Champions League

PSG or Barcelona will be team to avoid

2015-04-14 13:19
Luis Enrique (AFP)

Paris - One team won nothing last season. The other is closing in on winning everything this season.

Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain both have points to prove in the Champions League quarterfinals. But on Wednesday at Parc des Princes, PSG will be without Zlatan Ibrahimovic's goals, Marco Verratti's midfield zest and David Luiz's forays from the back against the most potent attacking trio in European soccer: Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.

Barcelona isn't worry-free. It squandered a run of nine consecutive wins with a 2-2 draw at Sevilla on Saturday, letting Real Madrid back into the Spanish league title race. Neymar's show of dissatisfaction at his second-half substitution also showed that coach Luis Enrique still doesn't have complete authority and is prone to costly lapses in strategy and personnel management.

And France is tough territory for Barcelona: The four-time European champions haven't defeated a French team on French soil since goals from Patrick Kluivert, Rivaldo and Gerard beat Lyon in the group stage of the Champions League in 2001.

PSG and Barcelona lost in the quarterfinals last season. Advancing this time will turn the victor into the team to avoid in the April 24 semifinal draw and a possible favorite for victory in the June 6 final in Berlin.

After their first season in six years without a major trophy in 2014, Spain's league leaders want silverware again while four-time world player of the year Messi is still at his best.

After winning France's League Cup last weekend and qualifying for the French Cup final, the French league leaders remain on track for a mega-haul of four trophies.


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