UEFA fears over their Champions League final pitch: PSG and RB Leipzig are told they CAN’T train at Benfica’s stadium to keep the turf in top shape in a marathon of matches
- PSG and RB Leipzig won’t train at the Estadio da Luz on eve of their semi-final
- UEFA wants to preserve the pitch ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash
- It will be the third match played on the surface at the Lisbon venue in a week
- PSG star Kylian Mbappe could be fit to start the match after his ankle injury
- They will also be boosted by the return from suspension of Angel Di Maria
- Both PSG and Leipzig are aiming to reach their first Champions League final
Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig have been asked not to train on the pitch at the Estadio da Luz ahead of their Champions League semi-final.
UEFA wants to ensure the playing surface at the Lisbon arena is as pristine as possible for Tuesday night’s showdown and so the customary training session at the venue the night before won’t happen.
Instead the two teams will train elsewhere on Monday as Benfica’s home stadium gears up to stage a third match in the space of a week.
UEFA has asked Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig not to train on the Estadio da Luz pitch
The Lisbon venue is set to stage its third match in a week on Tuesday evening
The quarter-final games between Atalanta and PSG last Wednesday and Barcelona vs Bayern Munich on Friday were also played at the 64,000-capacity ground, with Sunday’s final also due to be played there.
PSG and Leipzig will meet in European competition for the first time ever, with the winner of Wednesday’s Lyon vs Bayern Munich semi-final awaiting them in Sunday’s showpiece.
A new finalist is guaranteed with both clubs aiming to reach European football’s top game for the first time. PSG beat Italians Atalanta 2-1 courtesy of a late turnaround in their quarter-final, while Leipzig defeated Atletico Madrid 2-1 to reach this point.
PSG are in the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since the 1994-95 campaign, when they were eliminated over two legs by AC Milan.
PSG beat Atalanta with a dramatic late turnaround to book their semi-final place last week
RB Leipzig celebrate after they defeated Atletico Madrid with a late goal last Thursday night
France hasn’t seen one of its sides in a Champions League final since Monaco lost to Porto in 2003-04 but PSG will start as favourites against a Leipzig club founded just 11 years ago by the energy drinks company Red Bull.
They have since risen from the fifth tier of German football to this landmark occasion and could well win Europe’s top prize before they’ve even won a German league title.
PSG have craved Champions League success since their Qatari takeover back in 2011 but this is the first time they’ve reached the final four after a succession of last-16 and quarter-final disappointments.
With the single-legged format offering the remaining teams a unique opportunity, PSG are optimistic this could be their time.
‘We have a very capable team,’ said defender Marquinhos, who scored one of the goals against Atalanta. ‘Not only the first team players, but at the moment our squad is much stronger compared to previous seasons.’
Kylian Mbappe (right) could be fit enough to start alongside Neymar (left) in the semi-final
PSG will also welcome back Angel Di Maria, who was suspended for their quarter-final
Midfielder Ander Herrera added: ‘I think everyone could see after the game against Borussia Dortmund [in the last 16] that something special had happened. Everyone wants the same thing and is pulling in the same direction.’
In a further boost for PSG, their star striker Kylian Mbappe could well be fit enough to start against Leipzig having come off the bench against Atalanta as he recovers from an ankle injury.
Angel Di Maria will also return from suspension to ensure their forward line is at full strength with Neymar, outstanding in the quarter-final win, a natural pick.
Goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who had to be replaced against Atalanta because of a right leg muscle injury, is listed as doubtful.
Veteran defender Thiago Silva is expected to play after tests showed only a low-grade tear in his right hamstring.
It remains unclear if American Tyler Adams, who scored Leipzig’s late winner over Atletico Madrid, will be on the bench again or will make the starting lineup for Julian Nagelsmann’s team.