en, application, interactive_carousel
The Frenchman, an ex-Barça player, and Club VP Jordi Mestre talk about the high-profile matchup
Former FC Barcelona player Ludovic Giuly was part of the Club’s delegation in Friday’s UEFA Champions League semi-final draw in Nyon, Switzerland that has brought the blaugranes face to face with Bayern Munich. The Frenchman said he believes that "Barça should not be afraid.” He said they have to be respected but that the Catalans need to rely on their “quality, strength and conviction,” to beat the Bavarian side.
"Bayern are very strong and have had a great Champions League so far.” he added. Giuly also opined on perhaps the biggest twist of the coming tie: "Guardiola knows the Club well and now leads an incredibly strong team of his own."
Giuly formed part of the Barça team that won the Champions League in the 2005/06 season.
Vice president Jordi Mestre on the draw against the German champions
“We have to play and compete. We hope and we wish to play well and get through,” added Jordi Mestre, FC Barcelona vice president, following on from the Champions League semi-final draw.
Mestre, present at the draw along with Ludovic Giuly, Albert Soler and Amador Bernabéu as part of FC Barcelona’s official representation in Nyon, ended by saying “Pep Guardiola knows us very well….Bayern are tough opponents who work very hard."
The sides have met before in three two legged ties and in each case the winner has gone on to claim the competition
FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich have met in three previous ties in European competition with the Bavarians having got the better of the blaugranes on two occasions as well as in the group stage back in 1998/99. Barça’s overall record is one win, two draws and five defeats. In the three ties over two legs that the teams have played, one came in the UEFA Cup in 1995/96 and in the Champions League in 2008/09 and 2012/13, the team that has made it through has gone on to win the competition. Now, the two teams will meet again with Luis Enrique and Pep Guardiola in charge, two men who were involved in the previous ties in 1998/99 and 2008/09 respectively.
The first time that the two teams came face to face was in the UEFA Cup semi-finals. Barça drew 2-2 in Munich but then went down 2-1 at Camp Nou to a Bayern side who went on to beat Girondins Bordeaux in the final. In the first leg Òscar Garcia and Hagi scored in the away leg with Ivan De la Peña’s goal in the return not enough to send Barça through to the final.
Three seasons later, both sides met again in the Champions League initial phase in a group that also included Manchester United and Brondby. A goal from Steffen Effenberg gave the Germans the win in Munich with Luis Enrique playing 78 minutes. A young Xavi Hernández was also in the side and played almost the entire game. In the game at Camp Nou, Xavi played 90 minutes in a 2-1 defeat. Giovanni gave Barça the lead from the penalty spot before Alexander Zickler and Hasan Salihamidzic gave Bayern a comeback victory.
Barça and Bayern did not meet up again in European competition for another 10 years. In the quarter-finals the blaugranes put in a memorable performance in the first leg at Camp Nou. Two goals from Leo Messi, one from Eto’o and one from Thierry Henry gave the side coached by Pep Guardiola a 4-0 victory. In the return leg at the Allianz Arena the two teams played out a 1-1 draw, Ríbery and Keita, giving Barça a 5-1 aggregate win.
The last meeting between the two sides came two seasons ago, also in the semi-finals. In the Allianz Arena, Robben, Müller with two and Mario Gómez set Bayern on the road to the final with a 4-0 win. At Camp Nou goals from Robben, Müller and an own goal from Piqué handed Bayern their ticket to the final where they would lift the trophy, defeating fellow Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund at Wembley.
Friday's draw in Nyon paired off Barça with Bayern Munich and Juventus with Real Madrid in the final four of Europe's top club competition
The first leg will be played at Camp Nou on 6 May and the second leg will be at Allianz Arena on 12 May. Both games are set for 8.45pm
The stage is set and the semi-finals for the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League promises to be one for the ages. The luck of the draw — which took place at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland on Friday at 12.00pm (CET) paired FC Barcelona with Bayern Munich in the first semi-final.
Luis Enrique's squad will be going up against their ex-coach Pep Guardiola — who led the Catalans from 2008 to 2012 — in a high-profile knockout series that pits two teams with wide-open attacking styles and that should produce a pair of very entertaining football matches, regardless of who comes out on top.
Barça and Bayern previously faced off in the semi-finals of the 2012/13 Champions League, just before Guardiola took over the reins in Munich.
The other semi-final pits Italian side Juventus versus Barça's domestic rivals Real Madrid.
The first leg will be played at Camp Nou on 6 May and the second leg will be at Allianz Arena on 12 May. Both games are set for 8.45pm.
Barça's schedule set for home stretch
With the addition of two matches versus Bayern Munich to the calendar, Luis Enrique's squad have before them a demanding month of May. Before facing Beyern in the Champions League semi-finals, Barça will be at Córdoba on Saturday 2 May at 4.00pm. Between the Bayern matches, Real Sociedad will visit Camp Nou. Then, after the semi-finals, Barça face another demanding test as they will visit Atlético de Madrid. The dates and times of the matches with Real Sociedad and Atlético de Madrid have yet to be announced.
*All times CET
STAY TUNED FOR MORE...
With 30 goals in 41 games, the Brazilian has twice as many goals and he did this time last year
After scoring twice on Tuesday against Paris Saint Germain, Neymar has made it to 30 official goals this season. He has done that in 41 games and has thus doubled his tally for the whole of last season, when he scored 15 in the same number of games.
On three fronts
The Brazilian in finding the net more often on every stage. In the league, he has 18 goals from 27 outings, a vast improvement on nine from 26 last term. In the Spanish Cup he has scored six in five games and in the Champions League, six in nine – in both cases better records than in the 2013/14 season.
And some of these goals have been mightily important ones for Barça’s title bids in different competitions. In the cup, his two goals in the first half of the quarter final with Atlético Madrid all but put paid to the red-and-whites’ chances, and his first minute goal in the semi-final return leg at El Madrigal had the same effect on Villarreal’s hopes of making it any further in the competition.
In Europe, Neymar Jr destroyed PSG with three goals over the two legs. He found the target once in Paris and added two more at the Camp Nou (to add to the couple he’d already put past the French champions in the group stages). Not only is the Brazilian scoring goals, but he’s rising to the big occasion and scoring them when they are needed most!
There are no easy opponents for FC Barcelona in Friday's draw - the three other qualifiers have won the trophy a combined total of 17 times
FC Barcelona have one further hurdle to get over if they want to be in this season’s Champions League Final. The semi-final draw in Nyon, Switzerland on Friday at 12.00pm CET will reveal who stands between them and a place in Berlin. Last season’s winners Real Madrid, Italian champions Juventus or Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich will be the opposition in games scheduled for May 5/6 and May 12/13.
There’s a potential Champions League clásico in store, which would be a repeat of the clash between two of the most famous rivals in world football at the same stage in 2010/11, when Barça drew 1-1 at the Camp Nou and won 2-0 at the Bernabéu. This year, the two sides are already locked in a contest for the Liga title, and that battle could now be transferred to the European stage as well. Carlo Ancelotti’s side qualified for the last four on Wednesday night by beating city rivals Atlético Madrid 1-0, after the first leg at the Calderón had ended scoreless.
Of the four teams left in the competition, Juve is the only one that hasn’t been crowned European champion since the turn of the century, their last triumph coming in the 1996 final against Ajax. In fact, this is their first semi-final appearance since 2002/03. Managed by Massimiliano Allegri, the ‘old lady of Turin’ finished second in their group, and then beat Borussia Dortmund and Monaco in the knockout stages. Buffon, Chiellini, Bonucci, Lichsteiner and Tévez have played in every game of the European campaign.
Bayern were in trouble after losing 3-1 to Porto last week, but they eventually stormed through with a 6-1 defeat of the Portuguese side at the Allianz Arena (6-1). After also beating Shakhtar Donetsk 7-0 in the knockout stages, and with the likes of Neuer, Müller, Ribéry, Lahm, Robben, Lewandowski and Schweinsteiger in the side, the Bavarians are firm candidates for the title. If they draw Barça, it would mean an emotional return to the Camp Nou for Pep Guardiola, and also for Thiago Alcántara, who is performing well now he’s returned from injury, scoring in both legs of the quarter final.
How well do you know FC Barcelona? Test your knowledge of Europe’s top club competition
Interesting facts and statistical curiosities surrounding Barça's big win over PSG
FC Barcelona have now reached the semi-finals with nine wins in ten UEFA Champions League games, something that no other European club has done since the 2011/12 tournament.
Of the nine wins, eight were consecutive. That's FC Barcelona's best Champions League winning streak since they won 11 straight in 2002/03, under a different format.
Neymar has 30 goals this season in all competitions, double his scoring output for all of last season when he netted 15 goals in 41 games.
Neymar has also scored in every match Barça have played against Paris Saint-Germain this season, totalling 5 goals in four clashes between the two teams.
Blaugrana wing-backs Dani Alves and Jordi Alba recovered the most balls with 11 and 10, respectively.
Alba and Alves were also one-two in completed passes. Alba completed 94 passes, while Alves had 80. The illustration below shows both defenders' completed passes in the match against Paris Saint-Germain — Jordi Alba is number 18 and Dani Alves is 22:
Neymar's two goals, Iniesta's brilliance and the team's high intensity pressing were decisive in ensuring another semi-final spot
Neymar on target. The Brazilian again demonstrated what a big-match performer he is, with the two goals he scored to add to the one he picked up in the first leg, giving him five goals in four games against the French champions this season. His first at the Camp Nou on Tuesday saw him show his class to control Iniesta’s pass and round the keeper, whilst it was his aerial prowess on show for the second as he got away from the PSG defence to head home a Dani Alves cross from just outside the six-yard box.
Iniesta sparkles. Making his return to the starting eleven after missing Saturday’s game following the injury he picked up in Paris last week, Iniesta was at his exquisite best, bringing control, vision and sublime skills to his 45 minutes on the pitch. The high point has to be the build-up to Neymar’s first goal, when Iniesta slalomed through a host of PSG players from inside his own half, before sprinting away and releasing an inch-perfect pass for the Brazilian.
Xavi and Sergi Roberto chip in. The Club captain took over the conductor’s baton from Iniesta at half time and showed his trademark class and control to keep the game at arm’s distance from PSG. Sergi Roberto, on for Busquets, looked as calm and collected as he had against Eibar and Almeria as he snuffed out any French menace in the middle.
High intensity pressing. Right from the off, Barça never gave Laurent Blanc’s players a moment on the ball as they chased and harried to win back possession.
European leaders. The win over PSG means Barça have reached the last four of the Champions League seven times in the last eight years — another sign of the Club’s leadership in Europe over recent years.
Selection of Twitter and Instagram posts on Barça's quarter-final tie with Paris Saint-Germain
The Brazilian striker and UEFA man of the match praises Iniesta for set up on evening's first goal
Players not lost on significance of reaching another semi-final
FC Barcelona's Neymar Jr. was named man of the match after his two goals gave Barça a commanding 5–1 aggregate victory over Paris Saint-Germain and a coveted ticket to the semi-finals. But despite playing such a the decisive role, the Brazilian striker wanted to deflect attention and congratulate "the whole team for the job they did." He also wanted to give special thanks to Andrés Iniesta, who set up the first goal of the match: "The play he made was fantastic. He left me all alone. I just had to get by the keeper and knock it in."
In addition, for Neymar, FC Barcelona played with excellent rhythm and were able to play their game. He was all optimism: "We're alive and in good shape in all three competitions. I'm very happy with the season I'm having, but even more so with my teammates. We have to keep doing the same thing to reach our objective — to get to the Champions League final."
Here are highlights of what some of the other players had to say after Barça punched their ticket to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League:
"The credit goes to everyone."
"Another semi-final berth is spectacular. We're practically required to get there, but we want to get past the semis."
"Our idea was always to win the game from the first minute, even though the result was already in our favour. It was the only way."
"It's important for the Club to be in the semi-finals. It may sound easy, but it isn't. We're two games from another Champions League final and hopefully the next round is ours."
"I think the mind-set with which we faced the game was correct. If they scored first, they'd have gotten back in it. To avoid that, we had to attack, and that was how we avoided the risks."
"The two goals from Neymar settled us down. But it was also thanks to the score in the first leg."
"We played well in both games, and now we are in the semi-finals, which is what we wanted."
"Playing with these teammates makes everything easier."
The boss was also happy with his players' reading of the game and the team's pressing
Luis Enrique was clearly happy with the win over PSG when he spoke after the game insisting: “We made a great start to the game, with almost perfect pressing from the off. The players understood perfectly what the game demanded”, whilst commenting: “I hope the best is still to come”.
The win came in the boss’ fiftieth game in charge, during which he’s set a new record at the Club with 42 wins – something he laconically stressed “now needs to be followed by titles”.
“We made a great start to the game and the players understood exactly what was wanted of them. Their attitude and the pressing they did is good news for us”.
“In the first half our pressing was perfect and that needed all the players to contribute”.
“We are good defending, whether that be pressing high up the pitch, closing down in the middle or defending in our area”.
“I’d like to think the best is still to come. That’s what the players have been working for since the start of the season, to be in the fight for titles. The league is difficult because there are other teams up there, there’ll be three other top teams in the Champions League semis and there’s another finalist in the Spanish Cup”.
“Our objective is to be amongst Europe’s best -that’s to be expected with the players I’ve got and the work they’re putting in. Now our objective is to be better than the team we play in the semi-finals”.
“The fact that Barça have been in 8 of the last 10 Champions League semi-finals shows we are one of Europe’s top Clubs and what’s more we have our own individual style of play”.
Only last season, when they were knocked out by Atlético Madrid in the quarter-finals, have Barça missed out on the reaching the last four of the Champions League
With the victory against Paris Saint-Germain, FC Barcelona have assured themselves of a place in the semi-finals of the Champions League for the seventh time in the last eight years. In that time the Catalans have made it to the final twice, lifting the trophy on both occasions.
The success of recent years and their particular brand of attractive football have meant that Barça have been a continual presence in at this stage of the competition. The defeat in the last 16 against Liverpool in 2007 was a turning point and the following season the blaugranes reached the semi-finals against Manchester United. Since then, only last season when they went out in the quarter-finals to Atlético Madrid, have they failed to make the last four of the competition.
Eight from ten
In the last ten years FC Barcelona have improved markedly improved their record in the final stages of the Champions League. To the seven semi-finals since 2008 we can add once more, in 2006 against AC Milan ahead of Barça’s victory in Paris against Arsenal in the final. So, Barça are the team who have reached the last four on most occasions in the last decade.
All the very latest news from the build-up to the Champions League quarter final second leg
All 23 members of the first team picked for Tuesday's Champions League quarter final
The full Barça squad has been named to receive Paris Saint-Germain in Tuesday night’s Champions League quart final second leg, including Thomas Vermaelen, despite not receiving medical clearance. There is also a place for Iniesta, who was declared ready to play on Monday. Five names will need to be dropped from the list before the 8.45pm CET kick-off at the Camp Nou.
Barça will be defending a 3-1 lead from the first leg at the Parc des Princes.
A collection of the biggest stories in the build-up to the Champions League second leg
We offer you a guide to kick-off times and TV channels around the world for Tuesday's Champions League match
The Champions League match between FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain is being shown in different countries and on different channels. But don’t worry if it’s not available in your country, because you can always listen to our live English commentary on Radio Barça. You can also follow our minute by minute coverage as well as the team and player stats on Barça's official website. Twitter users can follow @FCBarcelona for live updates as the action unfolds.
Tuesday 21 April 2015
Los Angeles – 11:45 PM (PST) / New York – 2:45 PM (EST)
Fox Sports 1 USA, ESPN Deportes, Fox Soccer 2Go, Fox Sports GO, SiriusXM FC, WATCH ESPN
Brazil – 3:45 PM (Brasília)
REDE GLOBO, ESPN Brasil
Latin America – Buenos Aires 3:45 PM / Santiago Chile 3:45 PM / Mexico DF 1:45 PM
ESPN Cono Norte, ESPN + Andina, ESPN Cono Sur, ESPN Play Argentina, ESPN HD Latin, ESPN3 South America, ESPN + Sur, ESPN Latin America Andina, ESPN Play Latin America, ESPN Mexico
United Kingdom – 7:45 PM
ITV 1 UK
France – 8:45 PM (CET)
Barcelona – 8:45 PM (CET)
TVE La 1, TV3, Movistar TV Fútbol
Arab Countries – 9:45 PM (Mecca Time)
beIN Sports Arabia 1 HD, beIN Sports Arabia 11 HD, beIN SPORTS CONNECT Arabia
Russia – 9:45 PM (MSK)
NTV+ Sport Online, NTV+ Football
Wednesday 22 April 2015
India – 0:15 AM (IST)
Ten Action, Ten HD, TEN Sports LIVE
Indonesia – 1:45 AM (WIB)
SCTV, Orange TV Indonesia, Liputan Champions
China – 2:45 AM (CST)
CCTV 5+ VIP, PPLive, Sina Sports, CNTV Sports, QQ Sports Live, CCTV-5
FC Barcelona: Tencent Weibo, Sina Weibo and www.fcbarcelona.cn
Japón – 3:45 AM (JST)
Sukachan 0, SKY PerfecTV LIVE
Australia – 4:45 AM (Sydney)
*Source: Live Soccer.tv
The blaugrana coach considers the tie against Paris Saint-Germain as not yet decided but remains confident they can make the last four
Luis Enrique could not have been clearer: he thinks that the tie against Paris Saint-Germain is far from over yet he is optimistic about his team’s chances of making the Champions League semi-final: “I have a good feeling because we know our opponents well, we have met three times this season and in the three games we have seen more positives than negatives.” The coach also highlighted the fact that the team is currently “at their best” physically and “PSG are in the same condition as we are.”
Below we reproduce Luis Enrique's most important statements from Monday’s press conference at the Ciutat Esportiva:
“The result of the first leg is good but it is not definitive. We need to play really well to to get through the tie.”
“The idea is the same as before the first leg: to have the ball. That brings with it putting pressure on our rivals.” “We have to be prepared because there could be a game similar to the first leg or totally different.”
“If our opponents put us under pressure, we have the wherewithal to deal with it. Seeing up to which point our opponents put pressure on us is one of the most exciting aspects of the game.”
“We know that the fans will be there for us because it is a very attractive fixture and that is a guarantee. It’s makes us stronger.”
“Leo comes into the game in good condition, in great form. His 400 goals is a figure that is impossible to repeat.”
“I have only have praise for Luis Suárez’s work. Settling into a new city is always a handicap and every player needs time to adapt.”
“Iniesta is available and Mathieu has a knock but he also will be available.”
(The return of Ibrahimovic and Verratti) “In footballing terms is not an issue because PSG will keep playing with the same style, but it will add to their individual quality, since they have a lot of potential.”
“Perhaps we will change the system, but it won’t be a question of one player playing or not, but in function of if we can create problems for our rivals.”
The French coach admits that Paris Saint-Germain have little chance of making it to the semi-finals whilst Javier Pastore believes they have nothing to lose
The result of the game in Parc des Princes means that Paris Saint-Germain will have to come from behind if they are to make it to the semi-finals of this season’s Champions League. In the traditional pre-game press conference ahead of Wednesday’s game in Camp Nou, Laurent Blanc and Javier Pastore have admitted that beating Barça will be “very difficult” whilst at the same time highlighting the fact that “we have nothing to lose”.
Below we highlight some of the most important comments from the French coach and the Argentine midfielder:
“I am a realist and we know that it will be very difficult, given that it we have had little time to prepare for the game. We don’t have anything to lose and we will simply play our usual game.”
“We will have the chance to score goals. The only problem is that to get through we cannot concede more. That is impossible given that the majority of team have conceded.”
“Barça dominated but we also will have the ball, but we have to show that we can make them work hard. We will try to pressure them high up the field.”
“The return of Ibrahimovic will have a great impact and he is a player who has great self-confidence. He loves this kind of game.”
“There is a great difference between Barça and us. Barça have great players and it’s a great club who have recently won the Champions League more often than PSG.”
“It will be a tough game and I think the only positive is that we have nothing to lose.”
“We have to play well and we will try to score early on to get some confidence. We can win or lose but we go out with the aim of playing well and making our fans happy.”
Despite an excellent result in the first leg, the Uruguayan striker implores his teammates to keep up the intensity
The big 3–1 victory at the Parc des Princes gave a huge advantage to FC Barcelona. Luis Suárez, however, isn't taking anything for granted: "We know the result is in our favour, but PSG have a lot of good players and we have to face the game at Camp Nou with the same intensity as last week." Suárez was cautious: "The most dangerous thing is to think that our work is done."
Suárez was the main protagonist in the first leg in Paris with two of Barça's three goals. On his recent performance with Barça, Suarez admitted: "I feel I'm helping, and I am happy about that, but the most important thing is that the team is on the right path and keeps progressing until the end of season."
Here are some of the highlights of what Suárez had to say:
"I always dreamed of playing in the Champions League. Every European match motivates me, even more with Barça. We have to continue on to get what all the players want, which is to win the competition."
"Everyone knows about Ibrahimovic. He's always been among the best five or six forwards in the world. We have to watch out for him."
"I went a long time without playing at first and it took me a while, but I always felt good with my teammates and the city."
"I don't think I'm the best when I score, nor do I think I'm the worst when I make an error."
"It's a privilege to share the dressing room with [Messi and Neymar] and all three of us are aware that we must work for the benefit of the group."
"I'm grateful to my teammates for the treatment I've received since I arrived and that gave me confidence. With hard work and sacrifice everything works out."
"I'm very self-critical with myself and for a while I felt I wasn't helping the team. But everyone gave me support and that gave me the strength to go forward."
Midfielder healthy after suffering severe back contusion at Parc des Princes
Andrés Iniesta has received medical clearance. The midfielder is now available for Luis Enrique, having recovered from severe contusion suffered during the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals versus Paris Saint-Germain at Parc des Princes. Both he and the rest of the available first-team players worked out on Monday morning, one day prior to the return leg.
Jérémy Mathieu did individual work, while Thomas Vermaelen worked out with the group.
The game against PSG kicks off on Tuesday at Camp Nou at 8.45pm CET.
Barça host PSG at the Camp Nou on Tuesday before travelling across the city to face Espanyol in the league on Saturday
With two big wins against PSG and Valencia under their belts, the team take on the Parisians in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-finals at the Camp Nou on Tuesday, as another big week begins. Four days after PSG’s visit, Barça travel to city rivals Espanyol to defend their lead at the top of the league.
Below is the team’s schedule for this week:
11.00 am: Training at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper
10.30am: Training at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper
8.45pm: FC Barcelona – PSG, return leg of the Champions League quarter-final
11.00am: Training at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper
11.00am: Training at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper
4.00pm: RCD Espanyol – FC Barcelona, week 33 of La Liga
11.00 am: Training at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper
All times CET
In an exclusive interview, Dani Alves looks forward to Tuesday's clash with PSG and reckons"the team are in perfect condition and we are coming into the game very strong"
“It’s an important advantage we’re taking into the match, but it’s not decisive"
Dani Alves missed the game in Paris against PSG because of suspension, but he is available again for the return leg at the Camp Nou on Tuesday and in an exclusive interview he talks about how the team have to approach the game, insisting: “it’s an important advantage we’re taking into the match, but it’s not decisive and certainly not definitive”.
Alves reckons that Barça showed in the first leg that “we want to fight to win this competition. We showed our usual character and personality and we were prepared to take risks – that’s the only way we will achieve what we are aiming for in the Champions League”
The Brazilian reckons: “we have to focus on the players who are available and not on those who are missing. Verratti missed the first leg and he is the playmaker for them”, whilst admitting that Thiago Silva and David Luiz: “are two world class players and if they aren’t playing, it’s bound to have an effect”.
Dani Alves insisted: “we won’t be sitting back on the lead, because we don’t know how to play like that. Our philosophy and the spirit of the team is to fight for every ball and play every game as if it were our last. We can’t think about our lead, we need to control the game and look to score from the off, that’s the only way we will beat PSG”
Barça's eternal rivals keep pace in La Liga; Parisians reclaim top spot in Ligue 1
Spanish Cup final opponents Athletic Club Bilbao rout Getafe at San Mamés
FC Barcelona are sitting pretty at the moment following a week of outstanding performances, including their exhilarating 2–0 victory over Valencia at Camp Nou on Saturday afternoon and Wednesday night's gargantuan 3–1 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. The Catalans currently sit atop the table in La Liga and have one foot in the Champions League semi-finals as they patiently await the final of the Spanish Cup, to be played on Saturday 30 May at Camp Nou.
Barça's three rivals in the three competitions — Real Madrid in La Liga, PSG in the Champions League, and Athletic Club Bilbao in the Spanish Cup — all won over the weekend.
Real Madrid keep pace
Second-place Real Madrid avoided a setback with a 3–1 win over Málaga on Saturday evening at the Santiago Bernabéu, maintaining a two-point deficit behind FC Barcelona in La Liga. Madrid went up 1–0 on 24 minutes thanks to a goal from defender Sergio Ramos. Cristiano Ronaldo hit the post on a penalty kick in the 66th, but James Rodríguez picked up Ronaldo with a goal just one minute later.
Juanmi struck right back in the 69th and Málaga were threatening to draw even when Ronaldo — who had been imprecise all evening — tapped in to make it 3–1 in the first minute of injury time.
PSG back on top
Paris Saint-Germain bounced back from Wednesday's painful 3–1 home defeat to FC Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals by reciprocating that score in a big road win at Nice on Saturday afternoon. The victory puts the Parisians back into first place in Ligue 1 after they temporarily ceded the top spot to Lyon, who had beaten Bastia on Wednesday night in midweek French League action.
PSG's Javier Pastore opened the scoring on 39 minutes but Nice's Mathieu Bodmer struck back six minutes later. Pastore secured a brace with his second goal of the day at the 63 minute mark and Edinson Cavani set the final 3–1 score in stone by converting a penalty kick with just over 20 minutes left to play.
Athletic Club win in rout
Currently eighth in La Liga and with a Spanish Cup final matchup versus FC Barcelona in the back of their minds, Ernesto Valverde's squad shutout Getafe at San Mamés on Saturday by a score of 4–0. The Basques still have an outside shot at a berth in the UEFA Europa League next season, although this season's success looks like it may hinge on what happens when they face the Catalans at Camp Nou on 30 May.
Striker Aritz Aduriz scored on a penalty kick just before halftime and then netted his second goal two minutes after the intermission to pace Athletic Club. Midfielder Ibai Gómez added another in the 79th and Markel Susaeta rounded out the scoring in the 87th. Athletic goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz only faced one shot on goal.
The other side of Paris Saint Germain v FC Barcelona
The press is unanimous in its praise for FC Barcelona's performance on Wednesday night, with the Uruguayan and Neymar appearing on plenty of front pages
Barça’s impressive 3-1 win at the Parc des Princes in the Champions League quarter final first leg will best be remembered for two outstanding goals by Luis Suárez. In Catalonia and in the striker’s home country of Uruguay, the press was glowing with praise for his stunning performance in the French capital.
Luis Suárez, along with strike partner Neymar Jr, who scored FCB’s first of the night, appear on the covers of all three main sports dailies in Catalonia. S’ runs with the headline “SuperSuárez and into the semis”, Mundo Deportivo adds a French reference with its cry of “Oh la la!” and L’Esportiu did likewise by emblazoning the word “Eurodisney” on its front page.
In Uruguay, El Observador highlights how Luis Suárez “stormed Paris” and El País lauds “two nutmegs and two scorchers”.
Understandably there was not quite such a jubilant mood in the French papers this morning. The main sports daily in the country, L’Équipe, titled its piece “La Desillusion”. The report goes on to say that Barça’s win was “logical and severe” and that “PSG have lost almost all hope of qualifying for the semi-finals.”
The Guardian in the UK ran its story under the headline "Barcelona dazzle PSG as Luis Suárez brilliance lights up Paris", while in America, ESPN made a cheeky reference to a local dessert in its title: "PSG written off after Barcelona dish out Catalan creaming in Paris." Reuters, in its piece titled "Suarez on hot streak for treble-chasing Barcelona", has worked out that PSG "face close to an impossible mission to make the last four as based on historic results in first legs of two-legged European ties Barca's chance of advancing to the semi-finals is 98.5 percent."
If that's the case, then Barça have every reason to feel very, very optimisitic!
The French champions had not lost at home in Europe for 33 matches, a record stretching back to 2006
The 3-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain was the ninth victory for Barça in the current edition of the Champions League and the seventh in a row.
Barça thus brought an end to PSG’s record of not having lost a European fixture at the Parc des Princes since November 2006. The French side had gone for 33 games without defeat in Paris, a record of 22 wins and 11 draws.
Barça have won 3-1 away in the first leg of a European fixture on two occasions in the past and went on to qualify both times.
The first time was in the opening round of the 1971/72 European Cup Winners’ Cup against Distillery of Belfast. After winning 3-1 in Northern Ireland, Barça won the return leg 4-0, all four goals scored by Marcial Pina (4-0).
The other time it happened was against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League of 2011/12. After a 3-1 win in Germany in the first leg of the quarter final tie, the Camp Nou witnessed a spectacular 7-1 win for the Catalans, with Messi famously scoring five goals and Tello getting the other two.
This was the second European away fixture in a row in which Luis Suárez scored twice after he also bagged a brace at Manchester City. The following diagram shows how the Uruguayan scored his second of a wonderful night in Paris:
Neymar Jr once again opened the scoring in a Barça match, the tenth time this season that he has done so.
The Brazilian striker has found the target in all three of the games played against PSG this season. Suárez also scored in the two games he featured in.
Gerard Piqué made his 300th appearance in a Barça shirt on Wednesday night. The breakdown of these games is as follows: La Liga (186), Spanish Cup (33), Champions League (68), Spanish Super Cup (9), European Super Cup (1) and Club World Cup (3).
Martín Montoya made his first Champions League appearance of the season against PSG. The game also marked win number 50 for the Catalan defender while wearing a Barça shirt.
Luis Suárez says it isn't over yet, while Gerard Piqué knows that winning all three titles will mean dealing with very tough fixture list
The FC Barcelona players were naturally delighted with the 3-1 win at PSG, and Luis Suárez, scorer of two spectacular goals, said after the final whistle that “we were intelligent. We knew that it’s never easy against such a strong opponent. And we knew how strong PSG are in their stadium and that we’d need to play with intensity. And that’s what we did.”
The Uruguayan added on a more cautious note that “you never know what might happen in football. PSG are a top quality side, and although we have a good lead, the tie is not over yet.”
On his brace at the Parc des Princes, he commented that “strikers always look to get goals. Luckily we had two great moves. Nutmegging David Luiz was the last resource for the third goal and luckily it worked out. It meant that the team could afford to be more relaxed.”
A selection of other comments made after the game:
“PSG have some quality players and we knew we had to use the whole width of the pitch. We played well, attacked well, and scored goals.”
“We aren’t in the semis yet. There is another game to play and we have to do more of the same if we want to qualify.”
“Suárez scored two great goals and had a great game, as did the rest of the team.”
“We’re in a fine position but we still need to go out for the second leg and try to win the game so that we can comfortably get into the next round.”
“We learned from the Sevilla match. We played a more complete game here in Paris and that was reflected by the scoreline.”
“We played a great game in every department. We created chances and they created very few. We can go home feeling that we did our job well.”
“We are very confident. The lads are really happy. We knew how hard it would be to get here, top of the league, in the cup final and with the right result we can get into the semi-finals of the Champions League.”
“We need to treat every game like a final from now on. First Valencia, then PSG at the Camp Nou. It’s a tough fixture list but if we want to win all the titles on offer, then we’re going to have to get through these games."
“We dominated. We knew that if we left just the smallest space open at the back, that they’d take any chance they had to get a goal. We worked very well in that aspect and looked to find gaps in their defence. In general, it was a great all-round performance.”
“We haven’t qualified for the semi-finals yet. We know that PSG will be coming to Barcelona to play intense football and to attack us as much as they can."
“At the Camp Nou we will have to play even better than we did here in Paris because we’ll be playing in front of our fans and qualifying is so much nicer when you do so by playing well.”
A collection of posts following FC Barcelona's wonderful performance in Paris
The FC Barcelona manager confirms Andrés Iniesta's back injury after the game but says it isn't serious
Barça won 3-1 at the Parc des Princes and are on fine course for a place in the Champions League semi-finals. But Luis Enrique insists that “we have seen everything in football and our target is to win the return match and steer clear of any problems … We played a spectacular game in attack and defence. We were very aware of what we had to do in all phases of the game and created danger, were solid in defence and all-round it was a very complete performance.”
Here are some other comments made by the FC Barcelona manager after Tuesday night’s game:
“PSG will have their suspended players back for the return leg, so I’m sure it’ll be a difficult match.”
“The tie is not decided. We shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking it’s all over, because it isn’t.”
“I would have preferred them not to have score and we weren’t all that lucky because the ball deflected off one of our players. 3–0 would have been the perfect result.”
Freedom of movement
“The strikers have the freedom to do what they think is best in attack. They are intelligent, top-notch players.”
“Luis Suárez scores like only a centre forward can score. But I would highlight all of the players today. When they play so well and with such intensity, it only reinforces our idea.”
Injury to Andrés Iniesta
“Andrés took a very nasty knock, and although the team doctors will need to examine him back in Barcelona, it doesn’t look very serious and that’s good news for us.”
Messi, Neymar and Suárez all made decisive contributions to the win at the Parc des Princes
1) Montoya, in place of Alves. Luis Enrique finally picked Martín Montoya as a stand-in for the suspended Dani Alves. The right back played 77 minutes of his eleventh game of the season and performed solidly. With the score at 3-0, he was substituted by Adriano.
2) Messi and Neymar Jr. The Argentinian and the Brazilian wreaked havoc this evening, especially in the opening 20 minutes. The former struck the post shortly before setting up Neymar Jr for the opening goal.
3) Injuries for Thiago Silva and Iniesta. David Luiz, a late inclusion in the PSG squad, came on for the injured Thiago Silva shortly after his international team-mate had put his side a goal down. FC Barcelona had injury troubles of their own when Iniesta was kneed in the back and had to be replaced by Xavi.
4) Magic from Suárez. Two works of art from the Uruguayan put Barça well in command. In the first, he rounded David Luiz, Marquinhos and Maxwell before tucking the ball away. In the second, he beat David Luiz again before finding the top right corner with a tremendous finish. Just as he did away to Manchester City, the Barça striker produced a fine brace of goals to put his team in strong contention for a place in the next round.
5) Unfortunate ending. PSG pulled a goal back when Van der Wiel’s shot hit Mathieu to surprise Ter Stegen, who seemed well prepared to save the initial attempt. The German had earlier denied Cavani with the finest save in what was a solid personal performance.
We take a look at the centre back's illustrious career at the club
Gerard Piqué is the latest Barça player to make it to 300 official appearances. In Paris he reached the same landmark figure as Sergio, Pedro and Dani Alves before him this season. In this time he has scored 26 goals, quite an achievement for a centre back.
In six competitions
Piqué’s appearances have come in six different competitions, all of which he has helped the team win at some time or other, namely La Liga (186), the Spanish Cup (33), the Champions League (68), the Spanish Super Cup (9), the European Super Cup (1) and the Club World Cup (3).
More goals than ever
This season, in what is turning out to be his most productive yet in terms of goals, he is the seventh highest goalscorer for the first team. He has six in the league, cup and Champions League, all of which have come from set pieces, which is one aspect where Barça have vastly improved under Luis Enrique this season.
All the stories from the build-up to Wednesday's Champions League quarter final first leg at the Parc des Princes
Paris Saint-Germain and FC Barcelona go head-to-head in this evening’s massive European clash, and here’s a summary of the big stories as the 8.45pm CET kick-off approaches:
MATCH PREVIEW. Paris Saint-Germain v FC Barcelona
LUIS ENRIQUE PRESS CONFERENCE: The tie is open and attractive
TER STEGEN PRESS CONFERENCE. Ter Stegen highlights need to be fully focused
LAST TRAINING SESSION. FC Barcelona getting ready for the match. Barça train at PSG's stadium
TRIP TO PARIS. Luis Enrique and his team arrive in the French capital. FC Barcelona first team arrive in Paris
LAURENT BLANC AND MAXWELL PRESS CONFERENCE. Blanc sees defensive performance key against FC Barcelona
PREVIOUS GAMES AT PARC DES PRINCES. A reminder of previous visits by Barça to the PSG stadium. Paris home to plenty of FC Barcelona memories
INFOGRAPHIC. PSG and FC Barcelona's records in all competitions
INTERACTIVE. Where do the PSG and FC Barcelona players come from?
INTERNATIONAL KICK OFF TIMES. When and where to watch the Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and FC Barcelona
THE PSG v BARÇA QUIZ. Test your knowledge of facts surrounding the big game
The blaugranes travel to France for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie
The draw for the Champions League quarter-finals brought the blaugranes face to face once again with the current French league champions. The two teams were in the same group earlier in the competition with Barça pipping Laurent Blanc’s team to top spot in Group F. With the blaugranes having overcome Manchester City in the last 16 and Paris Saint-Germain having eliminated Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, the two clubs are now set to battle it out for a place in the Champions League semi-finals.
Luis Enrique’s side trained at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday with the Barça coach having brought his entire squad to Paris minus the recovering Thomas Vermaelen and the suspended Dani Alves. German goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen seems set to continue in goal as he has done throughout the competition so far with Claudio Bravo, first choice in La Liga, relegated to a place on the bench.
Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc will have to make do without the former Barça striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swede has scored 13 goals in his last seven games for club country, including two hat tricks, but is unavailable for the first leg due to suspension. Midfielder Marco Verratti and defender Serge Aurier also must serve a one game ban and a three game ban respectively. Brazilian defender David Luiz is a surprise inclusion in the squad after recovering from a hamstring injury picked up in PSG’s recent victory against Ligue 1 arch rivals Olympique Marseille. However, former Barça midfielder Thiago Motta is ruled out after also suffering a hamstring injury in the same game.
Blaugrana coach Luis Enrique can in no way be accused of underestimating his team’s opponents, reminding everyone in the pre-game press conference in Paris on Tuesday, “From the start I have said that PSG are one of the favourites for the title.” Paris Saint-Germain boss and former Barça player Laurent Blanc touched upon the valuable experience of already having come up against Barça twice in the competition: “We have learned lessons from the game in the group stage in the Parc des Princes. We will have to defend well not to concede at home.”
Barça have made it to the quarter-finals of the Champions League for a record eight seasons in a row thanks to their victory over Manchester City in the previous round, which included a 2-1 triumph away from home in the Etihad Stadium. Luis Enrique’s side had won nine games in a row in all competitions before being held to a 2-2 draw on Saturday in La Liga by Sevilla in the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán stadium.
Paris Saint-Germain have won four in a row following defeat in the league against Girondins Bordeaux, their only loss in their last 20 matches. The most recent win came in the French League Cup final on Saturday when they claimed the trophy by beating Bastia 4-0, Ibrahimovic and Cavani scoring twice each.
In this season’s group stage Paris Saint-Germain recorded a 3-2 win over Barça in the Parc des Princes. The blaugranes, however, had their revenge with a 3-1 victory at Camp Nou in the final round of fixtures in Group F, allowing Luis Enrique’s side the luxury of topping the group with the French champions qualifying as runners-up. The two sides met in the quarter-finals two seasons ago, Barça going through on away goals after drawing 2-2 in Paris and 1-1 at Camp Nou. The blaugranes last victory on French soil came in the initial group stage back in 2001/02. A Barça side featuring Xavi Hernández won 3-2 away at Olympique Lyonnais. The blaugranes have drawn on three of their last four visits to France.
Paris Saint-Germain have not lost at home in their last 33 matches in Europe, recording 22 wins and 11 draws in that time. Their last defeat in the Parc des Princes came against Israeli club Hapoel Tel Aviv in the UEFA Cup back in November 2006. The club from Paris are hoping it will be third time lucky after losing at the quarter-final stage last season to Chelsea and the season before to FC Barcelona.
No matter where you are in the world we have you covered. And remember, you can enjoy live commentary in English on Radio Barça. The link will appear at fcbarcelona.com just before kick-off. Twitter users can follow @FCBarcelona for a live feed of all the action.
At 10.00am CET there will be another window for tickets for members without season tickets; on Thursday it will be extended to other members and the general public
On Wednesday 15 April from 10.00am CET, members without season tickets at Camp Nou will be able to buy tickets for the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final between FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain that will be played on 21 April at 8.45pm CET. The following day, Thursday 16 April, at 10.00am CET, the sale of tickets will be extended to all members and fans who wish to see the game live at Camp Nou. The tickets can be purchased on the Club’s official website at www.fcbarcelona.com, at Ticketmaster and the FC Barcelona ticket office. A maximum of six tickets can be purchased per member with a 5% discount on the first ticket.
This is the second window for the sale of tickets that FC Barcelona have opened with regards to the second leg at home against PSG. The first came just days after the Champions League quarter-final draw was made and was closed once all available tickets at the time had been sold. Now, just a week before the game at Camp Nou between Barça and PSG, there will be a new window due to the tickets that are now available through the Seien Lliure scheme.
Season 2014 - 2015iCal
League - Round 35 Sat 05/ 2/2015 16:00
Champions League - 1/2 1st leg Wed 05/ 6/2015 20:45
League - Round 37 Sun 05/17/2015