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Paris Saint-Germain are away at RB Leipzig in UEFA Champions League Group A on Wednesday on Paramount+ and will once again boast a star-studded attack in Germany with Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria all available to head coach Mauricio Pochettino.

However, there is a fairly important name missing from that list -- Lionel Messi is out with a hamstring and knee complaint. He's not alone either, with the influential Marco Verratti also sidelined which means that the French giants are once again unable to field what could be considered their strongest starting XI. 

In fact, Pochettino's strongest possible PSG starting XI remains shrouded in mystery given how infrequently the former Tottenham Hotspur manager has had free rein to select from his lavish menu of options, which is further complicated by just how little time this deep roster of talented players has spent together -- something Messi hinted at in his recent interview with SPORT.

It's a sentiment some of his teammates share. "I have to get to know everyone," said summer signing Gini Wijnaldum pre-match as he also struggles to bed in. "They are all new to me. I have not even played with everyone yet. We are adapting to a new coach and style of play. The coach wants us to rotate in our positions. I need to get used to that. For five years (with Liverpool), it was a bit easier."

Di Maria's return from his ban means that he is available for the first time this Champions League edition having sat out Club Brugge away and then Manchester City as well as Leipzig at home, and while it is an undoubted boost for Pochettino to have the Argentina international available on the pitch again, that optimism is tempered by his compatriot's absence and Verratti's. 

At some point, the 49-year-old will probably need the option to pick the starting XI he wants in order get the most out of this team -- not just rely on whichever 11 players can be considered healthiest.

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Pochettino has only been able to align Messi, Neymar and Mbappe in Di Marias' absence against Brugge and City and although the latter fixture was a 2-0 home win with the legendary Argentine finally getting off the mark in Rouge et Bleu, the attack has been far from convincing thus far.

"As a coach, you want to improve," said the Argentine tactician ahead of the game. "That is a phase we are currently in. Gini spoke about time to adapt to new teammates and staff. We are in the middle of that and satisfied with results. We have a project with ideas. We know how to develop them. I do not want to dwell further on how to build a team. We are working on it. The philosophy is clear, though."

In fact, Messi is actually the most prolific PSG attacker in Europe pre-Leipzig with three goals to his name while Mbappe has just the one with an assist -- the same as Ander Herrera and Idrissa Gueye -- while Neymar is yet to get off the mark on the continental stage and missed the last meeting with RBL.

The same types of issues are plaguing Pochettino when it comes to constructing his midfield. It is no coincidence that Verratti was present for the wins over City and Leipzig which means that Les Parisiens could find it difficult in Germany, as it was in Brugge to link with the attack even though Mbappe and Neymar are no strangers to playing alongside Di Maria.

Pochettino is also quick to praise the players he does have available, notably his returning countryman: "Angel brings technique and experience on the pitch," he said of Di Maria. "He brings balance to the game. This balance leads to good collective performances."

And indeed, it was El Fideo who was key in last Friday's 2-1 fightback win over Lille OSC at Parc des Princes in Ligue 1 which saw Di Maria and Neymar combine sublimely late on to conjure up a winning goal out of nothing and Pochettino will be hoping for more of the same here against a side which caused them plenty of problems last time out.

PSG were pushed hard in a 3-2 win in Paris a fortnight ago while they lost 2-1 at Red Bull Arena almost exactly one year ago with Gueye and Presnel Kimpembe both dismissed in one of Thomas Tuchel's final European outings with the team. Many members of the current squad will need no reminder of how difficult this game could get.

Add in the fact that it is pretty much kill or be killed for Jesse Marsch and his Leipzig troops as they struggle to even stay in touch with Brugge in the race for at least a UEFA Europa League berth and the combination of further tinkering on a tricky away day against motivated hosts is far from ideal.

In the end, though, regardless of opponent, it all comes down to chemistry: "We played together for five years," said Wijnaldum of the differences between UCL hopefuls PSG and former winners Liverpool. "It took us a long time to win it. Here, it looks a lot like my first season with Liverpool. It is hard to compare as we had been playing together for years there and we barely know each other here."

What has been left unsaid is that time is something that this team might not have. Mbappe's contract is still expiring next summer and well-publicized interest from Real Madrid is not going away so, should it stretch to a second season, that threatens the bedding in process for Messi, Wijnadum and the others. 

And with the knives already out for Pochettino back in France as he continues to struggle to stamp his mark on this squad almost 12 months on from his appointment as Tuchel's replacement, the fact that this team's top players have played precious little time together will not serve as a valid excuse forever -- even if there is truth to it.

A win for PSG in Leipzig would not only go a long way towards putting the team into the knockout phase, but it would also further alleviate the pressure on Pochettino and his players. Even if they do walk away from Germany with three points, though, it is still yet another match where the team's superstars will not all be on the field together. 

At some point in the future, this super team experiment risks falling flat and not because it has been proven that these players cannot play together, but simply because they have not had enough chances to do so.