PSG v Barcelona preview: David Luiz in contention to boost PSG hopes

first_imgTeam news, manager quotes, match facts and odds for the Champions League quarter-final between PSG and Barcelona.BACKGROUND Paris St Germain will look to overcome the absence of key players including striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against Barcelona.PSG are buoyant after strong domestic performances last week having beaten bitter Ligue 1 rivals Olympique de Marseille 3-2, thrashed St Etienne 4-1 in the French Cup semi-finals, and won the League Cup final 4-0 against Bastia on Saturday.The two teams have met regularly recently in the Champions League, with PSG beating Barca 3-2 at home in a Group F game this season before losing 3-1 at the Nou Camp.Barca reached the 2013 semi-finals by eliminating PSG on away goals, drawing 1-1 at home after a 2-2 stalemate in Paris. Barca’s Brazil right back Dani Alves is suspended for Wednesday’s game, with Adriano or Martin Montoya likely to replace him in the starting line-up. TEAM NEWSPSG are without the suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic and injured midfielder Thiago Motta, who picked up a thigh injury in their recent Ligue 1 encounter with Olympique de Marseille.However, PSG’s Brazil centre back David Luiz could return to action after being named in the squad having recovered from a hamstring problem. Dani Alves is suspended for the visiting side.Thomas Vermaelen travelled with the squad to Barca, but is unlikely to feature. There remains speculation Neymar could be dropped from the Barca starting team. MANAGER QUOTESLaurent Blanc: “Do I feel a new momentum? It’s been the case for a while. We worked physically (during the winter break) and today, in money time (the latter stages), we’re good. We are gaining momentum while last year at the same time we were on the way down.”Luis Enrique: “Alves is an important player for us, as evidenced by the amount of minutes he plays. However, we have a large squad and the options I have available to me offer me reassurances that Dani Alves’ absence will not condition how we play. I like everything about my team; that’s why we are where we are.”MATCH FACTSPSG are the only team who have managed to beat Barcelona in this Champions League season, as well as the only one able to score 3+ goals against the Spanish side since the 2013/14 edition. Barcelona have won six consecutive games in this competition for the first time since 2011/12, scoring 2.5 goals per game on average in the process.This will be the third Champions League quarterfinal played between these two sides: the French team progressed in the 1994/95 season while the Spanish one made it through the semifinal in 2012/13.Each of the six Champions League clashes between these two sides have seen both teams finding the net, with exactly 10 goals scored apiece.Barcelona have found the back of the net in all the last 18 European games against a French opponent, while PSG have failed to score only once over the last 13 meetings in Europe versus a Spanish side.However, Barcelona are yet to win a European game away to France since October 2001 against Lyon: since then, the Spanish have drawn three games and lost one. Barcelona will play the Champions League quarterfinals stage for the 18th time in their history: Luis Enrique’s side have progressed 9 times, including seven of the last eight times they’ve reached this round.On the other hand, PSG have stepped into this stage three times previously, failing to progress in the last two editions of the competition (2012/13 and 2013/14).The French side have conceded the most goals (10) in this Champions League among the eight teams left on the battle field.17 of Barcelona’s 18 goals scored in this Champions League have come from open play, a competition-high this season.David Luiz’s goal on the 30th of September 2014 was the only one scored by a defender in the Champions League meetings between these two teams since 1995. Lionel Messi has scored 43 goals this season in all competitions, reaching 40+ goals in a single campaign for the sixth time in a row with Barcelona.The Argentinian has scored 20 goals and assisted 13 in his 19 appearances for Barcelona in 2015 (all competitions). PSG have lost none of the 17 games this season (all competitions) in which Zlatan Ibrahimovic have not been in the starting eleven, winning 12 and drawing five.–last_img

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