PSG vs Barcelona: Champions League Match Preview
The French capital prepares for one of the hottest nights in its history as Parc des Princes and PSG host Barcelona.
The league 1 leaders are looking to try and book what would be only their second ever appearance in the last four of the Champions League. (Their last appearance in the semi-finals was in 1995, when coincidentally they knocked Barca out in the quarter-finals.)
The mega rich club have brought in a whole new team, boasting names like Thiago Silva, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, David Beckham and Ezequiel Lavezzi, but the French table toppers face a team filled with Europe's finest players (even though Barca have been off form in the domestic campaign recently.)
With Ibrahimovic back the French side are almost at full strength. That is a huge boost for PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti, who should also have Lucas Moura back after an ankle injury, while Ezequiel Lavezzi should play after being rested for Friday’s 1-0 home win against Montpellier.
“We will send out a team that will try to play football,” said Ancelotti, who knows his team are underdogs.“The players are happy to play this match. There is a little bit of concern because we will be up against a fantastic side, but we need to think positively because it is great to be able to play a Champions League quarter-final.”
And the Spanish side are also boosted by the return of their coach Tito Vilanova - who will be on the bench for the first time this year after he returned from America last week following cancer treatment.
“To see Tito again gave us great happiness,” said Messi. “It is important to have him with us for the run-in. He looks in good shape and is raring to go.”
Paris St Germain
Leading striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is available after his two-game European suspension was reduced to a single-match ban.
Lucas Moura is fit following a back strain and looks certain to start along with Ezequiel Lavezzi, who was rested at the weekend.
Thiago Motta is out with a groin injury, but Marco Verratti has served his European ban and will line up alongside Blaise Matuidi in central midfield.
David Beckham will look to get some action from the substitutes' bench.
Javier Mascherano, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta and David Villa were all rested at the weekend - but will all return.
Xavi and Jordi Alba have also made the trip to the French capital after they recovered from hamstring problems.
Striker Pedro will be missing through suspension, whilst injury forced Carles Puyol and Adriano to remain in Barcelona.
Victor Valdes will be recalled in goal after being suspended for league action at the weekend.
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