If Mbappe plays on my side, it will be war! – Hernandez relishing latest Bayern-PSG showdown

By Sports Desk March 23, 2021

Lucas Hernandez has joked he is ready to go to war with compatriot Kylian Mbappe when Bayern Munich face Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League quarter-finals.

The heavyweight clubs were paired together in Friday's draw, potentially giving PSG a chance to exact some revenge following last season's 1-0 loss to the same side in the final.

Hernandez was an unused substitute for Bayern that day, while Mbappe played the full 90 minutes through the middle of the French giants' three-man attack.

France international Hernandez played the full 90 minutes of Bayern's 2-1 second-leg win over Lazio in the last 16, but he has more regularly been used as a substitute this season.

But if the versatile left-sided defender is given the nod to play against PSG in either leg next month, he is up for the challenge of keeping prolific countryman Mbappe quiet.

"If I have to face him I will say two or three words to keep him quiet," Hernandez said in an interview with L'Equipe. 

"I will tell him above all he should stick to PSG's left side. If he comes to the right then it will be a war! I'm kidding, but it's true he has a talent and we must be vigilant with him.

"The Champions League is what we are aiming to retain on May 29. Everyone is determined to do exactly that."

Mbappe reached the 30-goal mark for the campaign with his double in Sunday's 4-2 win against Lyon, while also bringing up a century of Ligue 1 strikes in the process.

At the age of 22 years, three months and one day, he overtook former Saint-Etienne striker Herve Revelli as the youngest player to reach three figures for goals in the division.

That victory moved PSG to the top of Ligue 1, keeping them on course for a clean sweep of trophies in Mauricio Pochettino's first campaign at the helm – the Argentinian having replaced Thomas Tuchel in January.

Bayern are the team PSG have defeated the most in European competition (five times), but they have won just one of the last four encounters – a 3-0 win in September 2017.

Hernandez, currently away on international duty with France, is expecting a tight contest when the sides face off in April.

"It will be a huge match," he said. "It will not be easy to eliminate them and they will be after a little revenge following last season's final.

"The Parisians will be envious, but so will we. Several important players have left but other great players have replaced them.

"When you see our offensive quality, we create four chances and score four goals - it's incredible. But we also have a solid defensive block. Everyone is ready to give their all."

Hernandez has played 29 times in all competitions this season, which is already four more than he managed in the whole of last season when struck down by injuries.

Bayern have won 10 and drawn two of the 12 league games Hernandez has started this term, compared to three defeats in 14 games without the defender in their XI.

And having put his injury troubles behind him, the 25-year-old is eager to continue taking his chances when they arrive.

"It's true that I have had periods where I have played less than I wanted, but Hansi Flick always trusted me," Hernandez said. "In his speeches he always used to count on me.

"That's why when I wasn't playing, I sometimes struggled to understand. But this year I have come back from my injuries. I'm now 100 per cent and the coach knows that.

"It's always flattering when a coach says 'it's great to have a player like you'. He knows it doesn't matter if I play 10, 30 or 40 minutes. I'll give my all, and he likes that."

Related items

  • Hetmyer must take some responsibility - mercurial talent partly at fault for missing out on CWI retainer Hetmyer must take some responsibility - mercurial talent partly at fault for missing out on CWI retainer
  • A-League: Melbourne City go nine points clear after beating battling Brisbane Roar A-League: Melbourne City go nine points clear after beating battling Brisbane Roar

    Melbourne City moved nine points clear at the top of the A-League after a battling 3-2 win over Brisbane Roar on Sunday.

    Des Buckingham's side were 2-0 up after only 17 minutes, Connor Metcalfe blasting past goalkeeper Jamie Young before Scott Jamieson doubled the lead via Brisbane's Kai Trewin.

    The visitors, who felt a handball should have been given against Craig Noone in the build-up, responded impressively to draw level before half-time through a fine Joey Champness strike and a Macaulay Gillesphey header.

    City, who fired in 33 shots across the 90 minutes, failed to capitalise on their chances until some brilliance from Scott Galloway, the full-back's superb run sending him into the box where he hooked a clever finish into the left-hand corner after his cross had been blocked.

    City are nine points clear of the chasing pack, with Sydney FC, Adelaide United, Central Coast Mariners and Macarthur all on 32 points.

    In the later match, Perth Glory beat Melbourne Victory 2-1 at HBF Park to move seven points clear of the bottom two and keep their top-six hopes alive.

    Robbie Kruse missed a first-half penalty for the visitors, who were given an uphill task when Nicholas Ansell was sent off 48 minutes in for a crude challenge on Callum Timmins.

    Diego Castro combined well with Ciaran Bramwell to set up Bruno Fornaroli to open the scoring, with Chris Ikonomidis volleying home the second. Rudy Gestede grabbed a consolation for Victory after Kruse hit the crossbar.

    Perth are nine points adrift of Western Sydney Wanderers in sixth but have two games in hand.

  • 'Delicate negotiations' taking place over moving Champions League final to the UK 'Delicate negotiations' taking place over moving Champions League final to the UK

    'Delicate negotiations' are taking place about moving the Champions League final to the United Kingdom, government minister Michael Gove has said.

    Premier League sides Manchester City and Chelsea are scheduled to face off in the showpiece fixture on May 29, with Istanbul the destination for the match.

    However, doubts about the Turkish city's ability to host the game were left in serious doubt after the UK placed the nation on its country's travel "red list".

    This week, UEFA said it remained committed to staging the game in Istanbul, despite the country being under coronavirus lockdown until May 17.

    Europe's chief governing body also said it intended to operate with reduced fans in attendance at the Ataturk Stadium, but the new UK government rules mean City and Chelsea fans travelling for the game would have to quarantine in government-approved hotels when returning to the UK.

    There had been suggestions that the UK was ready to step in to play host, although with Wembley also currently scheduled to hold the Championship play-off final the same day it remains to be seen if the national stadium is a viable alternative.

    However, reports suggested the EFL is open to moving all three of its play-off finals to allow Wembley to host the Champions League final

    Gove confirmed plans are being discussed over moving the destination of the game, telling Sky News: "There are delicate negotiations that are going on at the moment.

    "My friend, my colleague, the culture secretary Oliver Dowden, is talking to people about this at the moment, and so I don't want to cut across that. 

    "I'm sure that fans in the UK would dearly love to see the final played here in the UK."

    Turkey's red list status, which is effective from May 17 and will not be reviewed for three weeks, would also add significant complications for players returning to the UK before linking up with their national teams for Euro 2020 and the Copa America, unless exemptions can be secured.

    Both international tournaments begin on June 11, 13 days after the Champions League final.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.