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PSG and Bayern both suffer injury blows ahead of Champions League meeting

The first leg of the quarter-final tie will take place at Munich’s Allianz Arena on 7 April.

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski.
Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski.
Image: DPA/PA Images

PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN duo Alessandro Florenzi and Marco Verratti on Tuesday were both ruled out of Italy’s 2022 World Cup qualifier against Lithuania in Vilnius, just eight days before the French giants’ Champions League clash with Bayern Munich, with the German side also dealing with a major injury headache.

Full-back Florenzi is suffering from muscle fatigue, and midfielder Verratti has a thigh injury, the Italian Football Federation announced on the eve of Wednesday’s qualifier.

PSG visit the Allianz Arena to face holders Bayern in their Champions League quarter-final first leg on 7 April.

Key midfielder Verratti also suffered thigh injuries last October and last month, and has spent time on the sidelines this season due to a foot problem and after contracting coronavirus.

Roberto Mancini’s Italy are top of qualifying Group C after winning their opening two games against Northern Ireland and Bulgaria, both with a 2-0 scoreline.

Freiburg winger Vincenzo Grifo has also been ruled out because of health restrictions for those entering Germany from Lithuania.

Meanwhile, Bayern have confirmed that striker Robert Lewandowski will miss both legs of the quarter-final against PSG after being ruled out for nearly a month with a knee injury.

“The striker will be out for around four weeks”, Bayern said in a statement, confirming Lewandowski injured ligaments in his right knee after scoring twice in Poland’s 3-0 win over Andorra on Sunday in World Cup qualifying.

The 32-year-old will also miss Saturday’s top-of-the-table Bundesliga clash at second-placed RB Leipzig, with leaders Bayern four points clear.

Lewandowski is also out of Poland’s qualifier against England at Wembley on Wednesday.

Bayern host PSG in the last-eight first leg on April 7, before visiting the Parc des Princes for the return game on 13 April.

Without Lewandowski, Bayern’s reserve striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting or Germany winger Serge Gnabry could play up front.

The Poland international has netted 35 goals in 25 league games this season to leave him close to Gerd Mueller’s record of 40 in a single Bundesliga season.

Even in Lewandowski’s absence, RB Leipzig insisted they will not take Bayern lightly.

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“Bayern will have a strong team on the pitch – even without Lewandowski,” Leipzig sports director Markus Kroesche told daily Bild before Lewandowski’s diagnosis.

“Basically, you don’t wish an injury on anyone, but it is already the case that we are concentrating on our own performance.”

Lewandowski, voted FIFA’s best male player of 2020, has scored a total of 42 goals in 36 games this season for Bayern.

© – AFP, 2021 

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