Real Madrid vs. PSG Starting XI Prediction for the second leg of the Champions League Round of 16

Real Madrid, Marco Asensio (Photo by Silvestre Szpylma/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Marco Asensio (Photo by Silvestre Szpylma/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /
1 of 3
Real Madrid, David Alaba
Real Madrid, David Alaba (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid turned in their most complete performance of the year, demolishing one of the better sides in LaLiga, Real Sociedad, by a scoreline of 4 to 1. And so Madridistas are believing that they can pull off another memorable European Remontada on Wednesday night at the same venue, the venerable Santiago Bernabeu, against PSG.

Although Real Madrid were thoroughly outplayed in the first leg due to questionable tactical decisions and a cowardly approach from manager Carlo Ancelotti, the heroes of the defense ensured that the damage was only 1-0, courtesy of a last-gasp bit of individual brilliance from a man who will very likely be a future Madridista, Kylian Mbappe.

Let’s take a look at how the Madrid lineup could look for the second leg of the Champions League Round of 16. Ferland Mendy and Casemiro are suspended, and Toni Kroos is now injured. There will be changes, but Real fans will like their chances.

GK Thibaut Courtois

Thibaut Courtois was THE hero of the first leg. If Kylian Mbappe was the best player on the pitch, then the Real Madrid keeper was a very, very close second. Courtois made several top saves to keep Madrid in the match, with no stop being bigger than his penalty save against Lionel Messi.

LB David Alaba

With Ferland Mendy out and Miguel Gutierrez not reintegrated into the squad, there is only one real option at left back. Marcelo is not nearly good enough at this stage of his career to start a match of this magnitude, as sad as that is to say. Nacho Fernandez is too slow and would not offer enough ball progression against this elite PSG side.

So it must be David Alaba at his old position. He will be missed centrally, but we know that no matter where Alaba plays on the pitch, he makes the difference. This is a man who once stepped up to score a great solo goal against Barcelona in El Clasico. A man who has won two trebles in his career, when Real Madrid’s other players have won none. He loves the big stage.

CB Nacho Fernandez

Nacho Fernandez has put in some mixed performances at center back this season. His best display may have actually been in a knockout defeat to Athletic Bilbao. Hopefully, he can perform like he did in the big matches of the 2020/21 season. Real Madrid need him to be a leader at the heart of the defense against a fearsome PSG side.

CB Eder Militao

Although Eder Militao was involved in the goal Mbappe scored against Real, you cannot blame the young central defender. That was ALL Mbappe. The fact that Los Blancos were still in the game at that point can be partially credited to Militao’s great defending. He was classy again these past two weekends against Rayo Vallecano and Real Sociedad, meaning he is heading into this second leg on top form for another battle with Mbappe.

RB Dani Carvajal

If Dani Carvajal flops, Real Madrid are in big trouble. He atoned for an early error in giving up a silly penalty to La Real over the weekend. The version of Carvajal we saw in the second half is the version Real need to see in the second leg if they are to win this game. He has the toughest assignment of any player on the pitch. Of course, some more help tactically would be beneficial. Ancelotti hung his veteran right back out to dry in the first match.