On Wednesday, Paris Saint Germain and FC Barcelona will meet again for the third time this season in the first leg of their quarterfinal series at the UEFA Champions League. The world seems to be getting smaller for these two giants as the frequency of their meetings have been steadily increasing in recent years. Although, not seen as traditional rivals by many, their match-ups are nonetheless one of the most exciting to watch in club football today. Barca remain as the top favourite here, but PSG have shown in their recent encounters that they should really be taken seriously.
Barca and PSG first met this season in the group stage of the Champions League. Before that match few believed that an Ibrahimovic-less PSG can put a good fight against Barcelona. But they surprised everybody after they defeated Barca 3-2 and ended their winning run which began at the start of the season. However, Enrique’s squad were able to get back at Leblanc’s team in their second group encounter defeating them at Camp Nou 3-1. Two years ago, these two clubs have also met in the same stage of the competition. Both of those matches ended in draws, 2-2 at Parc de Princes and 1-1 in Nou Camp. Barca were able to progress because of the away goals rule.
If we look at the results of their recent clashes, we might expect that their upcoming clash this week might be another fifty-fifty affair. But that might not be the case this time as PSG will miss Veratti and Ibrahimovic for this fixture. They’ll both serve their one match suspensions on Wednesday. David Luiz and Thiago Motta will also be absent because of the injuries they sustained during the match against Marseille early this month.
On Barca’s side, Dani Alvez will definitely not play in this match also because of a suspension. Jordi Alba meanwhile is questionable here because of a hamstring injury. Other than those two players, all is well for Barca. Their strike force of Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez will all be present at Parc de Princes. With the absence of the four key players on the PSG side, it’s not realistic to expect them to win in this match. They would be really very lucky just to have a draw here. For Barcelona, I’m sure they’ll not take the Parisians lightly on Wednesday and score as many away goals as they can. With the absence of four key personnel on the PSG side, this match will be a great opportunity for Barca to finish this series before the second leg in Spain.