Despite the absence of Neymar, there will be plenty of sub-plots as Paris Saint-Germain return to the Camp Nou to take on Barcelona.
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There will be plenty of sub-plots as Barcelona welcome Paris Saint-Germain to Spain, not least the memory of a record UEFA Champions League comeback the last time the sides crossed paths.
• Barça – with Neymar, now of Paris, playing a leading role – overturned a 4-0 first-leg defeat at this stage of the UEFA Champions League four years ago, a 6-1 second-leg success completing a remarkable comeback in one of only five UEFA competition ties in which a side has won on aggregate having lost the first game by a four-goal margin – and the sole instance in the UEFA Champions League knockout phase.
• That was one of the highlights of Neymar's four years as a Barcelona player before he joined Paris in 2017, although the Paris forward has been ruled out of this first leg by injury.
• The Brazilian's Matchday 6 hat-trick this season helped secure his club's place in the round of 16 as Group H winners, while Barcelona had to settle for second position in Group G after closing their campaign with a heavy home defeat against Juventus to end their long unbeaten run at the Camp Nou in the UEFA Champions League.
• Since the group stage concluded Paris have replaced Thomas Tuchel with Mauricio Pochettino, who knows the city of Barcelona well as both player and coach.
• Barcelona and Paris's last tie, in the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League round of 16, proved one for the ages. The French side looked to be easing through after a 4-0 first-leg win at the Parc des Princes, Ángel Di María scoring twice and Julian Draxler once, only for Barcelona to run out 6-1 winners at the Camp Nou with Neymar scoring twice. A Layvin Kurzawa own goal and Lionel Messi's penalty also helped the Spanish side turn round the tie, Sergi Roberto scoring the decisive goal five minutes into added time.
• Paris and Barcelona faced each other four times in 2014/15. In the group stage, Paris recorded a 3-2 home victory with Marco Verratti on target; Messi and Neymar found the net for Barcelona. When the teams met again on Matchday 6, the Catalan club secured top spot in Group F with a 3-1 home win, recovering from Zlatan Ibrahimović's opener thanks to Messi, Neymar and Luis Suárez.
• Neymar scored three goals in Barça's 5-1 aggregate win against Paris in that season's quarter-finals, one in a 3-1 first-leg win at the Parc des Princes and both in a 2-0 home victory at the Camp Nou.
• In the 2012/13 quarter-finals Barcelona beat Paris on away goals after two draws – 2-2 at Parc des Princes, 1-1 at the Camp Nou. Messi was on target in the first leg in Paris.
• The sides' first UEFA Champions League meeting came in the 1994/95 quarter-finals, Paris prevailing 3-2 on aggregate. A 1-1 draw in Spain was followed by a 2-1 home victory at the Parc des Princes, Raí and Vincent Guérin scoring in the last 18 minutes.
• Barça have won four of the last five fixtures between the clubs; before that they had triumphed in just one of six games, with three drawn. That success came in the 1997 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final, Ronaldo getting the only goal in Rotterdam.
• Barcelona were beaten 3-0 at home to Juventus on Matchday 6, relinquishing top spot in Group G to the Italian side on head-to-head record despite a 2-0 victory in Turin in the second round of fixtures. Ronald Koeman's side recorded two wins against both Ferencváros (5-1 h, 3-0 a) and Dynamo Kyiv (2-1 h, 4-0 a) and sealed their place in the round of 16 with two matches to spare. However, the reverse against Juve meant they failed to win their section for the first time since 2006/07.
• That Matchday 6 loss was Barcelona's first in 39 UEFA Champions League home matches, a run that started in September 2013 (W34 D4); a 5-1 defeat of Lyon in the 2018/19 round of 16 second leg eclipsed the previous competition record of 29 set by Bayern München between March 1998 and April 2002.
• Defeat by Juve also ended Barça's four-year, 25-match unbeaten run in the UEFA Champions League group stage (W19 D6), since a 3-1 reverse at Manchester City on Matchday 4 in 2016/17.
• Second in the Spanish Liga behind Real Madrid last season, this is Barcelona's 25th UEFA Champions League campaign, a competition record they share with Madrid. They are in the round of 16 for the 17th successive season.
• In 2019/20, Barcelona picked up 14 points to finish four clear of Borussia Dortmund in their section, collecting seven points both home and away.
• Having replaced Ernesto Valverde with Quique Setién as coach, the Blaugrana then saw off Napoli in the round of 16 (1-1 a, 3-1 h), only to suffer their heaviest European loss in the quarter-finals in Lisbon as they went down 8-2 to Bayern.
• Matchday 6 was only Barcelona's fourth defeat in their last 38 UEFA Champions League fixtures (W24 D10).
• Barcelona have appeared in 13 successive UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, a competition record. They last failed to reach the last eight in 2006/07, the previous season before this in which they failed to win their group.
• Barcelona have been European champions on five occasions, most recently in 2015 after beating Juve 3-1 in the final. Koeman, who succeeded Setién as coach in August, scored the winner in their first final victory against Sampdoria in 1992.
• Messi's goal against Ferencváros on Matchday 1 made him the first player to score in 16 successive UEFA Champions League campaigns.
• Already the youngest player to score in the UEFA Champions League, Ansu Fati was also on target at home against Ferencváros; Pedri's strike meant for the first time in the competition's history, two players under 18 had found the net in the same match.
• Fati's goal on Matchday 1, aged 17 years 355 days, made him the first player to score more than once in the UEFA Champions League before his 18th birthday.
• Barcelona have been in the round of 16 every year from 2004/05 onwards, winning 14 of those 16 ties. They lost two of the first three, most recently on away goals against Liverpool in 2006/07 (1-2 h, 1-0 a), but have won their last 13 – including against Napoli in 2019/20.
• That win against Napoli made Barça's home record in the round of 16 W14 D1 L1 – they have won the last 13 matches.
• Barcelona have won their last six home games in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds, and are unbeaten in 15 knockout games at the Camp Nou (W13 D2), since a 3-0 loss to Bayern in the 2012/13 semi-final second leg.
• Barcelona's record in two-legged sides against Ligue 1 opponents is W5 L3; after losing the first three contests they have won the last five, most recently beating Lyon at this stage of the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League (0-0 a, 5-1 h).
• That was also Barça's fourth successive win at home to French clubs; their overall record against Ligue 1 sides at the Camp Nou is W9 D2 L1.
• Paris have won four of their six games in this season's competition, including the last three, at home against Leipzig (1-0) and away at Manchester United (3-1) before booking their round of 16 place with a 5-1 home win against İstanbul Başakşehir on Matchday 6 that also secured first place in Group H. They also beat the Turkish club 2-0 away on Matchday 2, in between 2-1 defeats at home to United and away to Leipzig.
• Neymar is the joint leading scorer in this season's UEFA Champions League with six goals, level with Juventus's Álvaro Morata, Erling Braut Haaland of Dortmund and Marcus Rashford of eliminated Manchester United.
• Ligue 1 champions for the seventh time in eight years in 2019/20, and ninth time overall, Paris also won both domestic cups last season. This is the French side's ninth successive UEFA Champions League campaign and 13th in total.
• Paris reached their first European Cup final last season, only to lose 1-0 to Bayern in Lisbon. They had beaten Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16 (1-2 a, 2-0 h), Atalanta in the one-off quarter-final (2-1) and Leipzig (3-0) in the semi-final en route to the decider.
• The Parisians have now reached the knockout stages on their last nine UEFA Champions League appearances, although 2019/20 marked their first semi-final appearance since 1995. They suffered three successive last-16 defeats prior to last season.
• Under Tuchel, the French club finished first in a section also including Real Madrid, Club Brugge and Galatasaray in 2019/20. They won five of their six games, drawing the other, and conceded only two goals to finish five points above Madrid.
• Paris had scored in 34 successive UEFA Champions League games, matching the competition record set by Madrid between 2011 and 2014, before drawing a blank in last season's final. They have found the net in all six matches this term, making it 32 successive group stage fixtures in which they have now scored.
• Paris have won 16 of their last 24 UEFA Champions League matches (D3 L5).
• The French side have also been victorious in eight of their last 15 away UEFA Champions League fixtures (D2 L5) and had won four in a row before drawing 2-2 at Real Madrid on Matchday 5 last season. Since then, their away record is W2 L2.
• Paris's round of 16 record is W5 L3; last season's comeback win against Dortmund ended a run of three consecutive round of 16 eliminations that began with that 2016/17 tie against Barça.
• Paris have won only two of their last 11 matches against Spanish clubs, home and away (D2 L7).
• Last season's 2-2 draw at Real Madrid ended Paris's run of five successive defeats away to Liga clubs, with three goals scored and 15 conceded in that sequence of defeats.
• The French club's record in two-legged ties against Spanish sides is W5 L4. Those four defeats have come in the four most recent contests, three against Barcelona and, most recently, against Real Madrid in the 2017/18 round of 16 (1-3 a, 1-2 h).
• Paris have not beaten a Liga club in a knockout tie since eliminating Valencia 3-2 on aggregate at this stage of the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League; the 2-1 win in that first leg is Paris's last victory in Spain, where their subsequent record is D2 L5.
Links and trivia
• Neymar scored 105 goals in 186 games in all competitions for Barcelona between 2013 and 2017, when he joined Paris. He got the last goal in their 3-1 victory against Juventus in the 2015 UEFA Champions League final, and won two Liga titles and three Copas del Rey during his time in Spain, plus the 2015 FIFA Club World Cup.
• Rafinha was a Barcelona player between 2006, when he joined the club aged 13, and departing for Paris in October 2020. He scored 12 goals in 90 appearances for the senior side after making his debut in 2011, and was part of the squad that won the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup – scoring in a 5-4 win against Sevilla – and FIFA Club World Cup in 2015. He also helped the club win three Liga titles and also lifted the Copa del Rey five times, also having loan spells at Celta Vigo in 2013/14 and 2019/20.
• Mauro Icardi, who grew up in the Canary Islands and represented local club Vecindario as a schoolboy, was part of the Barcelona youth system between 2008 and 2011 before leaving for Sampdoria, where he made his professional debut.
• Have played together:
Clément Lenglet & Sergio Rico, Pablo Sarabia (Sevilla 2016–18)
Miralem Pjanić & Moise Kean (Juventus 2016–19)
Neto & Moise Kean (Juventus 2016/17)
Miralem Pjanić & Alessandro Florenzi (Roma 2012–16)
Miralem Pjanić & Marquinhos (Roma 2012/13)
Miralem Pjanić & Leandro Paredes (Roma 2014/15)
• Mitchel Bakker and Sergiño Dest were both part of Ajax's youth set-up between 2012 and 2019; Frenkie de Jong was also at the club from 2015 onwards.
• Have also played in Spain:
Keylor Navas (Albacete 2010/11, Levante 2011–14, Real Madrid 2014–19)
Sergio Rico (Sevilla 2006–19)
Juan Bernat (Valencia 2011–14)
Alessandro Florenzi (Valencia 2020)
Ander Herrera (Real Zaragoza 2008–11, Athletic Club 2011–14)
Pablo Sarabia (Real Madrid 2004–11, Getafe 2011–16, Sevilla 2016–19)
Ángel Di María (Real Madrid 2010–14)
• Have played in France:
Clément Lenglet (Nancy 2010–17)
Samuel Umtiti (Lyon 2002–16)
Miralem Pjanić (Metz 2004–08, Lyon 2008–11)
Ousmane Dembélé (Rennes 2010–16)
Martin Braithwaite (Toulouse 2013–17, Bordeaux 2018 loan)
• International team-mates:
Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto, Sergio Busquets, Ansu Fati & Juan Bernat, Pablo Sarabia, Ander Herrera (Spain)
Samuel Umtiti, Clément Lenglet, Ousmane Dembélé, Antoine Griezmann & Layvin Kurzawa, Presnel Kimpembe, Kylian Mbappé (France)
Marc-André ter Stegen & Thilo Kehrer, Julian Draxler (Germany)
Francisco Trincão & Danilo Pereira (Portugal)
Philippe Coutinho, Neto & Marquinhos, Neymar (Brazil)
Lionel Messi & Ángel Di María, Leandro Paredes (Argentina)
• Umtiti, Dembélé, Griezmann, Kimpembe and Mbappé were all in France's victorious squad at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Mbappé's double helped France to a 4-3 defeat of Messi's Argentina in the round of 16.
• Griezmann got both goals as France beat Julian Draxler's Germany 2-0 in the UEFA EURO 2016 semi-finals in Marseille.
• Griezmann became the first French player to score against a French club in a UEFA final with his two goals in Atlético de Madrid's 3-0 win against Marseille in the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League decider in Lyon.
• Pochettino played for Barcelona's city rivals Espanyol between 1994 and 2001, when he joined Paris, and again between 2004 and 2006, scoring 15 goals in 318 games for the club in all competitions. He lost nine of his 13 games against Barça as a player (W1 D3).
• Pochettino was also Espanyol coach from January 2009 to November 2012, his first match a goalless draw against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey. His record against Barcelona while in charge of Espanyol and Tottenham was W1 D5 L6, the solitary victory a 2-1 Liga success at the Camp Nou on 21 February 2009.
• UEFA Champions League squad changes
Out: Carles Aleñá (Getafe, loan)
• Barcelona have lost just two of their 18 games since the Matchday 6 defeat at home to Juventus, to Athletic Club in the Spanish Super Cup final on 17 January (2-3) and at Sevilla in the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg on 10 February (0-2).
• Their record otherwise is W13 D3; they were 5-1 winners at home to Alavés on Saturday, Lionel Messi and Francisco Trincão both scoring twice.
• Ilaix Moriba set up Trincão's first goal on Saturday; aged 18 years 25 days, he was the youngest player to provide an assist on his Liga debut in the 21st century.
• After 22 Liga games Barça have 46 points, the same total as at the same stage of last season.
• Messi's red card in the Super Cup final against Athletic was his first ever for Barcelona.
• Gerard Piqué has not played since suffering a knee injury against Atlético de Madrid on 21 November.
• Philippe Coutinho has been out since 30 December due to a knee injury.
• A knee problem has kept Ansu Fati on the sidelines since 8 November.
• On 30 January Sergi Roberto made his comeback from a muscle injury that had kept him out since November, but then picked up a hamstring injury in a 5-3 Copa del Rey win at Granada on 3 February and has not played since.
• Ronald Araújo (ankle), Martin Braithwaite (adductor), Miralem Pjanić (foot) and Sergiño Dest (thigh) have all picked up injuries this month. Pjanić and Dest returned as second-half substitutes against Alavés on Saturday.
• Messi was included in the UEFA.com fans' Men's Team of the Year 2020, the 12th time he has featured.
• UEFA Champions League squad changes
Out: Bandiougou Fadiga (Brest, loan), Maxen Kapo, Kays Ruiz-Atil
• Paris have won ten of their 14 matches in all competitions since Matchday 6 (D2 L2), scoring 27 goals and conceding seven. They have won eight of their ten games (D1 L1) in 2021, beating Nice 2-1 at home on Saturday.
• Paris have kept a clean sheet in nine of those 14 games, including three in a row before the weekend.
• French Cup holders Paris reached the last 16 of this season's competition with a 1-0 win at Caen on 10 February, Moise Kean scoring the only goal. He also got the winner against Nice at the weekend.
• On 3 January, Mauricio Pochettino replaced Thomas Tuchel as Paris coach, 20 years after he played for the French club as a defender.
• Pochettino's second game in charge brought his first piece of silverware, Paris beating Marseille 2-1 in the Trophée des Champions on 13 January.
• Ángel Di María limped off 11 minutes into a 2-0 victory at Marseille on 7 February having suffered a right thigh injury, and has not played since.
• Keylor Navas was substituted at half-time during the 4-0 home win against Montpellier in Ligue 1 on 22 January having suffered a rib problem; that and a subsequent hamstring injury kept him out until Saturday.
• Neymar had to be replaced 61 minutes into the win at Caen due to an adductor problem that is expected to keep him on the sidelines for four weeks.
• Marco Verratti has not played since the win in Marseille due to a hip injury.
• Abdou Diallo was out between 13 December and 9 January due to a thigh injury, and made his first appearance since 22 January at Caen after recovering from illness.
• Juan Bernat is still sidelined by a knee ligament injury and has again not been included in Paris's UEFA Champions League squad.
• Neymar was included in the UEFA.com fans' Men's Team of the Year 2020.
• Kylian Mbappé is Ligue 1's top scorer after 25 rounds of fixtures with 16 goals. The French international is only two goals short of his total for the 2019/20 campaign, which was ended after 28 games.
• Mauro Icardi has scored four goals in his last eight games after recovering from a groin injury that kept him out between 30 November and 9 January.
• Paris were defeated 3-2 at Lorient on 31 January, their fifth Ligue 1 loss of the season. The last time Paris lost more than five league games in a season was in 2010/11, when they were beaten eight times and finished fourth.
• In 2019/20, Paris had picked up 62 points after 25 Ligue 1 games, ten points more than second-placed Marseille. In 2020/21 they have collected eight points fewer.