Champions League Preview: PSG v Barca

Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona meet for a third knockout contest in five seasons, with the French club looking to come out on top this time after defeat in the previous two.

The sides faced each other four times in 2014-15. In the group stage, Paris recorded a memorable 3-2 home victory with goals from David Luiz, Marco Verratti and Blaise Matuidi; Lionel Messi and Neymar found the net for Barcelona.

The line-ups at the Parc des Princes on 30 September 2014 were:

PSG: Sirigu, Van der Wiel, Marquinhos, David Luiz, Maxwell, Verratti (Cabaye 71), Thiago Motta, Matuidi, Lucas (Bahebeck 90), Pastore (Chantôme 86), Cavani.

Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Alves (Sandro Ramírez 83), Mascherano, Mathieu, Alba, Rakitic (Xavi 69), Busquets, Iniesta, Pedro (El Haddadi 62), Messi, Neymar.

When the teams met again on matchday six, the Catalan club secured top spot in group F with a 3-1 home win, recovering from Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s opener thanks to Messi, Neymar and Luis Suárez.

The sides were drawn together again in the quarterfinals when a 3-1 triumph at the Parc des Princes set up Barcelona’s aggregate success. A goal from Neymar and two from Suárez did the damage; a Jérémy Mathieu own goal was all PSG managed.

The line-ups on 15 April 2015 were:

PSG: Sirigu, Van der Wiel, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva (David Luiz 21), Maxwell, Cabaye, Rabiot (Lucas 65), Lavezzi, Matuidi, Pastore, Cavani.

Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Montoya (Adriano 80), Piqué, Mascherano, Alba, Rakitic (Mathieu 74), Iniesta (Xavi 53), Busquets, Messi, Neymar, Suárez.

In Spain, two Neymar goals inside the first 34 minutes made sure of the win for Barça.

In the 2012-13 quarterfinals Barcelona beat Paris on away goals after two draws – 2-2 at Parc des Princes, 1-1 at the Camp Nou.

The line-ups in Paris on 2 April 2013 were:

PSG: Sirigu, Jallet, Alex, Thiago Silva, Maxwell, Beckham (Verratti 70), Matuidi, Lucas, Pastore (Gameiro 76), Ibrahimovic, Lavezzi (Ménez 66).

Barça: Valdés, Daniel Alves, Piqué, Mascherano (Bartra 84), Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Sánchez, Messi (Fàbregas 46), Villa (Tello 81).

The 1994-95 quarterfinal went Paris’s way, 3-2 on aggregate. A 1-1 draw in Spain was followed by a 2-1 home victory at the Parc des Princes, Raí and Vincent Guérin scoring in the last 18 minutes.

Barça have won the last three fixtures between the clubs; before that they had triumphed in just one of six games, with three drawn. That success came in the 1997 Uefa Cup Winners’ Cup final, with Ronaldo getting the only goal in Rotterdam. Luis Enrique played for Barcelona.

Match background

PSG

The French champions have lost in the quarterfinals for the last four seasons. Last year Manchester City edged them out, a 2-2 draw in Paris setting the Premier League side up for a 3-2 aggregate success.

The defeat by Barcelona in 2014-15 was only Paris’s second in 13 matches against Spanish visitors. Their previous loss was 3-1 against RC Deportivo La Coruña in the 2000-01 second group stage.

That Barça reverse was also their sole defeat in a run of 42 European home games since crashing 4-2 to Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC in the 2006-07 Uefa Cup group stage (W26 D15). They picked up five points at home in this season’s group stage (W1 D2).

Paris’s home record against Spanish visitors reads W6 D5 L2; overall it is W10 D7 L9. They are without a win in the last five such encounters, home and away.

Barcelona

The Blaugrana’s record away to French sides is W4 D3 L3; overall it is W12 D5 L4. They have won two matches and drawn three on their last six visits to France.

Luis Enrique’s team clinched their 13th successive participation in the Champions League knockout phase by finishing top of group C with a six-point advantage over Manchester City. They have reached the knockouts on their last 15 attempts in the competition.

Barcelona are aiming to reach the quarter-finals for a record tenth consecutive season. Last term they bowed out at that stage when they lost to Club Atlético de Madrid (2-1 h, 0-2 a). In the round of 16 they had beaten Arsenal FC 5-1 on aggregate (2-0 a, 3-1 h).

Coach and player links

Lucas Digne was at Paris between 2013 and 2015, making 30 Ligue 1 appearances.

As coach of UD Almería, Valencia CF and Sevilla FC, Unai Emery faced Barcelona 23 times in all competitions, losing 16, drawing six and winning only once: 2-1 with Sevilla in last season’s Liga.

Luis Enrique was in the Real Madrid CF side eliminated by Paris in both the 1992-93 Uefa Cup quarterfinals (3-1 h, 1-4 a) and the 1993/94 European Cup Winners’ Cup quarterfinals (0-1 h, 1-1 a).

Thiago Motta came through the Barcelona academy and made 96 Liga outings, scoring six goals. He claimed two Spanish titles and was an unused substitute for their 2006 Champions League final win against Arsenal.

Maxwell played 57 Liga games for Barcelona (2009–12) and landed two league titles.

Thiago Silva headed AC Milan’s added-time equaliser in a 2-2 group stage draw at Barcelona in September 2011.

Neymar, playing alongside Thiago Silva, scored in Brazil’s 3-1 victory over Matuidi’s France in a 2015 friendly.

Alphonse Areola spent last season on loan at Villarreal and played in a 3-0 reverse to Barca in which Neymar struck twice and Suárez once.

Ángel Di María played 16 times for Real Madrid against Barca between 2010 and 2014 (W5 D4 L7). He scored in a 2-1 win in the 2014 Copa del Rey final, and a 3-2 triumph in the 2012 Spanish Super Cup.

Grzegorz Krychowiak played for Sevilla between 2014 and 2016, facing Barcelona five times (W1 D1 L3).

Julian Draxler played against Marc-Andre ter Stegen six times for FC Schalke 04 in the Bundesliga (W2 D1 L3). He scored past his compatriot twice in the league and again in Schalke’s 3-1 German Cup defeat on 21 December 2011.

Have played together:

 

  • Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Lucas Moura and Neymar (Brazil)
  • Matuidi, Layvin Kurzawa, Hatem Ben Arfa, Adrien Rabiot & Lucas Digne, Jérémy Mathieu, Samuel Umtiti (France)
  • Javier Pastore, Di Maria & Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano (Argentina)
  • Edinson Cavani & Luis Suárez (Uruguay)
  • Julian Draxler & Marc André ter Stegen (Germany)
  • Kevin Trapp & Marc André ter Stegen (Germany Under-21, 2012-2013)

Match Facts

PSG

Marquinhos is a booking away from a suspension; Thiago Motta serves a one-match ban.

Paris have won 11 of their 14 games in all competitions, drawing two of them, since matchday six.

Holders Paris will take on AS Monaco FC in the French League Cup final on 1 April.

Emery’s team have also made progress in the French Cup in 2017, defeating SC Bastia (7-0) and Stade Rennais FC (4-0). Paris will visit Ligue 2 side Chamois Niortais FC in the round of 16 on 1 March.

Cavani moved above Pauleta into second place behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic (156 goals) on Paris’s all-time top scorers’ list when he registered his 110th goal for the club, from the spot, in the 1-1 draw against Monaco on 29 January. He now has 114 goals.

Draxler has scored four goals since joining Paris from VfL Wolfsburg on 3 January.

Champions League squad changes

In: Julian Draxler, Giovani Lo Celso

Out: Nanitamo Ikone, Jesé, Hervin Ongenda

Barcelona

Barcelona have lost just one of their last 22 matches in all competitions.

Barça reached the final of the Copa del Rey, where they will play CD Alavés, for the fourth successive season by defeating Atlético 3-2 on aggregate in the last four.

Suárez was on target against Atlético in the second leg of their Copa del Rey tie on 7 February but will miss the final along with Sergi Roberto after being sent off.

When Suárez scores, Barcelona do not lose. The Uruguayan international has found the net in 70 matches out of the 128 he has featured in for the Blaugrana with a record of 65 wins and five draws.

Aleix Vidal suffered a dislocated ankle during the 6-0 defeat of Deportivo Alavés on Saturday which has ruled him out for the rest of the season.

Mascherano injured his left hamstring in the second leg against Atlético and is expected to be out until the end of February.

Rafinha is doubtful after breaking his nose versus Athletic Club on 4 February.

Champions League squad changes

In: none

Out: none

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