Malmö in Paris for PSG Champions League clash

AFP/The Local
AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Malmö in Paris for PSG Champions League clash

Sweden's only team in the Champions League, Malmö FF, are in Paris on Tuesday night where they will face former club player and top Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic in a showdown with Paris Saint-Germain.


Malmö FF's Norwegian coach Åge Hareide told Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet ahead of the game that he felt his side had a "stronger midfield" and a generally much better squad than last season, when they finished bottom of their Champions League group, losing five out of six games.
"PSG have stronger individuals, but it's early in the season, there is an advantage to meeting them now," he said.
The Swedish title-holders will take on the French Champions at the Parc des Princes in the opening round of games in Group A.
But PSG are overwhelming favourites to get points on the board against the Swedish side which evicted Celtic from the competition in the play-offs.
Coach Laurent Blanc said earlier this week that how Paris Saint-Germain deal with Malmö on Tuesday could shape the rest of his ambitious team's Champions League campaign.
"The crucial thing is to win tomorrow. Now as before PSG want to win the Champions League. And it will happen one day. When, I don't know, but before thinking about the ultimate success we have to win on Tuesday," he said.
"The first group match can shape the rest of the campaign...We have to to be at 100 percent, 120 percent, to beat Malmö," the Frenchman added.
"Before dreaming of better in the competition we have to win points to be in the first two in the group."
For PSG's talismanic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic Tuesday's encounter sees him come up against the team from his hometown and with whom he started his career.
The Swede sat out Friday's 2-2 Ligue 1 draw with Bordeaux due to an abdominal injury, but Blanc told the AFP news agency on Monday that he hopeful the star scorer could start.
"His injury is much better and I hope he has a big chance of lining up," said Blanc.
On his top forward feeling any extra motivation facing his formative club, the coach commented: "I hope above all that it makes him want to score goals."
While PSG have reached the quarter-final stage in the last three years, Malmö are making only their second group stage appearance following last year's debut campaign.
“They are huge favourites and have world class players in every position," Malmö player and Swedish international defender Anton Tinnerholm told regional newspaper Sydsvenskan on Monday.
"But we showed against Salzburg and Celtic that we have the level,” he added.


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