PSG handed boost as star Kylian Mbappe is fit to start Champions League semi-final after setting up winner against Atalanta as Thomas Tuchel’s side prepare for huge clash
- Kylian Mbappe was a super-sub for PSG’s Champions League win over Atalanta
- The Frenchman was suffering with an ankle injury but came off the bench
- He set up the winning goal as the French side turned the game around late on
- Now the French wonderkid is set to start Tuesday’s semi-final against RB Leipzig
Kylian Mbappe is set to start as Paris St Germain face Leipzig for a place in the Champions League final on Tuesday.
The World Cup-winning France striker came off the bench to set up the stoppage-time winner as PSG dramatically came from behind to beat Atalanta in their quarter-final in Lisbon last Wednesday.
The 21-year-old had been limited to the final 30 minutes after struggling with an ankle injury but now looks set for longer involvement.
Kylian Mbappe is set to start in Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League semi-final on Tuesday
Coach Thomas Tuchel said at a press conference: ‘He has had no reaction and had six days since to work on fitness, so of course he can start.
‘We will decide after training whether he can play 90 minutes.’
Mbappe’s return at the Estadio da Luz would restore his partnership with Neymar, who was also instrumental in PSG’s late recovery against Atalanta by teeing up their last-minute equaliser.
Mbappe (right) came off the bench to star with Neymar (left) in PSG’s late Atalanta turnaround
Tuchel said: ‘Neymar has always been a leader, even when I arrived. He is showing confidence, courage, and that’s how a leader needs to act on the pitch.’
It is the first time PSG have reached the last four in 25 years and the first time since their Qatari-backed takeover in 2011 saw expectations and ambition swell.
‘We are here because we deserve it,’ Tuchel said. ‘We played a great season and worked so hard, took every match seriously.
‘We won’t talk about the past – only the present. We’re hungry for success, to succeed.’
PSG boss Thomas Tuchel says his side deserve to be in the Champions League semi-finals
Tuchel will come up against fellow German Julian Nagelsmann, who was one of his players when he coached the Augsburg reserve team early in his career.
Nagelsmann, 33, is now regarded as one of the brightest young coaches in the game but it was an injury, and an idea from Tuchel, that launched his career 13 years ago.
Tuchel said: ‘Unfortunately he was always injured but I asked him if he could scout and help me. He did a great job and look what’s become of him.’
Nagelsmann later took up the story. He said: ‘I got paid as a player but I was injured and there was a choice I had to make in order to fund my studies, so I got the chance to scout and analyse the opponents.
Tuchel (left) will come up against RB Leipzig, coached by old friend Julian Nagelsmann (right)
‘I never imagined back then I’d make it to a Champions League semi and play against him.’
Funded by Red Bull, Leipzig have made a rapid ascent through the German footballing ranks and they produced a shock to reach the semi-finals by beating Atletico Madrid last week.
Nagelsmann said: ‘The players really have the will to win, we are hungry and I can see that in their faces.
‘We were great against Atleti and now we have a chance against Paris. We want to take the next step and are ready for that.’