Barcelona vs PSG, Champions League: Preview


FC Barcelona vs Paris Saint-Germain


Competition/Round: 2023-24 UEFA Champions League, Quarter-Finals, Leg 2

Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Gavi, Andreas Christensen, Sergi Roberto, Alejandro Balde (out)

PSG Outs & Doubts: Presnel Kimpembe (out)

First Leg Result: PSG 2-3 Barcelona

Date/Time: Tuesday, April 16, 2024, 9pm CET (Barcelona), 8pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 3pm ET, 12pm PT (USA), 12.30am IST (India, Wednesday)

Venue: Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, Montjuïc, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Referee: István Kovács (ROU)

VAR: Marco Fritz (GER)

How to watch on TV: CBS (USA), TNT Sports 1 (UK), SuperSport (Nigeria), SONY TEN (India), Movistar (Spain), others

How to watch online: Paramount+ (USA), Discovery+ (UK), Movistar+ (Spain), others


Following a narrow win over Cádiz in La Liga at the weekend, Barcelona return to action for their biggest European game in five years as the Catalans welcome Paris Saint-Germain to the Montjuïc Olympic Stadium for the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie on Tuesday night.

Barça come into this one after an epic comeback in the first leg that gives them a one-goal advantage in the return match, and Barça’s task is pretty simple: if they avoid defeat on Tuesday night, they will reach their first Champions League semi-final in five years.

But simple doesn’t mean easy: as the first 15 minutes of the second half in Paris clearly proved, PSG have more than enough talent to make Barça’s life hell if the Blaugrana make poor mistakes with the ball in midfield and allow the visitors to counter-attack in numbers.

The other 75 minutes of the first leg provided the formula for Barça’s success: the Catalans were excellent without the ball, with a very well organized defense that shut down Kylian Mbappé and a very precise and efficient attacking strategy focused on controlling the midfield and getting the ball to the forward players as quickly as possible.

Luis Enrique will no doubt make plenty of adjustments and Achraf Hakimi’s return is a crucial addition to the PSG attack, so Xavi Hernández and his troops must expect and react appropriately to a different, more aggressive and offensive-minded approach from the visitors who need a two-goal win to qualify and a one-goal victory to force extra-time.

The Blaugrana showed plenty of mental fortitude in the French capital and Xavi made crucial substitutions to ignite the comeback in the second half, and that combination of team spirit and inspired game management from the coaching staff needs to happen once again to ensure Barça will move on.

This team has grown and matured so much in the last two months that an embarrassing European exit seems unlikely, but it’s impossible not to think of Rome or Anfield. The circumstances in those nights were very similar: Barça had a very successful first leg and qualification seemed like a foregone conclusion, and then tragedy happened.

This time, however, the second leg is at home, where Barça have won every match in Europe this season and with a Montjuïc crowd that has been at its very best in the biggest games. There is a sense of calm and confidence from fans, players and coaches that we’ve rarely seen, and everything is set up for a glorious night in the Catalan capital.

But PSG are too talented to be taken for granted, and Barça must know they are in for a war. There will be moments of real tension and we might all fear for the worst at times, and the team must rise to the occasion to make sure there will be no disaster this time.

Let’s dance.


POSSIBLE LINEUPS

Barcelona (4-2-3-1): Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Cubarsí, Cancelo; Pedri, De Jong; Yamal, Gündogan, Raphinha; Lewandowski

PSG (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Hakimi, Marquinhos, Hernández, Mendes; Zaïre-Emery, Vitinha, Fabián; Barcola, Mbappé, Dembélé


PREDICTION

I’m actually scared of how much I trust this Barça side in their current form, but I think they’ve finally figured out how to stay mentally strong and survive the tough moments. PSG are too talented to be taken for granted, but I think the home team will find a way to avoid defeat and reach the Final Four: 1-1 draw.

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