Paris Saint Germain
Bay Arena, Leverkusen
18th February, 2014; 07:45 GMT
The German side Bayer Leverkusen host mega rich PSG in the round of 16 of UEFA Champions League on Tuesday and the absence of Edinson Cavani may play a key role in the result of this game.
PSG reached the quarter-finals of last season’s competition under the guidance of Carlo Ancelotti and look to be among the contenders this term after a strong group stage campaign.
If there is going to be one surprise result in the Champions League round of 16 this season it has to be BayerLeverkusen ousting French champions Paris-Saint Germain when the two sides meet in the first of two legs this week.
Their recent form may not suggest as much, but Leverkusen are out to prove a point in Europe. With their big budget and star names, Paris-Saint Germain will no doubt be favorites, but Sami Hyypia ‘s Leverkusen are every bit capable of springing a surprise on Laurent Blanc and his troop of top earners.
Team News and Tactics
On Wednesday, Leverkusen were knocked out of the German Cup by second-division side Kaiserslautern. Four days later they lost their fifth match in seven against Schalke.
Domestically, however, Leverkusen have struggled recently and have lost five of their last seven, including a shock home defeat by second-division side Kaiserslautern in the German Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday.
Sami Hyypia’s side played better despite losing 2-1 at the Bayer Arena to Schalke 04 on Saturday, although striker Stefan Kiessling is strugging to reclaim his touch in front of goal.
Leverkusen will be without midfielder Emre Can due to suspension, while Stefan Reinartz (foot) is a doubt.
The hosts are depleted by the loss of strikers Eren Derdiyok (foot) and Robbie Kruse (knee).
Sami Hyypia’s men qualified for the knock-out stages after finishing second behind Manchester United in Group A, with a 1-0 win at Real Sociedad in the final round of group fixtures ensuring Leverkusen’s place in the last 16.
Leverkusen have been in disappointing form of late, winning just two of their previous seven outings.
Expected Line-up (4:3:3) – Leno; Hilbert, Toprak, Spahic, Boenisch; Bender, Rolphes, Castro; Sam, Kiebling, Son
Paris Saint Germain
The French capital club head into Tuesday’s first leg at the BayArena in fine form, having lost once in 10 matches in all competitions since the end of the mid-season break.
Laurent Blanc’s men lost just one game on their way to topping Group C, the setback coming against Benfica after the Ligue 1 champions had already secured progression. The French capital club head into Tuesday’s first leg at the BayArena in fine form, having lost once in 10 matches in all competitions since the end of the mid-season break.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has produced some of his best performances in Europe this season and is the tournament’s second top-scorer with eight goals.
And the onus will likely be on the Sweden striker to deliver the goods again with strike partner Edinson Cavani – the scorer of 20 goals since joining from Napoli – set to miss out because of a thigh injury picked up against Bordeaux last month.
Defender Christophe Jallet is the only other major injury concern, although the right-back is nearing a return to full fitness.
Expected Line-up (4:3:3) – Sinigu; Van Der Wiel, Alex, Thiago Silva, Maxwell, Cabaye, Verratti, Motta; Moura, Ibrahimovich, Lavezzi
Bayer Leverkusen 1-2 Paris Saint Germain
Even though Cavani is not playing in this match, it will be very difficult for the Germans to stop the star studded attack of Parisians considering they have the likes of Ibra and Lavezzi in their ranks.