Already guaranteed to finish second in Champions League Group A, Paris Saint-Germain round off their group stage fixtures with the visit of Club Brugge on Tuesday night.
Les Parisiens fell to a 2-1 defeat to Manchester City on matchday five, while their Belgian counterparts were hit for five against RB Leipzig.
Under the cosh for the majority of the encounter at the Etihad Stadium once again, PSG managed to withstand the intense Citizens pressure and ultimately take the lead through Kylian Mbappe, but the Parisian joy would not last long.
Raheem Sterling took all of 13 minutes to restore parity for last season’s beaten finalists before Gabriel Jesus’s winner ensured that Man City would be finishing atop the pile, forcing PSG to accept a second-placed finish and a potentially more difficult knockout tie in the process.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side have also lost their golden touch in Ligue 1 since the start of the month, firstly drawing with Nice before rescuing a point against Lens, as Keylor Navas fumbled Seko Fofana’s long-range effort before Georginio Wijnaldum salvaged a draw with a last-gasp header.
PSG can only boast one win in their last four across all competitions heading into their encounter with Brugge, and they missed the opportunity to make it 10 wins in a row at the Parc des Princes during the visit of Nice, but Brugge still face an uphill battle for success this week.
Indeed, Pochettino’s side are now unbeaten in their last 12 competitive fixtures at their capital headquarters and have already beaten Man City and Leipzig on home turf in the 2021-22 Champions League, but the visitors still have plenty to play for.
An opening draw with PSG and victory over Leipzig had Club Brugge down as a European surprise package for some, but Philippe Clement’s side have been unable to maintain that intensity and are now battling for the Europa League consolation prize.
The Belgian giants faced an injury-hit RB Leipzig on matchday five but were still taught a footballing lesson by the Bundesliga powerhouses, with Christopher Nkunku and Emil Forsberg both putting two past them while Andre Silva also got in on the act.
Brugge start the final matchday bottom of the rankings in Group A – level on four points with Leipzig but with a far worse goal difference – so defeat to PSG will dash their hopes of Europa League football no matter what transpires in the other fixture between Leipzig and Man City.
Clement’s men have responded to that humbling in perfect fashion with three consecutive victories in the league and cup, though, most recently overcoming RFC Seraing 3-2 in the top flight thanks to Bas Dost’s double and Cisse Sandra’s effort.
A total of 16 goals have been scored across Brugge’s three consecutive domestic wins – nine for them and seven for their opposing sides – and as previously mentioned, PSG had to settle for a 1-1 draw on Belgian turf only three months ago.
Paris Saint-Germain Champions League form:
Paris Saint-Germain form (all competitions):
Club Brugge Champions League form:
Club Brugge form (all competitions):
We say: Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 Club Brugge
Shipping 14 goals in their last three Champions League games – as well as at least two in their last seven in all tournaments – is seemingly a recipe for disaster for Brugge, but PSG have not exactly been ruthless in recent days.
Some expected alterations on the hosts’ end could also have Clement’s side stepping out onto the turf with a sense of optimism, but Pochettino’s men will still expect to march to a routine win in front of their own fans.