PARIS (Reuters) - Having shown worrying shortcomings in all departments this year, Paris St Germain desperately need to get their act together if they want to stand a chance against Bayern Munich in their Champions League last 16 clash next week.
The Ligue 1 leaders have lost three games in 2023, the latest on Wednesday in a 2-1 defeat at bitter rivals Olympique de Marseille in the French Cup last 16 when they were overwhelmed by the Provence side's aggressiveness throughout.
With Kylian Mbappe out injured for another two weeks, meaning he won't play against Bayern at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday, PSG are without a match winner while Neymar was hugely disappointing against Marseille.
Only Lionel Messi up front has been up to his standards recently and that will not be enough against the Bundesliga giants.
"When they get bumped into, nobody really responds. It's always the same thing: if they can play at their pace, there's no problem," former OM and PSG player Edouard Cisse told French sports daily L'Equipe on Thursday.
"As soon as the opposing team put on the intensity, they are lost."
In midfield, PSG were hugely dominated as only Marco Verratti has the capacity to stand his ground, and Vitinha, who has been fielded as a playmaker behind Messi and Neymar as Christophe Galtier reshuffled his team in the absence of Mbappe, has yet to show he can put his forwards in the best positions.
Bayern, instead, have been rediscovering their form, scoring eight goals in their last two Bundesliga matches - not a good omen for PSG, whose defence has often been at a loss.
Sergio Ramos might have scored the equaliser on Wednesday but his aggression does not make up for his lack of pace and poor sense of anticipation and the Spaniard often leaves Marquinhos on his own.
The Brazilian, once again, urged his team mates to rise up on Wednesday.
"We need to shut our mouths and work," he said.
PSG's best course of action might be to dig deep and find some pride ahead of a Ligue 1 game against Monaco on Saturday and Tuesday's match against Bayern.
"We are disappointed and we are angry," said keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.
If talent has been lacking at PSG lately, anger might take them somewhere.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Robert Birsel)