Matchday 5 of the UEFA Women’s Champions League is do-or-die for both teams but more so for Las Blancas. Real Madrid is 2 points behind Paris Saint-Germain and a win would mean they would regain the power over their own fate in the competition. Losing the match would mean automatic elimination, one matchday early.
A draw would make the white team dependent on PSG’s last match which is against Chelsea. Real Madrid is expected to win against the Albanian side FK Vllaznia Shkodër in the last matchday, so a draw in Paris and a win against Vllaznia would still leave them dependent on whether Chelsea manage to defeat PSG once again. Chelsea win against PSG would mean Real Madrid going through, while any other result would mean elimination.
Real Madrid visit Paris Saint-Germain on Parc des Princes where they also played last season in the group stage. In this season’s campaign, the teams split point on Alfredo Di Stéfano back in October. The match ended 0-0 and Caroline Weir was named player of the match.
Toril’s approach in that game was by many considered as very conservative. In the 4-3-3 formation, he lined up Toletti, Freja Siri and Zornoza in the midfield, as well as putting Weir to act as the left wing. Athenea and Esther lead the attack; Kenti and Olga joined the CB duo Kathellen-Rocío.
This isn’t the first and only time the manager played it too safe in this season’s UWCL campaign. Las Blancas did seem sharp on pitch with balanced possession (49% vs 51% in favor of PSG) but they didn’t manage to create many chances due to the conservative approach. The Spanish side also missed a couple of clear chances in the second half. Both teams’ goalkeepers managed 4 saves each, so the end result was a fair one.
Alberto Toril used 3 substitutions and neither served to help Madrid play more offensive (76’ Svava and Maite on for Toletti and Athenea; 90+3’ Teresa on for Olga). However, if the following match would come close to ending in a draw, the manager is expected to pull out the 3-5-2 card in the last minutes. However, it would hopefully be enough minutes for the offensive formation to even start working.
The match takes place on December 16 at 21:00 CET (3 pm ET) on Parc des Princes
GK: Misa, Gérard, Sofía
DEF: K. Robles, Rocío, Ivana, Olga, Kathellen, Claudia F., Lucía, Svava
MID: Teresa, Toletti, M. Oroz, Weir, Zornoza, Freja Siri
FWD: Nahikari, Esther, Møller, Feller, Athenea, C. Camacho
Absences: Corredera (maternity leave), Lorena (technical decision)
Once again, we have a full squad with the addition of Carla Camacho and Sofía Fuente from the academy, with the exception of Lorena who has been dropped for the 7th time in a row now.