RB Leipzig (white shirts) left it late against Atletico Madrid but Tyler Adams’ deflected strike in the 88th minute secured them a 2-1 win and a place in the UCL semifinal against PSG. Photo By @RBLeipzig_EN (Twitter).
- On Tuesday, August 18, it’s the first semifinal of the UEFA Champions League between RB Leipzig and PSG
- PSG start as favorites but RB Leipzig have been the tournament’s surprise team and are on a roll
- We’ll preview the game, look at the odds, some stats, and offer a pick
The 2019-20 UEFA Champions League (UCL) has at last reached the semifinal stage, with the tournament being concluded as a series of one-off ties in Portugal. In semifinal 1 in Lisbon, Paris Saint-Germain will play the tournament’s surprise team, RB Leipzig (Tuesday, August 18, KO 4pm ET).
We’ll preview the game, list the odds, compare some stats, and offer a pick.
RB Leipzig vs Paris Saint-Germain Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline||Total at FanDuel|
|RB Leipzig||+1 (+105)||+350||Ov 2.5 (-154)|
|Paris Saint-Germain||-1 (+195)||-135||Un 2.5 (+126)|
Odds taken Aug 15
Late Winners All Round
Both sides come into this one off the back of dramatic late winners in their respective quarterfinals, and so will head into this Lisbon clash full of belief and confidence.
For PSG – already winners of the French quadruple – it took a late turnaround of extraordinary proportion to see off the tournament’s underdogs, Atalanta, who had gone ahead in the 26th minute of their quarterfinal.
𝕀ℕ𝕋𝕆 𝕋ℍ𝔼 𝕊𝔼𝕄𝕀-𝔽𝕀ℕ𝔸𝕃! ✅
❤️ #WeAreParis 💙 pic.twitter.com/ajCPIK2OgO
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) August 12, 2020
The plucky Italians almost saw the job through but were halted in their tracks by a 90th-minute equalizer from PSG’s Brazilian defender Marquinhos and then, with both teams mentally preparing for extra-time, in the most dramatic of twists, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting sent PSG through with a winner three minutes into stoppage time. It secured the French champions their first semifinal appearance in 25 years.
First Semi for RB
Leipzig’s route to the semifinal was only slightly less dramatic, with USA international Tyler Adams’ deflected strike in the 88th minute securing a 2-1 win for the Germans over Atletico Madrid. Again, this one looked destined for extra-time after the Spanish side equalized on 71 minutes – Dani Olmo had given the Germans a 50th-minute lead – but Adams’ strike was decisive.
For the Germans, this is their first season in the knockout stages of the Champions League – having only made the group stages previously – and it’s made all the more impressive as it’s been achieved without the services of former prolific goalscorer Timo Werner, who left the club in July to join Chelsea.
RB Leipzig vs Paris Saint-Germain UCL Head-to-Head Stats
|9 / 6||Games played / Wins||9 / 7|
|3-0 vs Tottenham Hotspur (h)||Biggest win in 2019/20 UCL||5-0 vs Brugge (a) & Galatasary (h)|
Injury Worries for Tuchel
PSG’s long-awaited journey to the latter stages of the UCL – the Parisiens are one of the best-funded clubs in world soccer – has come at a cost, with several of Thomas Tuchel’s stars struggling for full fitness. Star striker Kylian Mbappe was able to play 30 minutes in the Atalanta game – after recovering from a rolled ankle – and may be available to start against Leipzig, but fullback Layvin Kurzawa and midfielder Marco Verratti are both expected to miss out again as they recover from strains.
2020 UEFA Champions League Odds Tracker
They are also likely to be without first-choice goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who had to be substituted in the latter stages of the Atalanta game -Sergio Rico is again likely to deputize – while captain Thiago Silva should be fit play despite picking up a minor hamstring tear in the quarterfinal. Midfielder Angel Di Maria is also available again after suspension.
For Leipzig, center-back Ibrahima Konate misses out again as he recovers from hip surgery, while summer signings Hwang Hee-chan and Benjamin Henrichs are both ineligible for the UCL, but RB has fewer injury doubts than PSG, which will count in their favor.
Can RB Prosper Without Werner?
For the Germans, the big thing will be how well they can replace the firepower of Werner against elite opponents. While the win against Atleti was courtesy of a solid all-round performance, they did struggle in the final third with Yussuf Poulsen unsurprisingly unable to offer the same level of threat of Chelsea’s new striker.
“Sometimes it feels a bit unreal” – The story of our American’s journey from the Red Bull Academy in New York to a @ChampionsLeague semi-finalist 📖
🔗 https://t.co/5DxlLvYaQQ pic.twitter.com/UdBzUGNMkm
— RB Leipzig English (@RBLeipzig_EN) August 15, 2020
In addition to needing to find more potency in attack, they also must quell the threat of a PSG forward line that includes Neymar and, possibly, Mbappe – a very different task to the one they achieved successfully against Atleti, who were very limited in their ambition. Neymar, in particular, was very wasteful in front of goal against Atalanta and so don’t expect him to misfire so badly in two consecutive games.
RB has done phenomenally well to get this far in the competition and this one is a big ask, but worth noting is that manager Julian Nagelsmann was once under the tutelage of Tuchel and so will know how PSG are likely to approach this. It may be closer than the odds suggest and, while I can see PSG making the final on August 23, they may need extra-time. For me, there’s value here in the draw.
Pick: Leipzig & PSG to draw after 90 mins (+300)
Once just a sports fanatic, fan-turned-writer Gary Gowers has been featured on European television and radio networks to discuss several professional football clubs. His work can be found in an assortment of publications like The Metro, MyFootballWriter.com, and BBC Radio Norfolk.