Champions League group stage recap: Paris and Messi coming to the boil
Tuesday, February 15, 2022
With Lionel Messi still finding his feet, there looks to be plenty more to come from this Paris Saint-Germain team.
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Lionel Messi has already made his presence felt, but Paris Saint-Germain were forced to settle for second in their group. Be warned, though; there's plenty more to come from this team.
Campaign so far
Group A runners-up: W3 D2 L1 F13 A8
Top scorer: Lionel Messi (5)
15/09: Club Brugge 1-1 Paris (Vanaken 27; Herrera 15)
28/09: Paris 2-0 Man City (Gueye 8, Messi 74)
19/10: Paris 3-2 Leipzig (Mbappé 9, Messi 67 74pen; André Silva 28, Mukiele 57)
03/11: Leipzig 2-2 Paris (Nkunku 8, Szoboszlai 90+2pen; Wijnaldum 21 39)
24/11: Man City 2-1 Paris (Sterling 63, Jesus 76; Mbappé 50)
07/12: Paris 4-1 Club Brugge (Mbappé 2 7, Messi 38 76pen; Rits 68)
Campaign in ten words: Star-studded team with huge potential still seeking right balance.
UEFA.com reporter's view
Despite coming second in their group to Manchester City, Paris remain among the chief contenders for the trophy. The 2019/20 runners-up have everything required to go one better this term – most notably attacking talent in Kylian Mbappé, Neymar and Lionel Messi – but they must improve their consistency in Europe, and Mauricio Pochettino needs to find the best way to support his 'MNM' spearhead.
What we’ve learned
That individual attacking talent – however illustrious – isn't necessarily enough on its own to outwit well-drilled, top-tier teams like City. That said, Messi has laid down a marker with five goals in as many appearances and is sure to have bedded himself in further still by the time the knockouts start. With him in top form, anything is possible.
Fantasy star performers
Kylian Mbappé – 44 points
Lionel Messi – 33 points
Marquinhos – 24 points
Out: Teddy Alloh
Clubs could register a maximum of three new eligible players prior to the knockout stage. Since 2018/19, it no longer matters whether those players have already played in the competition for another club, even for another club still in the competition.
• Messi has now scored two or more goals in a UEFA Champions League game on 35 occasions.
• During the group stage, Messi moved up to third on the list of all-time UEFA Champions League appearance-makers.
• Mbappé's opening goal on Matchday 6 was Paris's 250th in the UEFA Champions League, group stage to final.