MADRID (AP) — The closing time Barcelona hosted Paris Saint-Germain, it was once thought to be one of the ideal comebacks in Champions League historical previous.
The same teams will meet Tuesday at the Camp Nou for the principle time since Barcelona routed PSG 6-1 practically four years within the past.
“That sport will bolt down in historical previous,” Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembélé acknowledged ahead of the principle leg of this year’s spherical of 16. “There will almost definitely be revenge within the air for that reason of the media looking out to spice things up. Alternatively, we don’t discuss it within the squad on tale of we perceive it’ll be a tough sport. All of us know Paris, they are the present Champions League runners-up. They’re amongst the favorites to win the trophy.”
Things have changed since that match in 2017, with PSG getting closer and closer to the title and Barcelona coming off thought to be one of its worst seasons ever amid political turmoil and financial struggles. Whereas PSG made it to the final closing season, Barcelona misplaced to Bayern Munich 8-2 within the quarterfinals. The Catalan club hasn’t reached the final since 2015, when it won its closing European title.
Barcelona and PSG additionally met within the knockout spherical of the Champions League in 2013 and 2015, with the Spanish powerhouse coming out on high every time. PSG closing superior previous Barcelona within the 1995 quarterfinals. Handiest Valid Madrid and Borussia Dortmund have faced every other more times within the Champions League since 2013.
“Right here’s a outlandish sport,” fresh PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino acknowledged Monday. “I will if truth be told feel that the match is serious for the group. Winning the UEFA Champions League is the principle goal for the club.”
Neymar was once with Barcelona exact thru that historical 6-1 consequence within the closing 16, scoring twice and leading the club to victory after a 4-0 loss in Paris within the principle leg. He’s now with PSG, but the Brazilian won’t be taking part in on Tuesday on tale of of an hurt. PSG additionally won’t have forward Ángel Di Maria accessible.
“I’m not going to lie, in my conception I judge it’s greater that a participant cherish Neymar won’t be taking part in,” Barcelona defender Jordi Alba acknowledged Monday. “It’s a if truth be told foremost absence for them, cherish is Di María’s, who is a immense participant and helps quite a bit defensively and offensively.”
Barcelona additionally has some avid gamers sidelined, even though it’s likely that captain Gerard Piqué will return to action after an extended interval nursing a knee hurt. Others absences for Barcelona encompass Ronald Araújo, Philippe Coutinho and Sergi Roberto, who scored the sixth goal five minutes into stoppage time to seal Barcelona’s comeback in 2017.
“For any group it is serious to have all of your avid gamers accessible,” Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman acknowledged. “Di María and Neymar are immense avid gamers but we additionally have of us lacking who make us a stronger aspect. Both teams have foremost avid gamers lacking.”
The meeting in opposition to PSG comes at a supreme time for Barcelona. The group has recovered from a downhearted originate to the season and has Messi in high form, having scored 9 needs within the closing 9 suits in all competitions.
“I place confidence in my group and in my avid gamers. It’s clear that now we have improved, the outcomes have proven that,” acknowledged Koeman, whose group has won seven of its closing eight games in all competitions, with its only setback a 2-0 loss at Sevilla within the principle leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals closing week.
Koeman acknowledged the final discuss a possible transfer by Messi to PSG is not affecting his group. The Argentina immense wished to recede the club at the tip of closing season but had his demand denied. His contract ends this season.
“I’m not definite what the arrangement is, I’m not going to acquire into that,” Koeman acknowledged. “I must put collectively my avid gamers and Messi is a Barcelona participant. And I have quite quite a bit of hope that he’ll cease with Barcelona.”
A Champions League title would possibly well per chance well also simply lend a hand persuade Messi to cease, but first Barcelona will must acquire previous a neatly-diagnosed foe that needs to picture itself in opposition to an gentle rival.
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