PSG vs. Real Madrid, Champions League picks: All eyes on Kylian Mbappe, but here’s why Marquinhos is our MOTM


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The UEFA Champions League is back this week and Tuesday’s meeting between Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid (3 p.m. ET | CBS and Paramount+) is as big as it gets on Europe’s elite stage. Wall-to-wall superstar names and plenty of history given the pair’s meetings in recent years, this one promises to be unmissable.

We take a look at some of the main prematch storylines to keep an eye on and our experts weigh in with their predictions. How do yours stack up with those of our finest? Find out here.

Paris Saint-Germain vs. Real Madrid

Date: Tuesday, Feb. 15 | Time: 3 p.m. ET | TV: (CBS/Paramount+)
Odds: PSG -102; Draw +270; Real Madrid +265 (via Caesars Sportsbook)

Featured Game | PSG vs. Real Madrid

One matchup to watch: Marco Verratti vs. Luka Modric. The two remain increasingly important to their respective sides despite the Italian maestro’s fragility and the Croat master’s 36 years of age. Assuming both are fully fit and involved from the off, the battle between the two midfielders as part of a larger bid for supremacy in the middle of the park promises to be unmissable. Verratti warmed up for Modri by facing his compatriot Lovro Majer in the narrow win over Stade Rennais and it was absorbing to watch. PSG’s tactical plan is unlikely to involve passing Real to death so the Azzurri star will be key as ever to Mauricio Pochettino’s plans and the hosts’ overall hopes of progression.

Most likely to score a goal: Kylian Mbappe. If there was a game written for Mbappe to star home and away, it is this one. The French superstar will be the pre-, mid- and post-match focus around both legs and the chances of him taking center stage in at least one of these two showdown clashes are high. 

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Man of the Match pick: Marquinhos. The Brazilian often reserves his world-class best form for these UCL nights and they do not come much bigger than this. Real have plenty of potential match winners too with Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior both traveling, but the Parisien captain has the potential to silence both and strong performance from the Brazilian would go a long way towards helping to secure a good opening result for the hosts.

Match prediction: PSG 2, Real Madrid 1. Although Real are the pre-match favorites, the French giants raise their game massively in the Champions League and this will be no different. This tie is likely to go all the way across both legs, but PSG may well draw first blood in Paris.

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