Manuel Veth –
Red Star Belgrade vs Paris – Tuesday, December 11, 20:00GMT/21:00CET – Stadion Rajko Mitić, Belgrade, Serbia
Crvena zvezda might be out of the UEFA Champions League, but the Belgrade based club could be the big difference maker in Group C. Napoli, Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool are still looking to punch their ticket for the round of 16 of the Champions League. The Serbian side, in the meantime, are already eliminated from the Champions League but with a victory could advance to the round of 32 of the UEFA Europa League.
Winners of the European Cup in 1991 Crvena zvezda might have suffered some heavy defeats on the road this season, most prominently the 6-1 defeat against Paris in the first leg but also to Liverpool (4-0) and Napoli (3-1) but at home at the Marakana the Serbian side remains undefeated during this group stage campaign.
A sensational 0-0 draw to open the campaign was followed up by a fantastic 2-0 victory over Liverpool in which striker Milan Pavkov became the unlikely hero. That win, in particular, has fostered a belief in Serbia’s capital that the side could produce another shock result and advance to the round of 32, which would be an important step towards re-establishing the club among Europe’s elite after having been in limbo for the last two decades.
Paris, in the meantime, want to repeat their 6-1 victory over Crvena zvezda. PSG are second in the standings, a point behind Napoli and two ahead of Liverpool with Crvena zvezda on four. The French club will, therefore, be through if they win, or if Liverpool do not gain victory at home to Napoli.
On paper, it is very simple for PSG. Win and they are through. Furthermore, the French side have been dominant in Ligue 1 and remain undefeated and until matchday 15 had won every single match this season. But two draws against Girondins Bordeaux and Strasbourg have somewhat hampered the moot a bit in the French capital. Nonetheless, PSG under head coach Thomas Tuchel have been excellent this season scoring an unbelievable 49 goals in 16 Ligue 1 matches.
Hence, there is still plenty at stake when the two sides meet at the legendary Marakana on Tuesday night. But with PSG’s class, it is unlikely for Crvena zvezda to upset the apple-cart once again as the Paris based club will be looking to punch their round of 16 ticket by taking all three points.
Red Star Belgrade vs Paris – Players to look out for:
El Fardou Ben #31 – Crvena zvezda
El Fardou Ben Nabouhane will be the one to watch. The forward has scored in his last six appearances for club and country, eight goals in total including two on Saturday; the Comoros forward scored nine goals in his first 11 matches for Crvena zvezda this season but managed only one in the next eight before scoring in the last five.
Kylian Mbappé #7 – Paris Saint-Germain
Kylian Mbappé will be key for PSG. The 19-year-old French forward was one of the crucial players in France’s success at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. He now leads PSG in Ligue 1 scoring with 12 goals in 11 matches scoring a goal every 70 minutes. In the Champions League, however, Mbappé has been a little less effective scoring just two goals and two assists in five games. It is a record the 19-year-old will try to improve when he faces Crvena zvezda on Tuesday as his goals will be key to see his side advance to the next round.
Red Star Belgrade vs Paris – Match Stats
- All four of Crvena zvezda’s points in the Champions League have come from home games.
- A goalless draw at home to Napoli on their group stage debut and a 2-0 win against Liverpool on matchday 4, the first victory by a Serbian club in the UEFA Champions League proper.
- The 1991 European champions have lost all three away games, conceding a total of 13 goals.
- The Belgrade club are eight European home matches unbeaten (W4 D4).
- Last season’s defeat to Arsenal is their only defeat in their last 15 European home matches (W8 D6).
- Belgrade have conceded just five goals in those 15 fixtures – and never more than one in any game.
- Before beating Crvena zvezda on matchday two, Paris had lost four European matches in a row – the worst run in their history – during which they conceded 11 goals.
- Paris have scored in all of their last 21 UEFA Champions League games since a 1-0 defeat at Manchester City in the 2015/16 quarter-final second leg (0-1).
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Red Star Belgrade vs Paris – 0-3
Red Star Belgrade vs Paris – Lineups
Borjan – Rodić, Degenek, Babić, Stojković – Srnić, Krstičić – Simić, Marin, El Fardou Ben – Pavkov
Head Coach: Vladen Milojević
Buffon – Bernat, Kimpembe, Silva, Kehrer – Marquinhos, Verratti – Neymar, Di Maria – Mbappé, Cavani
Head Coach: Thomas Tuchel
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.