Neymar expected to return as Paris St Germain take on Red Star Belgrade

Neymar is expected to be back in action for Paris St Germain as the French club look to secure their place in the last 16 of the Champions League against Red Star Belgrade, head coach Thomas Tuchel confirmed.

The Brazil international has been out of action since he was forced off during the second half of the 2-2 Ligue 1 draw at Bordeaux on December 2 because of a groin problem.

However, the world’s most expensive player has travelled out to Belgrade for the crucial Group C clash, where PSG will be guaranteed progress should they win, regardless of the result at Anfield between Liverpool and Napoli.

Tuchel said at a press conference reported by the club: “Neymar will train with the group tonight, he should play tomorrow if all goes well.”

Despite the complicated scenarios for the potential group outcomes – which if PSG draw could see qualification down to head-to-head records between the three sides – Tuchel wants his team to focus on the job in hand.

PSG have not played since a 1-1 draw at Strasbourg on December 5, after their scheduled home game against Montpellier was postponed for security reasons following civil disturbances in the French capital.

Tuchel said: “Winning here is a big challenge. We respect the opponent, but we must achieve a great performance.

“Training here tonight in Red Star’s stadium is a good chance to feel the pitch and become familiar with it.”

The PSG coach revealed there would be a late decision on who to selected in goal, with veteran Italian Gianluigi Buffon having come in to replace Alphonse Areola for the win over Liverpool in their last European tie.

“Regarding the choice of goalkeeper, we need to discuss it with the staff and see,” Tuchel added.

PSG are currently second in the group standings, a point behind Napoli and two ahead of Liverpool with the Serbians on four.

Forward Kylian Mbappe maintains PSG’s big names will not fail to deliver the required result.

“It is up to us to step it up and show that we can play better than what we have shown so far,” the France World Cup winner said.

“I am getting along better and better with Neymar. Tomorrow he’ll show all the quality he has in order to help us win.”

Red Star were swept aside 6-1 in Paris during October, but – after beating Liverpool at home – they can still make it through to the Europa League with a shock victory if Tuesday night’s other result also falls in their favour.

Manager Vladan Milojevic maintains his side will hold no fear as the Serbians look to again upset the form book.

“You do not need to talk much about PSG. They are a great team, competitive, with big stars, but we are not afraid of anyone,” said Milojevic, whose team beat Liverpool 2-0 at the Stadion Rajko Mitic during November.

“We have a respect for them, but I hope that we will not have respect as much as in the first game.

“We have a duty to do our best, and as far as (qualification) calculations are concerned, let it be, I will accept it too.

“We will fight to the last atom of strength, and what that will bring us, with God’s help, we will see.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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