Bayern Munich will play host to Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday for the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals. Unfortunately for Bayern, they’ll have to do so without talisman Robert Lewandowski, who currently faces up to four weeks on the sidelines due to a knee jury suffered on international duty with Poland. He’ll likely miss the second leg on Paris as well.
In a recent interview with Le Parisian (via RMC Sport), PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino said that Bayern not having Lewandowski isn’t exactly an advantage in his eyes. He knows that Bayern is still one of the best teams in Europe at the moment and is well aware of the result between the two sides in the final in Lisbon, Portugal last season where former PSG player Kingsley Coman scored the winner.
“We are not stupid, Bayern are not an easy team, they are the reigning European champions. But there is no need to have an inferiority complex. We will go to Munich with respect, but with the objective of qualifying for the semifinals,” Pochettino explained.
Pochettino recalled when he was Tottenham Hotspur manager and had to play Manchester City in the Champions League without Harry Kane in 2019 — the Spurs still progressed to the semifinals, and eventually the final, which they lost to Liverpool 2-0 in Madrid.
“I have a good example. With Tottenham, in the quarterfinals against Manchester City in 2019, Harry Kane is injured in the first half of the first leg. We play almost an hour and the second leg without him, our best striker. Essentially, like Lewandowski for Bayern. And we qualified. Bayern is not only Lewandowski, who is a huge player. But the real strength of Bayern is its squad, its team. enormous strength,” Pochettino said.
For the reigning Ligue 1 Champions, they’ll be without both Marco Verratti (illness, injury) and Leandro Paredes (suspension). Danilo Pereira and Layvin Kurzawa are questionable for the first leg as well. Both sides will have their absentees, but Bayern not having Lewandowski will be a huge blow for Bayern, despite Pochettino denying so.