He has traveled the world, trod the lawns of the four corners of Europe. But this Wednesday evening, at the Jan-Breydel stadium in Bruges, it will be the very first time, very first time, that Lionel Messi will play a match in Belgium. An event for the Flemish club which, despite 325 matches played on the European scene (C1, C2 and C3 combined), is far from enjoying the Argentine’s experience in the Champions League.
Since the appearance of the new C1 formula in 1993, Club Brugge has indeed played 115 Champions League matches. That is 34 less than the six-fold Ballon d’Or alone. And if the Belgian club has found the net 143 times in the competition, it is less effective than the triplet Messi (120) – Neymar (41) – Mbappé (27) who totaled 188 goals before, no doubt, d ‘to be fielded for the first time tonight in a European match.
3. This is the third time that FC Bruges and PSG will cross swords this Wednesday in the Champions League. The first two oppositions, during the 2019-2020 financial year, had turned in favor of the Parisians. Before the victory at the Park in the return match (1-0), Mauro Icardi, author of a double, and Kylian Mbappé, who had scored a hat-trick, had allowed the Parisians to hit the card (5-0).
1. Paris is rather in verve vis-a-vis its neighbors of the flat country. In its history, PSG have only bowed once to a Belgian club on the European scene. We have to go back to March 16, 1983 to find traces of a Parisian setback (3-0 ap) against Waterschei, who then eliminated Fernandez and his family in the quarter-finals of the Coupe des Cups.
32. No one yet knows if PSG will offer an offensive festival to its supporters this Wednesday for its entry into the Champions League. But the capital club remains on a series of 32 consecutive games, with at least one goal scored in the Champions League group. The last group match without finding the net dates back to November 3, 2015, when PSG lost (1-0) on Real Madrid’s lawn.
3. We almost forget it, but PSG has a dynamic to restart in the Champions League. With its defeats against Bayern Munich in the quarter-final second leg of the last financial year (1-0), then the two conceded in the semi-final in front of Manchester City (1-2 and 2-0), the formation of Mauricio Pochettino remains on three setback in the competition.
6. This is the number of times Lionel Messi has finished at the top of the Champions League scorers’ table. After his “titles” of 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2019, will the Argentinian equal Cristiano Ronaldo’s record, crowned with 7 crowns as top scorer in the competition? Before the debut of the MNM in the competition, the PSG can in any case imagine seeing one of its attackers running for the first step of the podium this season.
A reward that the capital club has not obtained since the coronation of George Weah, author of 7 goals in the 1994-95 edition. Will Kylian Mbappé be able to follow in his footsteps? The only certainty is that we have to go back a little further in time to find traces of the last Frenchman in the ranking, since the Marseillais Jean-Pierre Papin is the last to have been the most effective in Europe during the 1992-93 season.
2. There are two French players who know PSG well in the ranks of FC Bruges. The first, Stanley Nsoki, cut his teeth there from 2012 to 2019, even playing fifteen pro games that are worth being champion of France with the club of the capital in 2018 and 2019. The second, Faitout Maouassa, although a native of the Paris region, did not defend the colors of PSG. On the other hand, he can boast of having been one of those who brought down the Parisian formation in recent years in Ligue 1 during the successes acquired with Rennes at the Parc des Princes in 2018 (0-2) and in Brittany the following season ( 2-1).