This season, Paris Saint-Germain manager Luis Enrique will be leading the French champions against his former club Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals, a matchup of two of Europe’s heavyweights. Enrique led the Spanish powerhouses during their historic March 2017 victory over PSG, making them the first team in the competition’s history to overcome a 4+ goal deficit in a two-leg tie.

This time, however, he will try to lead the Parisians to their first semi-final appearance since 2020–21.
PSG’s preparations for this first leg were hampered by a 1-1 draw with bottom-of-the-table Clermont over the weekend, a match in which they only managed an equalizer in the 85th minute, despite the fact that they are sailing towards another Ligue 1 championship this season. Their current defensive instability is evident from the fact that they have only kept one clean sheet in their last five games at Parc des Princes, where they have more draws than wins (W2, D3).

Barça, who are playing in their first Champions League quarterfinal since August 2020, when they suffered their worst defeat in this competition—an 8-2 thrashing at the hands of Bayern Munich—will be delighted to hear that. Xavi’s team has a chance to redeem themselves here, though, and they travel to the French capital with confidence having won their previous three competitive matches without giving up.

The current Spanish champions will need to perform at their highest level here, as they have only won one of their previous six away head-to-head meetings (D2, L3). Facing PSG for the sixth time in the tournament’s knockout stages—the third-most played such fixture—will present challenges.

Key battle: Here, two of the best strikers in Europe square off against each other. Robert Lewandowski of Barcelona, the third-best goal scorer in Champions League history (94 goals in 118 games), will take on Kylian Mbappé, who has scored 40 goals in 60 competition appearances for PSG, including four in two head-to-head matches.

Hot stat: In the eleven away Champions League knockout stages that Barcelona has played, they have only won one (D5, L5).

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