Mbappe in line to return for PSG in Champions League clash with Atalanta

Written By: BBC Sports

Mbappe in line to return for PSG's in Champions League clash with Atalanta

Kylian Mbappe could return for Paris St-Germain in their Champions League quarter-final with Atalanta in Lisbon.

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The Frenchman has recovered from an ankle injury and head coach Thomas Tuchel says Mbappe will feature if “nothing extraordinary happens”.

However, Tuchel did then suggest that Mbappe would most likely be used off the bench against the Italians.

“We are really pleased to have the possibility of finishing the match with Kylian on the pitch,” said Tuchel.

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“That gives Neymar someone who likes playing alongside him.”

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World cup winner Mbappe, 21, sprained his ankle during PSG’s French Cup final win over Saint-Etienne on 24 July, but he has recovered in time for the ‘Final Eight’ stage of the Champions League.

The French champions have not reached the semi-finals of Europe’s elite club competition since the Qatari takeover almost a decade ago.

‘Extra motivation’ for Atalanta

Champions League debutants Atalanta have been the surprise package of this year’s competition but manager Gian Piero Gasperini said the suffering in the club’s home city of Bergamo following the coronavirus outbreak provides “extra motivation” to his side.

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“We know the level of expectation that there is around this match, and how much passion there is for Atalanta in Bergamo and the surrounding province,” said Gasperini.

“There is extra motivation for us after what has happened. We have to represent our city in the best possible way and give the people something to smile about.”

Bergamo, near Milan in northern Italy, was one of the worst-hit regions in Italy when the coronavirus pandemic was at its peak there earlier this year.

At one point the army was called in to take away coffins because local morgues could not cope with the number of virus deaths.

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Atalanta finished third for the second successive season in Serie A, and Gasperini says his players are in “great condition”.

“We have shown that without being a big club or having massive investment it is possible to do well in the Champions League with passion, good football and desire,” said the 62-year-old, who will be without midfielder Josip Ilicic because of personal reasons.

The Slovenian scored all four goals in the 4-3 win at Valencia in the last-16 second leg.

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