PSG vs. Barcelona: Complete Champions League Preview

Samuel MarsdenFeatured ColumnistApril 1, 2013

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 06:  The PSG team line up during the Round of 16 UEFA Champions League match between Paris St Germain and Valencia CF at Parc des Princes on March 6, 2013 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

France's big spenders play host to Spain's distinctive style when the Champions League quarterfinals get under way this week.

And with close to 49,000 fans expected to be crammed into Parc des Princes to see PSG entertain Barcelona on Tuesday night, it promises to be a cracker.

Barca will be boosted by the return of Tito Vilanova, who flew back in to Catalonia last week and should take up his place on the bench for the first time following his cancer treatment in New York.

Les Parisiens will hope that their Italian manager, Carlo Ancelotti, will have a tactical master plan in place to beat many's favorites for the competition.  


Team News

PSG succeeded in appealing Zlatan Ibrahimovic's suspension, acting as a massive boost to them ahead of the match.

Ancelotti will hope to have Lucas Moura back after an ankle injury, while Ezequiel Lavezzi should also play after being rested in the 1-0 win against Montpellier at the weekend.

Thiago Motta is out, though. He has a groin injury, but may be fit for the return leg.

Jordi Alba and Xavi Hernandez—both of whom were injured on international duty with Spain—have been named in the squad that will travel to France.

They remain doubts, though, and their fitness will be tested on the day of the match. 

Carles Puyol and Adriano are out, and Pedro, who picked up an injury with La Roja anyway, is suspended.



PSG's form has not been scintillating, although they have opened up a seven-point lead at the top of Ligue 1.

In the eight games dating back to their match away to Valencia they have won four, drawn two and lost two.

Barcelona's draw with Celta Vigo on Saturday ended a three-match winning streak that included the rout against AC Milan.

It was needed, though, as before that they had lost three out of their last four games—sparking fear of a crisis at Camp Nou.

They maintain a 13-point lead at the top of La Liga over Real Madrid.


How They Got Here

PSG won a group featuring Porto and the two Dinamo's—Kiev and Zagreb—by winning five of their six matches, only losing to the Portuguese side. 

They then faced Spanish side Valencia in the last 16, who had qualified second in their group behind Bayern Munich.

Lavezzi and Javier Pastore first-half goals helped PSG to a 2-1 win at Mestalla, and Lavezzi's equalizer in the second leg ensured their progress to this stage with a 1-1 draw.

Barcelona won their group too, but not without a few problems along the way.

They had to come from behind to record late wins against Spartak Moscow and Celtic at Camp Nou and were beaten 2-1 when they visited the Scottish champions in the return fixture. 

AC Milan in the last 16 was far from easy, too. A 2-0 defeat at the San Siro left La Blaugrana liable to elimination before their breathtaking 4-0 win at home eased them through.


PSG's Man to WatchZlatan Ibrahimovic

Having had his suspension overturned, Ibrahimovic will be desperate to prove a point against the club where he endured a difficult season in 2009-10.

He has been PSG's go-to-man all season, contributing 27 goals and 11 assists across Ligue 1 and the Champions League. 


Barcelona's Man to Watch: Lionel Messi

Big occasions call for big players, and for Barcelona there is nobody bigger than their little Argentinian.

Lionel Messi scored two of the goals against AC Milan and his constant accolade of scoring feats will be of great concern to the French side.


Probable Teams 

PSG: Salvatore Sirigu; Christophe Jallet, Thiago Silva, Alex, Maxwell; Lucas Moura, Marco Verratti, Blaise Matuidi, Javier Pastore; Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ezequiel Lavezzi

Barcelona: Victor Valdes; Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano, Jordi Alba; Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta; Lionel Messi, David Villa, Cristian Tello