticipated.

"With Neymar, we get along better and better," Mbappe told reporters. "But there is not a problem for a player like him, he will be there and he will demonstrate his quality to help us win.

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"In our group there have been very hot atmospheres. Tomorrow is a new experience, I have never been to Serbia at the professional level. We are coming for qualification, we will not have much time to watch the fans.

"There is a before and after Liverpool - we have done something beautiful, we have shown that we can respond to the intensity of a Champions League game. We'll have to do it again tomorrow night.

"It's up to us to step it up and show that we can play better than what we've shown so far."

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