by Tim Stannard
Hopes lean on newbie Moise Kean up front to take PSG through crucial Champions League clash against RB Leipzig
Wednesday is going to be a day of confusion and stress, disappointment and delight.
Focus will need to be spread across the continent by overburdened and overtired watchers, keeping track of multiple match-ups where protagonists who were expected to crash and burn come out triumphantly, while those predicted to be on top of the tree, fail spectacularly when it comes to the crunch.
Yep, the Champions League is going to be a thriller on Wednesday.
Out of all the eight games on the slate, the one that could have the most repercussions is PSG away at RB Leipzig. Despite the German's sides hammering at the hands of the topsy-turvy Manchester United, last week, the game was already going to be a tall order for the French visitors in a rematch of the 2020 Champions League semifinal, where PSG had prevailed. But it's a game that could define the club's Champions League future this year.
"We will play in Leipzig, then we will host Leipzig. This can be decisive, if we win the direct confrontation," admitted Tuchel.
PSG is facing the Bundesliga side without Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Mauro Icardi - all injured and ruled out for Wednesday's game. Oh, Marco Verratti and Julian Draxler are also missing. And Leandro Paredes.
That leaves the newly-arrived Moise Kean to lead the line for PSG along with Angel di Maria who has been serving a suspension in Ligue 1 but has been active in the Champions League.
A defeat in Germany for PSG will leave a mountain to climb for the French club and more pressure on Thomas Tuchel who has had a campaign hit by all manner of unfortunate events to his players.
Pre-match predictions might also go out the window in Africa and the CAF Champion League semifinal second leg between Zamalek and Raja Casablanca. The Egyptian side is currently 1-0 up from the first tie and should the home team prevail then the final will be an all-Cairo derby final against Al Ahly. That match is live on beIN SPORTS from 1:50PM ET.
"Not good enough" says Barca's opponents ahead of Champions League clash
Ronald Koeman managed to win the big pre-match battle on Tuesday ahead of Wednesday's game against Dynamo Kiev - how to both claim that Lionel Messi was special, without being too special.
Quizzed on his Barcelona predecessor, Quique Setien, admitting that he found the Argentinean tricky to coach, the Dutch manager span that "he is the captain and I talk to him every week. I see things differently from Setien."
With that challenge passed, one that might actually turn out to be easier is on the horizon with the visit of Dynamo Kiev, a team that is missing 13 players including nine due to positive COVID-19 tests.
The Ukrainian side also comes to town with a coach who has a blunt assessment of Barca's chances of winning the Champions League this season. "I don't think Barcelona are at the level to win it," said Mircea Lucescu.
Elsewhere, Rennes will be up against their old goalkeeper with Edouard Mendy now between the sticks in Stamford Bridge and showing the kind of form of solidity completely lacking from Kepa.
The Sports Burst live show will be looking back at the winners and losers from Tuesday's action and also looking ahead to Wednesday's games. Head to our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page at 12PM ET.
Basketball and South American soccer hits beIN SPORTS screens
Missing the NBA? Then there is top-class basketball on beIN SPORTS XTRA - free, free, free - from 12:20PM ET today with a live match-up from the FIBA Champions League with AEK Athens taking on Hapoel Holon with a host of top former college American players in action including former All-ACC Center Richard Howell from NC St. and Iowa St. shooting guard Tyrus McGee.
Missing soccer after the Champions League? Then there is top class South American action across the network on beIN SPORTS today. We are at the second round, second leg stage of the Copa Sudamericana where the biggest top dog that could be unseated is Sao Paolo with the Brazilian giants 3-2 down to Lanus from the first leg.
All seven matches are live across the beIN SPORTS network.