After all the excitement from last night’s Quarter-final fixture, it is now time to look forward to another set of fixtures with PSG travelling to FC Barcelona, while Juventus host Bayern Munich.
In the first leg their fixture, PSG made a wonderful come-back in the second half of the match. Although they avoided a defeat due to the late equaliser from Blaise Matuidi in the 90th minute of the match, they fact that they have conceded two away goals have put them on the back foot in this tie. But it would be preposterous to rule them out completely in this fixture as night’s match between Dortmund and Malaga showed, knockout matches at this stage of a competition can’t be predicted.
Barcelona comes into this match high on confidence after thrashing five goals past Mallorca in the weekend. Cesc Fabregas scored a wonderful hattrick while Alexis Sanchez ended up with a brace. The Catalan giants are on a 20 match unbeaten run at Camp Nou in the Champions League and they would look to extend this run against PSG tonight. In fact the Spanish side have lost only five of their 23 knockout ties in which they have drawn in the firt leg.
PSG, like Barcelona, are also coming into this match on the back of a good result. They gave a solid away performance against Rennes and won the match 2-0 with Jeremy Menez and Zlatan Ibrahimovic getting on the score sheet. The French club also have a good record against Spanish side in the Champions League, in fact PSG are yet to lose a two legged tie against a Spanish club. PSG are one seven match unbeaten run in the Champions League.
The big news for Barcelona is that they will be without Lionel Messi in this match after the Argentine was substituted at the half-time due to a hamstring injury. The little magician missed out Barcelona’s clash against Mallorca at the weekend and will once against be replaced by Fabregas in the role of false number nine after his hattrick at the weekend.
The other selection dilemma that manager Tito Vilanova faces is whom to partner Pique at the back. According to Spanish press he is likely to deploy either of Alex Song or Sergio Busquets at the center back, in place of youngster Marc Bartra who started in the weekend. Xavi, Alba, Valdes and Villa – who were rested against Mallorca – will return to the starting line-up once again. It will also be a tough choice between Pedro and Sanchez, the Chiliean forward scored a brace and provided two assists against Mallorca. Vilanova might be tempted to start with the 24-year-old old in this match.
Probable Starting Line-Up (4-3-3) – Valdes (GK); Alves, Pique, Song, Alba; Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Sanchez, Fabregas, Villa.
Blaise Matuidi, who scored the equaliser in the first leg, will miss this match due to suspension. David Beckham is likely to retain his place in the midfield, while Verratti is expected to return to the starting line-up alongside Beckham. Thiago Silva is also reportedly carrying a knock but he will start in this match despite any discomforts. Thiago Motta is also fit and available once again, but he is unlikely to part of this match, due to the lack of his match fitness.
Probable Starting Line-Up (4-2-2-2) – Sirigu (GK); Jallet, Alex, Silva, Maxwell; Verratti, Beckham; Moura, Pastore; Lavezzi, Ibrahimovic.
Key Match Facts
- PSG have won their last three away games in the Champions League (against Dinamo Zagreb, Dinamo Kiev and Valencia), scoring twice in each of these games.
- 25% of the teams have managed to qualify for the next round in the knockout stage of the European Cup after drawing 2-2 at home in the first leg (4 out of 16).
- All 19 of PSG’s goals in the Champions League this season have been scored from inside the box, more than any other side.
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic has delivered six assists in the Champions League this season, more than any other player.
- Thiago Silva has made the most interceptions in the Champions League this campaign (33).
Facts courtesy Eurosports.