Barcelona vs. Paris Saint-Germain, Champions League: Team News, Match Preview, Kick-off time, Prediction, Lineups
|Barcelona vs Paris Saint-Germain, Champions League: Team News, Match Preview, Prediction, Lineups|
When and Where to Watch Barcelona vs. Paris Saint-Germain?
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Ansu Fati, Philippe Coutinho, Sergi Roberto, Ronald Araujo (out), Gerard Piqué, Martin Braithwaite (doubt)
PSG Outs & Doubts: Neymar, Ángel Di María, Colin Dagba, Juan Bernat, Timothée Pembélé (out), Marco Verratti (doubt)
When to watch in the USA
When: February 16 - 15:00 ET, 12:00 PT
Where: Camp Nou, Barcelona
Date/Time: Tuesday, February 16, 2021, 9pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 8pm GMT (UK), 3pm ET, 12pm PT (USA), 1.30am IST (India, Wednesday)
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Referee: Björn Kuipers (NED)
VAR: Pol van Boekel (NED)
How to watch on TV: TUDN (USA), BT Sport 3 (UK), SONY TEN 2 (India), Canal+ Sport 3 (Nigeria), Movistar Liga de Campeones (Spain).
How to watch in the USA: CBS Sports Network and live updates on MARCA English
How to stream: FuboTV (USA), BT Sport Live (UK), Movistar+ (Spain), DAZN (Canada)
Match preview Barcelona vs. Paris Saint-Germain
Lionel Messi equalled yet another club record for Barcelona against Alaves on Saturday night, and the talismanic Argentine did not even have to find the back of the net to etch his name into another chapter of the Blaugrana's history books.
The wantaway 33-year-old pulled on the Barcelona jersey for the 505th time in the Spanish top flight - matching the previous record held by illustrious midfield maestro Xavi - and in typical Messi fashion, he marked the occasion with two spectacular goals as Ronald Koeman's side eased to a 5-1 victory, with Trincao (2) and Junior Firpo also getting on the scoresheet.
As speculation over Messi's future continues to dominate talk behind the scenes, the Argentine showed PSG a glimpse of what could be theirs if they play their cards right over the next few months, but unlike Manchester City - who are believed to be going about their business quietly - numerous members of PSG's playing and non-playing staff have made no secret of their desire to bring Messi to the French capital for the 2021-22 campaign.
Such outspoken tactics have reportedly irked Barcelona, who will be even more determined to humble their opponents in midweek - and potentially convince Messi that they are once again capable of challenging for the biggest prize of them all - and the hosts' recent form suggests that they are perfectly capable of gaining the upper hand before next month's trip to the Parc des Princes.
Victory over Alaves ensured that Barcelona immediately returned to winning ways after a crushing Copa del Rey first-leg defeat to Sevilla in the semi-finals - although they will have the chance to rectify that 2-0 loss on home soil on March 3 - and Saturday's triumph marked their seventh straight success in the Spanish top flight as they rose to second in the rankings.
As well as going 12 games unbeaten in La Liga, Koeman's side have lost just two of their last 18 matches across all competitions and enjoyed a near-perfect group-stage campaign in the Champions League, but a worse head-to-head goal tally with Juventus meant that the Catalans - who sit joint-second in the goalscoring charts with 16 so far - progressed as runners-up from Group G with 15 points from a possible 18.
Barcelona have not failed to progress past the round of 16 since their enthralling tie with Liverpool in the 2006-07 campaign, with the Merseysiders advancing courtesy of away goals, and La Blaugrana boast a remarkable record against French sides in this competition too, as no team from the nation has ever come away from a Champions League tie at Camp Nou with a victory to their name.
The only French club to get the better of Barcelona at Camp Nou was Metz in the 1984-85 Cup Winners' Cup, and Barcelona will be desperate to consign last year's humiliating quarter-final exit to Bayern Munich to history as they gear up for their first meeting with PSG on Tuesday, where another 6-1 thrashing certainly would not go amiss with the impassioned Blaugrana faithful.
Unsurprisingly, Barcelona became the first team ever in the Champions League to overturn a four-goal deficit during that astonishing night at Camp Nou on March 8, 2017. Then-PSG manager Unai Emery witnessed his side hit Barca for four without reply in the first leg, but one of the most memorable and controversial matches of the 21st century culminated in the Blaugrana winning 6-5 on aggregate. However, one of the heroes of that night will not be reuniting with his former Catalan teammates this time around.
Mauricio Pochettino came under fire for his decision to field Neymar in the Coupe de France meeting with Caen earlier this month, and it was a move that certainly backfired on the Argentinian manager as his silky winger has now been ruled out for a number of weeks with an adductor injury.
Whether the former Catalan star will be able to take to the field for the second leg remains to be seen, but there is no chance of Neymar - who has been very vocal about his desire to link up with Messi again - stepping back out onto the Camp Nou turf on Tuesday in order to show Barcelona what they are missing.
The PSG infirmary has been well-occupied for a large portion of the season and is starting to fill up again at the worst possible time for Pochettino, who is taking charge of his first Champions League game for the Ligue 1 champions after Thomas Tuchel guided them to a first-placed finish in a daunting Group H.
Les Parisiens' most recent European outing against Istanbul Basaksehir was overshadowed by a racism scandal involving a fourth official - after which the players walked off the pitch in a show of solidarity - but the teams returned the next night to finish what they had started, and Neymar's hat-trick helped propel his team to top spot and a 5-1 win on the night.
The Brazilian superstar is one of four players who lead the way in the top scorer charts with six to his name - level with Juventus' Alvaro Morata, Borussia Dortmund's Erling Braut Haaland and Manchester United's Marcus Rashford - but the goalscoring burden will now weigh heavily on the shoulders of Kylian Mbappe, who struck the other two against Baseksehir last time out.
Despite their mounting injury problems, PSG will not be dethroned without a fight in Ligue 1 and victory over Nice represented their eighth win from nine matches across all competitions, but they were made to work for the three points as Julian Draxler and Moise Kean - the latter hitting double figures for the season - struck either side of a Rony Lopes leveller at the Parc des Princes.
PSG will feel that there is no reason why they cannot go one better this season after losing to Bayern Munich in the 2019-20 final - Pochettino is relatively young, hungry and has already guided Tottenham Hotspur to the showpiece event - and the visitors travel to Camp Nou having kept three clean sheets in their last four away matches, but they have not beaten a Spanish side in a Champions League knockout game since 2013.
By advancing to the knockout stages of Europe's premier competition for a ninth season on the trot, PSG have matched the previous record for a French club - with Lyon doing so between the 2003-04 and 2011-12 campaigns - but they are now coming up against a Barcelona side who have lost just one of their last 33 knockout games on home soil, winning 25 of them.
A behind-closed-doors Champions League is something that players are unlikely to ever get used to, especially considering what the atmosphere in Catalonia would normally be like for a tie like this, but there is much more than just a spot in the quarter-finals at stake between Barcelona and PSG, as Messi could potentially be swayed one way or the other depending on which European giant makes the last eight.
As well as long-term absentees Ansu Fati and Philippe Coutinho, Sergi Roberto - who sent a 90,000-strong Camp Nou into delirium by scoring the crucial sixth goal of La Remontada - has suffered yet another muscle injury and is unlikely to play a part this week.
However, Sergino Dest is back in the fold, so Koeman will have at least one recognised right-back available to try to keep Mbappe quiet, and the Barca man is expected to demote Oscar Mingueza to the bench on Tuesday.
Ronald Araujo will also watch this one from the sidelines as he recuperates from a sprained ankle, but there should be an alteration at centre-back regardless, with a possible return for Gerard Pique or Samuel Umtiti allowing Frenkie de Jong to reprise his regular midfield role.
Eighteen-year-old Pedri could also return to the engine room in place of fellow teenager Ilaix Moriba - who made his debut for the club on Saturday - while Ousmane Dembele should return to support Messi and Antoine Griezmann in attack despite Trincao's brace on Saturday.
Neymar's adductor injury has ruled him out of this game and potentially the second leg at the Parc des Princes too, and Pochettino's options out wide were further depleted by Angel Di Maria's thigh injury he sustained in Le Classique.
However, Kean demonstrated his qualities on the right-hand side against Nice and should keep Pablo Sarabia out of the team once again, with Draxler, Mbappe and Mauro Icardi all likely to retain their places in Pochettino's attack.
Doubts remain over the involvement of Marco Verratti - who took a kick to the hip from Marseille's Dimitri Payet in the derby victory - while the possibility of Rafinha returning to Camp Nou is also up in the air due to a muscular problem.
The defensive trio of Colin Dagba, Timothee Pembele and Juan Bernat are also unavailable here, and apart from Alessandro Florenzi potentially replacing Thilo Kehrer at right-back, Pochettino will name a largely unchanged side for this battle.
Possible starting lineup or POSSIBLE LINEUPS
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Dest, Mingueza, Lenglet, Alba; De Jong, Busquets, Pedri; Dembélé, Messi, Griezmann
PSG (4-2-3-1): Navas; Florenzi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Kurzawa; Paredes, Gueye; Sarabia, Verratti, Mbappé; Icardi
Ter Stegen; Dest, Umtiti, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets, De Jong, Pedri; Dembele, Messi, Griezmann
Paris Saint-Germain possible starting lineup:
Navas; Florenzi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Kurzawa; Gueye, Paredes; Kean, Draxler, Mbappe; Icardi
Head To Head Barcelona vs. Paris Saint-Germain
Tuesday's game represents the 12th meeting between Barcelona and PSG, and the Catalans boast five victories compared to PSG's three, with the other ties ending with the spoils shared.
Messi's Barcelona have knocked PSG out of the Champions League in the 2012-13, 2014-15 and 2016-17 seasons, with the 1994-95 campaign representing the only time that the French champions have sent Barca packing in the quarter-finals.
Neymar leads the way in terms of goals in this fixture with seven, but Messi - who sits on four - can attempt to catch up to his former Blaugrana teammate in a tie that has historically had goals in abundance, with 32 shared between the sides in their last eight meetings.
The absences of Neymar and Di Maria are sure to harm PSG's prospects of claiming a memorable victory on Barcelona's turf, and the hosts are likely to shuffle the pack - as opposed to a fatigued Parisiens outfit, who are having to deal with injuries in all areas of the pitch.
That is not to say that Pochettino's men cannot trouble the hosts this week - they should find the back of the net - but Barcelona are almost unplayable at the moment and Messi will certainly be fired up ahead of this meeting, so we expect Barca to take a narrow advantage into March's second leg.
Top tip and PREDICTION for Barcelona vs. Paris Saint-Germain
It could be an embarrassing night for Barça in Europe again or they could come out and stun PSG with a couple of early goals and then protect their lead for the rest of the game. Optimist bet on the second outcome: 2-1 to the good guys.
Some expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.
Prediction: Barcelona 2-1 Paris Saint-Germain.
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