PREVIEW | FC Barcelona v Paris Saint-Germain

PREVIEW | FC Barcelona v Paris Saint-Germain

With home advantage and a one-goal head start, a place in the Champions League semi-finals is well within reach

These are exciting times at FC Barcelona. After two years in which the team failed to progress beyond the group stage of the Champions League, and in a 2023/24 season that didn't get off to the most promising of starts, the team has put all of its difficulties in the past and now stand just 90 minutes away from a place in the last four of Europe's premier club competition.

Paris Saint-Germain was never going to an easy opponent to beat. Barça needed everything they had and more to win in the French capital, battling back from 2-1 down in a pulsating encounter to eventually win 3-2 and leave themselves in an enviable position going into Tuesday's second leg at the Estadi Olímpic, kick-off at 9pm CEST.

There is every reason to feel excited, but over-confidence and thinking the job is already done would be very foolish at this stage. As we saw in the first leg, PSG are a very fine side indeed. Just one goal from them, and with away goals no longer counting in Europe, would take everything back to square one.


What is for sure is that Montjuïc, venue for so many huge events over the years, is about to live one of the biggest yet. And we all know that when the blaugrana faithful are in full voice, it is the visiting teams that need to worry most...

A thirteenth semi-final appearance is there for the taking, and what would be the first since 2018-2019, and against either Atlético Madrid or Borussia Dortmund, with the Spanish side heading to Germany with a 2-1 advantage. Just one more hurdle to cross before the chance to go to Wembley in May. This is as big as it gets...

The first leg

Six days ago in Paris, Barça weathered an early PSG storm before taking the lead through Raphinha. However, two goals from the home side in the first five minutes of the second half undid all that good work, and Barça were playing catch-up. And catch up they did with the Brazilian scoring a spectacular second off an equally impressive Pedri assist and then substitute Andreas Christensen heading in the winner just moments after coming on to give Barça the 3-2 lead that they'll be defending on Tuesday.

What that means is that Barça have now just lost two of their last nine meeting with the Parisians, and they also now have the chance to win both legs against PSG for only the second time in a number of memorable meetings. The last time it happened was in 2014/15.


Historically, games between these two teams have been dramatic affairs, throwing 50 goals in 14 meetings, an average of 3.6 a game. Five of th0se came in the last game, where Raphinha not only scored his first ever Champions League game, but added a second too. With Lewandowski fresh after being suspended at the weekend, Ferran Torres enjoying his finest season yet, João Félix excelling as MVP in Cadiz on Saturday and Lamine Yamal in the hunt to become the youngest UCL goalscorer of all time, Barça are flying on all cylinders. And they're charged up in defence too, having just kept an awesome sixth consecutive clean sheet in La Liga.

Team news

With both Pedri and Frenkie de Jong back to full fitness, Barça's only injury concerns are Gavi and Alejandro Balde, neither of whom are expected to feature again this season. However, Xavi is also going to have to make do without Andreas Christensen, scorer of the winner in the first leg, and his captain Sergi Roberto, both of whom picked up yellow card suspensions in Paris.

PSG are without any of the injured Presnel Kimpembe, Layvin Kurzawa and Sergio Rico, and there are also concerns over a head injury sustained by Nordi Mukiele. However, Luis Enrique will be relieved to welcome back Moroccan full-back Achraf Hakimi, who was sorely missed due to a suspension in the first leg.

As usual the men to watch will be Kylian Mbappé, regarded by many as the finest player in the world but who the Barça defence did such a good job of containing in Paris, and of course old friend Ousmane Dembélé in his first return to Barcelona since his departure last summer.

PSG also have the advantage of having had no fixture at the weekend and thus being able to spend the whole week reflecting on how they might be able to turn this around.

What they're saying

Xavi was calling for a 'cauldron' like atmosphere at the Estadi Olimpic in his pre-game press conference, while Pedri was the chosen representative of the players to take to the UEFA microphones.

It is unlikely that anyone needs reminding, but the man in charge at PSG is an old friend in Luis Enrique, who both played for and managed Barça in the past and still considers himself a Culer at heart. But all that will be set to one side on Tuesday, and in his usual confident mood he has spoken about how ready his team are to turn things around. So many times in the past Barça fans have hoped the Asturian was right. But this time, we all hope he's wrong... Força Barça!!!

Força Barça
Força Barça

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