Mbappé back as PSG look for Coupe consolation

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After a week that saw them crash out of the Champions League and go three points adrift of Ligue 1 Uber Eats leaders LOSC with two matches to left to play, holders Paris Saint-Germain will be looking to fit-again star Kylian Mbappé to help them book a place in the Coupe de France final as they take on Montpellier on Wednesday night.

Coupe de France semi-finals

Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier

Montpellier Hérault SC - Paris Saint-Germain

- Kick-off at 20:00 GMT

It has been a tough week for the capital club's superstars, but with top scorer Kylian Mbappé set to return to action, Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino is hoping the switch of competitions - to a tournament his club have won a record 13 times, including five of the last six - will reinvigorate his side for a dramatic end to the season.

STADE RENNAIS FC - PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN (1-1)/ Highlights - 2020/2021

Pochettino: 'Move on and be ready'

"It's a cup semi-final and it's a different context from the league. It all depends on our performance. Of course, the Coupe de France is an objective. We want to beat Montpellier but it will be difficult," said the Argentine, who is staring down the barrel of a  season with zero silverware - in what would be a first for the club since 2012. "After the draw against Rennes, we have to move on and be ready on Wednesday. To continue to do well in the Coupe de France is important. Qualifying for the final is the club's objective."

Although the capital club will be without Marco Verratti, who is suspended on top of having sustained a season-ending knee injury, Presnel Kimpembe (suspended), Ander Herrera and Layvin Kurzawa, Pochettino is tipped to field a full-strength attacking line-up with Neymar in the No 10 role, behind centre-forward Mauro Icardi and flanked by Angel Di Maria and a fit-again Kylian Mbappé.

"Kylian has had an injury and we have to be careful. He has trained very well in the last few days and he is fully ready to play," said Pochettino, evidently thrilled to have the Ligue 1 Uber Eats top scorer back in action after a calf injury was forced him to watch form the sidelines as PSG crashed out of the Champions League and dropped two crucial points to Rennes. "He is an important player, as the statistics show. It's difficult to do without a player like him. He is one of the best players in the team. The club counts on him, I count on him. We hope to have him for many years to come."
 
Der Zakarian: 'Make them doubt themselves'

PSG have every reason to be confident facing Montpellier, having taken six points off them in the league this season with a 4-0 win at the Parc des Princes in Round 21 and a 3-1 win at the Mosson in Round 13. Nonetheless, La Paillade's tight-knit squad have shown they can mix it with the best on their day, with Brazilian veteran captain Hilton marshalling a strong defence and the deadly attacking duo of Gaëtan Laborde and Andy Delort consistent threats in front of goal.

RC STRASBOURG ALSACE - MONTPELLIER HÉRAULT SC (2-3)/ Highlights - 2020/2021

"The Parisians are always dangerous, but we have the weapons to hurt them," said Der Zakarian, who would clearly love to clinch some silverware - which would be the club's first since they lifted the Ligue 1 Uber Eats title in 2012 - in his last season in charge of the south-western club. "It's up to us to make them doubt themselves. They're going through a rough patch: they've just crashed out of Europe, they were held at Rennes and they know that La Mosson is not an easy place for them. My squad will step up; I think we will play a good match. We need to be rock-solid in order to make them doubt themselves - and then punish them."

The veteran Ligue 1 Uber Eats coach has a more-or-less full-strength squad to get the job done - with Stephy Mavididi on the bench - and is tipped to field a 4-4-1-1 formation with Florent Mollet to pull the strings just behind Delort as Laborde and Junior Sambia to sit deep and pack the midfield before breaking in wide positions on the counter.

The winner will face off against either AS Monaco or minnows Rumilly - who play in the second semi-final on Thursday evening - in the final at the Stade de France on Wednesday 19 May.

Probable teams

Montpellier Hérault SC: Bertaud; Souquet, Hilton (c), Congré, Ristic; Sambia, Ferri, Savanier, Laborde; Mollet; Delort

Paris Saint-Germain: Navas; Florenzi, Marquinhos (c), Diallo, Bakker; Gueye, Paredes; Si Maria, Neymar, Mbappé; Icardi

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