Two European heavyweights, PSG and Barcelona lock horns in the round-of-16 first-leg clash of Champions League 2020-21. Barca thrashed Alaves 5-1 in the previous La Liga outing, while PSG are coming off a 2-1 triumph over Nice was not as dominant.
Match Timings: Feb 17, 1:30 AM IST
Champions League’s most anticipating encounter will be played between PSG and Barcelona tonight. Messi recently equaled the record of playing most matches for Barcelona with the 505th match against Alaves on Saturday night. Messi and Trincao scored a brace in the emphatic 5-1 victory against Alaves. Considering the final season of Messi with Barca, the club would look for silverware this season. Even PSG are also looking to get Messi during the transfer window. Barcelona’s victory came after the 2-0 defeat to Sevilla in the first-leg semifinal of Copa del Rey.
Saturday's victory took them to second in the table and their winning streak reached seven matches. Barcelona are unbeaten in Spain’s top-flight from the last 12 games. Koeman's men have lost just two of their last 18 matches across all competitions. In the group stage of the Champions League, Barcelona finished second to Juventus. The Spanish club have cleared round-of-16 tie every time since 2006-07. They also have a good record against French clubs. Barcelona have never lost a Champions League fixture at Camp Nou.
Meanwhile, PSG are highly boosted after taking the top spot in Ligue 1 but the only target they look at is the Champions League. The French club was the runner-up side of the last edition, losing to Bayern 1-0 in the final. Mauricio Pochettino took the charge as the new manager and PSG won the first trophy of the season. He fielded Neymar in the Coupe de France clash with Caen and his decision backfired as the main winger of PSG will not be available for the Champions League tie due to an adductor injury.
Under Thomas Tuchel, PSG finished on top in Group H. Kylian Mbappe will now have a big responsibility in the absence of Neymar. They have won eight matches from the previous nine matches across all competitions. PSG have earlier kept three clean sheets in their last four matches at Camp Nou and have not beaten a Spanish side in a Champions League knockout game since 2013.
Possible Lineups & Current Form
Ter Stegen; Dest, Umtiti, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets, De Jong, Pedri; Dembele, Messi, Griezmann
Current Form: W W W W L W
Previous Match: 5-1 victory against Alaves (La Liga)
Navas; Florenzi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Kurzawa; Gueye, Paredes; Kean, Draxler, Mbappe; Icardi
Current Form: W L W W W W
Previous Match: 2-1 victory over Nice (Ligue 1)
15 goals in La Liga 2020-21
6 goals in La Liga 2020-21
16 goals in Ligue 1 2020-21
10 goals in Ligue 1 2020-21