FC Barcelona vs Paris Saint-Germain: Messi man for the miraculous moment

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End of an era for Enrique’s Barcelona

Luis Enrique is gearing up for what is likely to be his last UEFA Champions League encounter as FC Barcelona manager. The Catalan giants lost 4-0 in the Parc des Princes and a turnaround in the 2nd leg looks highly unlikely against an impressive PSG side.

Barcelona have recently reverted to a back 3 and that experiment looks set to continue tonight after it bore fruit in 3 consecutive La Liga encounters. PSG’s domestic form is similarly good - Unai Emery’s charges have won 5 of their last 6 Ligue 1 encounters which sees them right back in the mix for the title after a sluggish start.  

The Spanish champions have every chance of winning the second leg but their failure to score an away goal in Paris is likely to cost them dear in European competition in 2017.

Team News

Barcelona

Ruled out: Aleix Vidal, Mathieu

Doubtful: Mascherano

Likely starting XI (3-4-3): ter Stegen; Piqué, Umtiti, Alba; Rafinha, Busquets, Rakitic, Iniesta; Messi, Suárez, Neymar

PSG

Ruled out: Motta

Ineligible: Guedes

Doubtful: Marquinhos, Rabiot, Di María

Likely starting XI (4-3-3): Trapp; Meunier, Marquinhos, Silva, Kurzawa; Verratti, Rabiot, Matuidi; Draxler, Cavani, Di María

Key Players

When a miracle is required, teams usually turn to their best players to pull a rabbit out of a hat and Lionel Messi is the magician that falls into this category. If Barcelona becomes the first side to ever overturn a 4-goal first leg deficit in Champions League history, Messi will be instrumental to that achievement. Another club legend Andrés Iniesta will be hoping to roll back the years and turn out one more big performance on a big European night.  

Marquinhos has become a first team regular this season but if reports are to be believed, talks over a PSG contract extension have stalled. Tonight’s opponents are one of the sides courting the Brazilian and that speaks volumes about the esteem in which the 22-year-old centre back is held. He’s versatile, quick and technically sound, qualities revered at Camp Nou. New signing Julian Draxler had a night to remember in the first leg and the versatile German’s pace and trickery will likely come in handy as the game becomes more stretched.

Key Match Stats

  • Barcelona have scored at least 2 goals in 6 of their last 8 matches against PSG.
  • Barcelona are gunning for their 15th straight home win in the Champions League.
  • Barcelona have won 7 of 10 matches against French opposition at the Camp Nou.
  • PSG are undefeated in their last 7 matches in the Champions League.
  • PSG have scored at least 2 goals in their last 6 Champions League matches.
  • PSG are unbeaten in their last 16 matches in all competitions.
  • There have been over 2.5 goals in 9 of PSG’s last 11 Champions League matches.

Picks

Barcelona shot themselves in the foot in Paris but might fancy their chances of winning the second leg in what is likely to be Luis Enrique’s last European match in charge. However, ClickaBet offered odds of 5 for the draw which seem long enough for a punt in a match which Barcelona will be chasing and space will open up for PSG on the counter.

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