Paris Saint-Germain vs. Barcelona: Full Champions League Quarterfinal Preview

Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistApril 1, 2013

VIGO, SPAIN - MARCH 30:   Lionel Messi (L) of FC Barcelona celebrates with Gerard Pique after scoring Barcelona's 2nd goal during the La Liga match between RC Celta de Vigo and FC Barcelona at Estadio Balaidos on March 30, 2013 in Vigo, Spain.     (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

UEFA Champions League quarterfinal, first leg

Paris Saint-Germain vs. FC Barcelona

Kickoff Tuesday, April 2, 20:45 (CET), 2:45 (ET)


The UEFA Champions League is really moving toward the final stages of this season's competition now with only eight clubs left in the tournament. One of the most high-profile fixtures of the current season takes place on Tuesday as leaders of the French and Spanish domestic leagues come head-to-head in the quarterfinals.

Paris Saint-Germain play host in the first leg to Barcelona, with both sides hoping to get a good start in the tie as they look to secure a semifinal place.

It promises to be an intriguing mix of styles and philosophies, with a number of top quality players on show for either side.


Route to the quarterfinals

PSG strolled through to the knockout stages courtesy of a first-place finish in Group A, winning all three of their home fixtures, and winning two and losing one away. PSG's impressive defensive form was a big part of their success as they conceded just three goals in total—the best out of any side in the Champions League group stage.

In the first knockout round they saw off Spanish side Valencia, winning 3-2 on aggregate after an impressive first leg win in the Mestalla.

Barcelona similarly topped their Group G table, with four wins, one draw and one defeat.

They were not always at their scintillating best but comfortably progressed ahead of Celtic, Benfica and Spartak Moscow, before producing an inspirational comeback in the Round of 16 against AC Milan.

Trailing 2-0 from the first leg in Milan, Barcelona turned around the tie to spank four goals past AC Milan, winning 4-2 on aggregate.


Recent form

Domestically, both PSG and Barça lead their respective leagues and look good bets for championship glory this season.

The Spanish side drew 1-1 at the weekend, with such names as Andres Iniesta, Victor Valdes, Xavi and Javier Mascherano missing for a variety of reasons. They have won four of their last six league games and are 13 points clear at the top of the table. Their last six matches in all competitions have yielded 13 goals scored and eight goals conceded.

PSG won 1-0 against reigning league champions Montpellier most recently, thanks to a late winner from substitute Kevin Gameiro. This continues a theme of relatively low-scoring matches featuring PSG recently.

Their last six games in all competitions have yielded three wins, two draws and a defeat, with PSG scoring eight times and conceding five.


Team news and likely starting XIs

Eric Abidal made a return to the Barcelona squad for the most recent league fixture, but will likely not be involved in the Champions League. Jordi Alba and Xavi both traveled with the squad after recovering from injuries. Pedro is suspended.

For PSG, Thiago Motta is unavailable, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marco Verratti return from suspensions. Zlatan, Motta and left-back Maxwell are all former Barcelona players.


Predicted outcome

The pace and power in PSG's attack with the likes of Ezequiel Lavezzi and Lucas Moura means that the home side will always be a threat on the counter. Barcelona will hope to have the majority of possession, and they have enough quality to break down any team at all. Their performance against AC Milan in the second leg will reignite hope that they can win the Champions League this season.

PSG 1 Barcelona 1

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