Barcelona-Paris Saint-Germain Preview: Vilanova's side counting on Camp Nou boost
The Blaugrana will hope that home advantage can give them the edge over Carlo Ancelotti's star-studded outfit in Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final second leg
By Karthick Arvinth
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is racing to recover from a hamstring strain in time for the crunch encounter against Paris Saint-Germain at Camp Nou.
Cesc Fabregas is likely to be preferred in attack if Messi fails to return, while Pedro is also in contention for a starting berth after recovering from a calf injury.
Blaugrana boss Tito Vilanova may deploy either Sergio Busquets or Alex Song in central defence in place of the inexperienced Marc Bartra to counter the attacking threat of the visitors.
PSG captain Thiago Silva is expected to play despite missing the weekend win at Rennes with a bruised knee.
Thiago Motta (groin) and Alex (thigh) should also be fit, but Blaise Matuidi is suspended after picking up his third booking of the competition in the first leg.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Barcelona are on a 20-match unbeaten run at Camp Nou in the Champions League, winning 16, since a 2-1 defeat against Rubin Kazan in October 2009.
- The Blaugrana's overall home record against French opposition is W5, D1, L1, with their most recent encounter against a Ligue 1 club ending in a 5-2 second-leg victory over Olympique Lyonnais in the 2008-09 Champions League round of 16.
- Barcelona have gone on to win 18 of 23 European ties in which they have drawn the first leg away from home.
- Paris Saint-Germain have won three of their four away matches in the Champions League this season.
- The Ligue 1 leaders have never lost a two-legged European tie to Spanish opponents before. Their overall away record against clubs from Spain is W4, D1, L3.
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic (pictured, right) is the only player to have scored for six different clubs in the Champions League: AC Milan, Ajax, Barcelona, Inter, Juventus and PSG.
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Top 3 Predictions
FC Barcelona 3-1 Paris Saint-Germain
- 17.51 %
FC Barcelona 3-0 Paris Saint-Germain
- 12.54 %
FC Barcelona 1-2 Paris Saint-Germain
- 11.59 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Apr 10, 2013||FC Barcelona 1 - Paris Saint-Germain 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Apr 2, 2013||Paris Saint-Germain 2 - FC Barcelona 2|
|Club Friendlies (FR)||Aug 4, 2012||Paris Saint-Germain 2 - FC Barcelona 2|
|Dec 6, 2013||F.C. Cartagena 1 - FC Barcelona 4||ESPC|
|Dec 1, 2013||Athletic Bilbao 1 - FC Barcelona 0||LIGA|
|Nov 26, 2013||Ajax 2 - FC Barcelona 1||UCL|
|Nov 23, 2013||FC Barcelona 4 - Granada 0||LIGA|
|Nov 10, 2013||Betis 1 - FC Barcelona 4||LIGA|
|8||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
|13||José Pinto Colorado||Goalkeeper|
|23||Gregory van der Wiel||Defender|
The former Arsenal midfielder will be full of confidence after hitting the first hat-trick of his career in the 5-0 rout of Mallorca on Saturday. If Lionel Messi fails to recover from injury, Fabregas will be expected to set the tone in attack from his 'false nine' role against a well-organised Paris Saint-Germain backline.
Although he scored a goal and set up Blaise Matuidi's last-gasp leveller, the Sweden star was not at his mercurial best in the first leg and was guilty of some sloppy forward play. PSG cannot afford to be as wasteful with their chances as they were in the first leg if they are to produce an upset and knock out the hosts.
Barcelona may not have missed Messi against Mallorca at the weekend, but the Catalans suffer without their talisman against quality opposition and they would dearly love to have him back for this game. Still, the Blaugrana have two precious away goals in the bag and will start as favourites to overcome PSG at Camp Nou - although it should be a much tighter contest than their four-goal hammering of Milan in the previous round.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed