Paris v Barcelona preview

Paris Saint-Germain and FC Barcelona served up a five-goal thriller in September, "PlayStation goal" and all – Laurent Blanc is dreaming of a repeat performance.

Laurent Blanc says September's 3-2 win against Barcelona is the benchmark for Paris
Luis Enrique acknowledges Barcelona have had "many difficulties against Paris recently"
Including the final fixture of last season, Paris are unbeaten in 24 home matches
Zlatan Ibrahimović among three suspended for Paris, who also have injuries
Barcelona are in the quarter-finals for a record eighth successive season

Possible lineups
Paris: Sirigu; Van der Wiel, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Maxwell; Rabiot, Cabaye, Matuidi; Lavezzi, Cavani, Pastore.
Out: Ibrahimović (suspended), Verratti (suspended), Aurier (suspended), Thiago Motta (thigh)
Doubtful: Luiz (thigh)

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Adriano/Bartra, Piqué, Mathieu/Busquets, Alba; Rakitić, Mascherano, Iniesta; Suárez, Messi, Neymar.
Out: Alves (suspended), Vermaelen (hamstring)

Laurent Blanc, Paris coach
Our first match of the season against Barcelona [on matchday two] is a reference point for us. We're one of few teams to have scored three goals against them. We had a great game – both teams did. We'll need to replicate that feat because we're facing one of the best teams in Europe. We need to avoid conceding; we know the importance of away goals.

Of course that's easier said than done – most of Barça's opponents start out with the aim of not conceding ... and they always do! During our previous encounter we scored a fantastic goal; then they scored a PlayStation goal.

Classic Barcelona v Paris ties
Classic Barcelona v Paris ties

Thiago Motta has resumed running drills but he will need a miracle to feature in what will be a very demanding match. The same goes for Lucas [groin], who should take part at some point: despite our absentees and injured players, we can't afford to take chances. We have some important fixtures coming up, not only in the Champions League.

I don't think Barça's philosophy has evolved much: they are still as strong, with a game based on possession and making the opposition defend deep. Although we like to have the ball, we'll probably have to play deeper than usual, stay tight and restrict them. When we regain possession we'll need Edinson [Cavani] and [Ezequiel] Lavezzi to be fast on the break.

What do I think about Messi? The same as almost any football lover. He has been one of the best players on the planet for some time. He can score 50 or 60 goals a season ... when he scores 40, they say he's out of form! He is one of the best players ever. How do we stop him? Our answer needs to be a collective one. We'll have to play very well and keep it very tight. Then we'll have to be fast and make the most of dead-ball situations.

Luis Suárez on life at Barcelona
Luis Suárez on life at Barcelona

Luis Enrique, Barcelona coach
Paris have several major absentees, let's face it. But let's not forget they won against us when Zlatan [Ibrahimović] was out, and we won when we met and he played! So you never know how important the absentees will turn out to be.

We're both basically the same teams we were at the start of the season, we're only a bit older ... We had a good game in September, although we lost – we had lots of chances. But we'll definitely need to improve defensively.

We've grown accustomed to coming here. We've had the chance to come to Paris several times in recent years. They have a very good squad, and showed yet again their qualities by beating Chelsea.

This tie will be open, because our teams are actually quite similar. Paris can build from the back, play on the counter – there are many facets to this team, many threats. This should be an entertaining match. I think we'll see a lot of goals, but of course I hope we score more than Paris. This won't be easy of course; we've had many difficulties against them recently.

Weekend results
SC Bastia 0-4 Paris (Ibrahimović 21pen 41, Cavani 80 90+2)
Sevilla FC 2-2 Barcelona (Banega 38, Gameiro 84; Messi 14, Neymar 31)

Form guide (all competitions)
Paris: DLWWWW
Barcelona: WWWWWD

Match fact
• Paris and Barcelona have met twice before at this stage of the competition – how have the previous encounters panned out? Find out in our extensive match background.

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