Paris Saint-Germain - Barcelona Preview: Ancelotti's side ready for daunting Blaugrana challenge
The ambitious Ligue 1 outfit are bidding to reach only their second Champions League semi-final as they prepare for the visit of the four-time European Cup winners on Tuesday
By Karthick Arvinth
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Thiago Motta is unavailable to face Barcelona at Parc des Princes after suffering a groin injury in training.
Midfielder Lucas Moura and striker Ezequiel Lavezzi will be recalled to the side after being rested for Friday's win over Montpellier, while Marco Verratti and Zlatan Ibrahimovic return from European bans.
Italy international Verratti is expected to get the nod alongside Blaise Matuidi in central midfield ahead of Clement Chantome and David Beckham.
Barcelona duo Xavi and Jordi Alba have shaken off thigh injuries that forced them to miss the 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo.
Javier Mascherano, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta and David Villa were all rested on the bench for that game and could return to the starting line-up.
Defenders Carles Puyol (knee) and Adriano (hamstring) and striker Pedro (suspension) are sidelined, but goalkeeper Victor Valdes returns from a domestic ban.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Paris Saint-Germain are on a 23-match unbeaten home run in European competition stretching back to a 4-2 defeat against Hapoel Tel-Aviv in the Uefa Cup group stage in November 2006.
- Les Parisiens are looking to reach their second Champions League semi-final. Their only previous quarter-final appearance was also against Barcelona in 1994-95, and it ended in a 3-2 aggregate victory.
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic (pictured, right) made 29 Liga appearances for Barcelona in the 2009-10 season, scoring 16 goals.
- Barcelona have only won two of their last eight away matches in all competitions (W2, D3, L3).
- The Catalan giants have won their last six Champions League quarter-finals and their last defeat at this stage came against Juventus in 2002-03.
- Barcelona's overall away record against French opposition is W3, D2, L2. Their most recent visit to France resulted in a 1-1 draw against Olympique Lyonnais in the 2008-09 Champions League round of 16.
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Top 3 Predictions
Paris St. Germain (PSG) 1-3 Barcelona
- 19.04 %
Paris St. Germain (PSG) 1-2 Barcelona
- 15.19 %
Paris St. Germain (PSG) 2-1 Barcelona
- 10.88 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||10 Apr 2013||Barcelona 1 - Paris St. Germain (PSG) 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||2 Apr 2013||Paris St. Germain (PSG) 2 - Barcelona 2|
|Club Friendlies (FRC)||4 Aug 2012||Paris St. Germain (PSG) 2 - Barcelona 2|
|Paris St. Germain (PSG)|
|8 Mar 2014||SC Bastia 0 - Paris St. Germain (PSG) 3||Lig1|
|2 Mar 2014||Paris St. Germain (PSG) 2 - Olympique de Marseille 0||Lig1|
|23 Feb 2014||Toulouse FC 2 - Paris St. Germain (PSG) 4||Lig1|
|18 Feb 2014||Bayer Leverkusen 0 - Paris St. Germain (PSG) 4||UCL|
|14 Feb 2014||Paris St. Germain (PSG) 3 - Valenciennes FC 0||Lig1|
|23||Gregory van der Wiel||Defender|
|8||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
|13||José Pinto Colorado||Goalkeeper|
The mercurial Swede has had his two-match European ban halved on appeal by Uefa and is set to lead Paris Saint-Germain's attack against his former club. Ligue 1's leading goalscorer with 25 goals this season, Ibrahimovic will relish the opportunity to prove a point to his one-time employers and fire the hosts to a first-leg lead.
The four-time Ballon d'Or winner became the first player in Spanish football history to score against every other opponent in La Liga consecutively in Saturday's 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo. Messi's sensational double against AC Milan in the round of 16 second leg was the catalyst for Barcelona's victory in that tie, and he will look to repeat the trick in the French capital.
Barca will have learned the lessons of their last away outing in Europe - which ended in a drab 2-0 defeat at Milan - and will try to play a high-tempo passing game and pin back the hosts inside their own half. Aside from their obvious attacking threat, PSG are also formidable at the back and are well equipped to play on the counterattack.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed