Though it is the first time they are making it this far in the UEFA Champions League, Italian side Atalanta are by no means a pushover going into the first of the quarter-finals against an ambitious PSG team.
While Atalanta have surprised everyone and even themselves to make it this far, big spenders are still some hurdles away from their long time ambition of conquering Europe.
PSG have already claimed all three domestic honours on offer in France and are now looking to triumph on the continental stage for the first time to complete a historic season.
On attention on Wednesday night will be on the one-legged match that will be played at the Estadio da Luz after the remainder of UEFA’s showpiece competition was switched to Lisbon in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
After a run of three straight seasons being eliminated at the round of 16, Paris Saint-Germain are into the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2016. One-legged ties may also suit PSG, who in recent years have tended to implode in second legs.
Similarly, many are also tipping Atalanta as dark horses to win the Champions League this season due to the new streamlined format playing into their hands.
Gian Piero Gasperini’s side remarkably scored 98 goals in Serie A in 2019/20, at least 17 more than any other side in the division
PSG are without some of their top guns going into this crucial time.
Argentine star Angel di Maria is suspended for this one and injuries to midfielder Marco Verratti and Kylian Mbappe appears almost certain to rule the duo out even though there is a slight chance for the French star.
Thankfully for PSG, Neymar is fully fit and has scored 12 goals in his last 16 knockout games – only Cristiano Ronaldo (33), Lionel Messi (16) and Robert Lewandowski (14) have more since 2014-15.
For Atalanta, Gian Piero Gasperini will probably stick with a front three of Ruslan Malinovskiy, Alejandro Gomez and Duvan Zapata since Ilicic is not expected to play any part.
At the other end of the field, goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini has been ruled out with an injury and will be replaced by Marco Sportiello, who made just five league starts this term.
Atalanta BC Champions League form: LDWWWW
Atalanta BC form (all competitions): WDWDWL
Paris Saint-Germain Champions League form: WWDWLW
Paris Saint-Germain form (all competitions): WWWWWW
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