Breaking Down Chelsea's Champions League Quarter-Final with Paris Saint-Germain

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Breaking Down Chelsea's Champions League Quarter-Final with Paris Saint-Germain
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Chelsea couldn't have hoped for a better draw in the Champions League quarterfinals, being paired with Paris Saint-Germain in the last eight of the competition.

The Blues will travel to Paris for the first leg on Wednesday April 2, entertaining the Parisians at Stamford Bridge the following Tuesday, April 8.

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While the current Ligue 1 leaders will pose a considerable threat to Chelsea's hopes of progressing to the semis, the Blues have avoided the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, so that will bring them confidence.

Looking ahead to the crunch encounter at Parc des Princes, Bleacher Report breaks down all you need to know about Chelsea's Champions League quarterfinal opponents.

 

Head to Head

It's been almost 10 years since Chelsea last faced Paris Saint-Germain and if their visit to the French capital goes anything like their September 2004 Champions League encounter, they will be more than satisfied.

Chelsea came away 3-0 visitors that night, as goals from John Terry and Didier Drogba (2) silenced the Parc des Princes crowd.

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The return game in London finished goalless, so a similar scoreline in the quarterfinals this season would see Chelsea march on into the Champions League semis.

It was a different PSG back then, of course, and one without the talents of players such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani.

Chelsea were a team in the ascendancy, with Jose Mourinho not long arrived at the club for his first spell in charge and Roman Abramovich enjoying just his second season as owner.

We suspect things won't be as one-sided in two weeks.

 

Danger Men

It says much for the progress Paris Saint-Germain have made in recent years that to limit their squad to just one standout player is a difficult task.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the man every football fan will recognize as posing the biggest threat to Chelsea, but there are many more players besides.

Alongside Ibrahimovic in attack is Edinson Cavani, a £53 million capture from Napoli last summer. The Uruguay international is still adapting to life in France, but he remains a class act and Chelsea know all about the threat he carries after facing him in the 2012 Champions League.

Michel Euler/Associated Press

Cavani scored in a 3-1 win for Napoli in the first leg of the last 16 tie, while his current PSG teammate Ezequiel Lavezzi also scored twice in the same game.

The Blues eventually went through 5-4 on aggregate after a stunning 4-1 victory at Stamford Bridge in the second leg, yet they will remember the damage that duo can cause.

Elsewhere, at the back Thiago Silva is a fine defender, while his teammate Marquinhos is equally talented. With three goals in the Champions League this season, the Brazilian is a considerable threat from set pieces, too.

And let's not forget Yohan Cabaye, who Blues fans will know from his time with Newcastle United.

 

Champions League Leading Goalscorers

Zlatan Ibrahimovic leads the way in the scoring charts for Paris Saint-Germain this season. Here's the list of their top five goalscorers in Europe:

PSG's 2013-14 Champions League leading goalscorers
Player Played Goals
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 7 10
Edinson Cavani 6 4
Marquinhos 7 3
Thiago Motta 7 2
Yohan Cabaye 2 1

UEFA

 

Champions League Record

They may be heavyweights of the modern game, but Paris Saint-Germain haven't always enjoyed success in the Champions League.

Indeed, PSG have featured in the competition just five times in the past 20 years.

Here is their record from those five seasons:

PSG's Champions League Record
Season Stage reached P W D L
2012-13 Quarterfinal 10 6 3 1
2004-05 Group stage 6 1 2 3
2000-01 Second group stage 12 4 3 5
1997-98 Group stage 7 5 0 2
1994-95 Semifinal 12 9 1 2

UEFA

 

The Manager

Laurent Blanc was among the finest defenders of his generation, winning the World Cup with France in 1998.

He missed the final due to suspension, having been dismissed in the semifinal against Croatia, but he was a vital member of that all-conquering team.

Having missed that final, he made up for it two years later by featuring in the European Championship final against Italy—a game France won 2-1.

Christophe Ena/Associated Press

Blanc's club career was just as distinguished.

The Frenchman started out at Montpellier before later joining Napoli, Nimes, Saint-Etienne, Auxerre, Barcelona, Marseille, Inter Milan and Manchester United, where he finished his career.

Now as a manager, Blanc is impressing equally as much. His PSG team are running away with Ligue 1 this term, while his previous spell with Bordeaux showcased his talents in his formative years as a manager.

It was while at Bordeaux that Blanc faced Chelsea in the Champions League in 2008-09, with the Blues thrashing Les Girondins 4-0 at Stamford Bridge before drawing 1-1 in France.

Blanc was also France's manager from 2010 to 2012.

 

Friends Reunited

Harry Engels/Getty Images

Chelsea's last 16 tie with Galatasaray was dominated by the return to Stamford Bridge of Didier Drogba. This time out, he may not have the same hero status in West London, but Chelsea will welcome back Alex.

The Brazilian defender departed Chelsea in 2012, joining PSG at a time when their revolution was beginning to take hold.

He has been a key player since, too, and he will certainly be looking to get one over his former employers.

 

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @garryhayes

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