Match details: Wednesday, April 10, Camp Nou, Barcelona
This one has become even more interesting, hasn't it?
Lionel Messi, the four-time defending Ballon d'Or winner, left Tuesday's first leg at halftime with a hamstring injury. Barca assistant Jordi Roura called the problem "small" after the match (via Daily Telegraph), and on Wednesday, Messi echoed those comments on his Facebook account.
According to a Barcelona statement, Messi will miss this weekend's league match against Mallorca. His status after that remains uncertain.
If Messi doesn't play, it would be big news, both for Barca and Paris Saint-Germain. The first leg ended 2-2 in Paris, giving PSG some hope of advancing. Their odds, of course, would be reduced if Messi misses the second leg in Camp Nou.
As B/R's Will Tidey wrote:
With Messi absent for the second half, Barca were a far less convincing proposition. The world's best player will undergo further tests tomorrow, but there appears a good chance he will not be fit to play in next week's decisive second leg.
Barcelona have a world-class squad, but any team without the four-time Ballon d'Or winner is considerably maligned. In his absence, PSG will feel victory is possible in Spain.
Then again, Barcelona's record without Messi isn't all that bad, either (link in Spanish), and this is still Barcelona we're talking about. It's just that without Messi—and defender Javier Mascherano, who is also facing an injury layoff—this could be a much different-looking Barca than normal.
Prediction: If Messi plays, Barcelona should win somewhat comfortably at home, even with a thin defense. If he doesn't, Barcelona will squeak through anyway and regroup ahead of the semifinals.
(UPDATE: According to Sky Sports, "after tests revealed his hamstring injury is not as bad as first feared," Messi could be fit for the quarterfinal decider.)