Champions League

PSG ready to clinch Champions League glory

2017-09-11 09:54
Neymar (Supplied)

Paris - Paris Saint-Germain kick off their latest bid for Champions League glory at Celtic on Tuesday bolstered by the big-money signings of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

The French giants will be hoping that their lavish close-season spending can help finally achieve their Qatari owners' dream of lifting the European Cup.

PSG responded to last season's disappointments of losing the Ligue 1 title to Monaco and their stunning Champions League last-16 defeat at Barcelona, by smashing the world record transfer fee with the €222 million signing of Neymar from Barca.

While Qatar's billions produced four consecutive French titles from 2013-2016, that form has yet to translate to European competition.

PSG's last, and only, Champions League semi-final appearance was in 1995, with four straight last-eight exits followed by the harrowing 6-1 second-leg loss at the Camp Nou earlier this year, having beaten Barca 4-0 in the first game.

But with the additions of Neymar and Mbappe, hopes are high that Unai Emery's men can put their continental troubles to bed.

"We are more than ready for the Champions League," said defender Thomas Meunier after a 5-1 thrashing of Metz on Friday.

"We are a very good group, we can see that on the bench today with all the options we have.

"Every footballer plays for the Champions League, and with the team we have this year, we must show the world that we want to go further than in previous years."

Teenage sensation Mbappe joined from Monaco on deadline day on a season-long loan, with an option to buy for a fee that could reach a staggering €180 million.

"It's too early to say (how far we can go), we haven't even played yet," said Mbappe, who scored on his debut against Metz.

"We have a good team and a lot of confidence, but we know that there's still a lot of work to do. We'll go to Glasgow to win and to start well.

"I've always said that the Champions League is a special competition, it is the competition for the big players and where we see the big players."

'Special night' in store

PSG will have their European credentials tested by what promises to be a spine-tingling atmosphere at Parkhead, as Celtic look to cause an upset in Group B after an underwhelming return to the Champions League group stages last season.

Brendan Rodgers' men have gone from strength to strength since the turn of the year, and are unbeaten in their last 54 domestic matches.

"What we've learned from our first game of the Champions League last year is that we're not going to be as passive," said Rodgers.

"They're (PSG) a world away from where we're at in terms of finances but it's going to be an incredible night.

"It's the first game of the Champions League against one of the great teams now of the competition, it will be another special night at Celtic Park.

"We'll look forward to the challenge and we'll recover well and prepare well for it."

PSG's fellow wannabee members of the European elite, Manchester City, came unstuck with a 3-3 draw at Celtic Park last season, and the Scottish champions still have the potential to be a danger on home turf.

While Celtic won the 1967 European Cup with a 15-man squad made purely of players born within 30 miles of their stadium, Paris have flung an expensive net far and wide in an attempt to emulate the likes of the 'Lisbon Lions'.

Over 50 years since Celtic's finest hour, PSG are fed up of waiting to dine at football's top table.

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Fixtures
Tuesday, 26 September 2017
Sevilla v Maribor, Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan 20:45
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 20:45
APOEL v Tottenham Hotspur, Neo GSP 20:45
Spartak Moskva v Liverpool, Otkrytiye Arena 20:45
Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid, Signal-Iduna-Park 20:45
Monaco v Porto, Stade Louis II. 20:45
Napoli v Feyenoord, Stadio San Paolo 20:45
Besiktas v RB Leipzig, Vodafone Stadyumu 20:45
Wednesday, 27 September 2017
Qarabag v Roma, Bakı Olimpiya Stadionu 18:00
Juventus v Olympiakos Piraeus, Allianz Stadium 20:45
Sporting CP v Barcelona, Estadio Jose Alvalade 20:45
Atletico Madrid v Chelsea, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 20:45
PSG v Bayern Munchen, Parc des Princes 20:45
Basel v Benfica, St. Jakob-Park 20:45
Anderlecht v Celtic, Stade Constant Vanden Stock 20:45
CSKA Moskva v Manchester United, VEB Arena 20:45
Tuesday, 17 October 2017
Real Madrid v Tottenham Hotspur, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu 20:45
Manchester City v Napoli, Etihad Stadium 20:45
Maribor v Liverpool, Ljudski vrt 20:45
APOEL v Borussia Dortmund, Neo GSP 20:45
Spartak Moskva v Sevilla, Otkrytiye Arena 20:45
RB Leipzig v Porto, Red Bull Arena 20:45
Monaco v Besiktas, Stade Louis II. 20:45
Feyenoord v Shakhtar Donetsk, Stadion Feijenoord 20:45
Wednesday, 18 October 2017
Qarabag v Atletico Madrid, Bakı Olimpiya Stadionu 18:00
Juventus v Sporting CP, Allianz Stadium 20:45
Bayern Munchen v Celtic, Allianz-Arena 20:45
Barcelona v Olympiakos Piraeus, Camp Nou 20:45
Benfica v Manchester United, Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz) 20:45
Anderlecht v PSG, Stade Constant Vanden Stock 20:45
Chelsea v Roma, Stamford Bridge 20:45
CSKA Moskva v Basel, VEB Arena 20:45
Tuesday, 31 October 2017
Celtic v Bayern Munchen, Celtic Park 21:45
Sporting CP v Juventus, Estadio Jose Alvalade 21:45
Atletico Madrid v Qarabag, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 21:45
Manchester United v Benfica, Old Trafford 21:45
PSG v Anderlecht, Parc des Princes 21:45
Basel v CSKA Moskva, St. Jakob-Park 21:45
Olympiakos Piraeus v Barcelona, Stadio Georgios Karaiskaki 21:45
Roma v Chelsea, Stadio Olimpico 21:45
Wednesday, 01 November 2017
Besiktas v Monaco, Vodafone Stadyumu 19:00
Liverpool v Maribor, Anfield 21:45
Porto v RB Leipzig, Estadio Do Dragao 21:45
Sevilla v Spartak Moskva, Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Shakhtar Donetsk v Feyenoord, Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v APOEL, Signal-Iduna-Park 21:45
Napoli v Manchester City, Stadio San Paolo 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v Real Madrid, Wembley Stadium 21:45
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