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PSG faces Bayern in first major challenge since Neymar buy

Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar, Angel Di Maria and teammates train before their match against Bayern Munich.
Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar, Angel Di Maria and teammates train before their match against Bayern Munich. Reuters/Benoit Tessier

Paris Saint-Germain faces a big challenge Wednesday night at the Parc de Princes, playing Bayern Munich in a Champions League match that offers the team an opportunity to test itself against one of the continent’s heavyweights.

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"When I was in Spain, I watched the big clubs… and I saw that every year they would buy the best players in the world," said PSG coach Unai Emry, ahead of the match. "The team here has taken big steps towards competing with the best sides.”

Bayern Munich have vocally criticised PSG for the amount of money it has spent on players recently, notably for Brazilian superstar Neymar and French forward Kylian Mbappe.

Neymar is now the most expensive football player of all time, after he signed to PSG in August for 222 million euros. Mbappe is the second-most expensive player; the team paid about 145 million euros, plus 35 million in add-ons, to transfer him from Monaco.

Neymar is set to return to play tonight, after a minor toe injury - which made him miss a weekend draw with Montpellier.

Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti downplayed the game for his team: “It’s only the beginning of the season, so it will be an important game…. Not a decisive, prestigious game of course. We want to show our best, we want to try to win and we want to try in the first place of the group. This is the goal. Nothing worse."

Monday’s match will be the first time that Ancelotti is back at the Parc des Princes since he left PSG in 2013, after leading the team to the Ligue 1 title.

Nemar vs. Cavani

The game will also be the first time that Neymar and PSG’s other star forward, Edinson Cavani, play together since their dispute over a penalty shot earlier this month during a match against Lyon.

Cavani ended up doing taking the shot. Emery has still not designated a number one penalty taker, and has told the players to sort it out amongst themselves.

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