PSG v Barcelona
Wednesday 15th April 2015, Parc des Princes. Live on Sky Sports 5. Kick-off 7:45pm.
Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona meet for the third time this season in Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg.
The two clubs met in the group stages with Barcelona topping the group two points ahead of PSG. The French club won the first encounter at Parc des Princes 3-2 before Barca won the reverse fixture 3-1.
In league form both have flourished recently as they sit top of their respective leagues. PSG hold a one-point lead over Lyon following an impressive 3-2 win against rivals Marseille and claimed the French League Cup with a resounding 4-0 success versus Bastia last time out. Manager Laurent Blanc believes their cup triumph is perfect preparation for their visit on Barcelona.
The former Manchester United defender told reporters; “A perfect match? Yes. It’s a great win. It’s great preparation for Barcelona. We will rise in intensity for Wednesday to play a big game.
“It’s more important how the team plays than individuals. All my players are capable of playing in the Champions League.”
The Parisians will be depleted after Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marco Verratti and Serge Aurier picked up suspensions against Chelsea in the last round, while David Luiz and Thiago Motta are both expected to miss out with injuries.
“Even if we have problems with injury and suspension, we will have a competitive team,” Blanc added.
Barcelona are top of the La Liga table but could only muster a disappointing draw at the weekend to shorten their advantage over Real Madrid to two points. Goals from Lionel Messi and Neymar gave the Catalan giants a lead against Seville but a goalkeeping error led to Ever Banega pulling one back before Kevin Gameiro equalized in the final 10 minutes – ending a nine-game winning run.
Barca downed Manchester City in the last round of the Champions League with a 2-1 away win before overcoming the English club 1-0 at the Nou Camp. Boss Luis Enrique knows his side must use their previous experience, especially the group meetings with PSG, to overcome a team he believes are strong enough to win the competition.
“They’re very dangerous and we have a lot of respect for them,” Enrique told his club’s official website.
“We have experience from the group stage, with a win and a defeat.
“After beating Chelsea, they showed they’re a strong candidate to win the competition.”
Despite PSG being in strong form, their depleted line up should come up short against a good Barcelona side looking to bounce back from Saturday’s disappointing draw. Ladbrokes are offering 17/20 for the Catalan outfit to win while Barcelona to win by 1 goal is 11/4 with SkyBet.