PSG V Barcelona Big Match Preview: This Is What The Champions League Is About

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar celebrates after scoring a goal during French L1 football match between Lille Losc and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), at the Pierre-Mauroy stadium, in Villeneuve-d'Ascq, on February 3, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / DENIS CHARLET        (Photo credit should read DENIS CHARLET/AFP/Getty Images)DENIS CHARLET/Getty Images

It's tough to remember a showdown in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League that has felt quite as important as Real Madrid's meeting with Paris Saint-Germain.

The Santiago Bernabeu will host what promises to be one of two absorbing legs of action on Wednesday, as these two giants of European football seek to keep their dreams of continental glory alive.

Despite winning this competition for three of the last four years, there's big pressure on Madrid, who are a long way off the pace in La Liga and out of the Copa del Rey.

There's also a weight of expectation on PSG who, despite running away with their domestic division, spent big in the summer to ensure success in the Champions League.

A fascinating fixture is on the cards. Here are the key details on where you can watch the action and a closer look at what to expect from this titanic encounter.


Date: Wednesday, February 14

Time: 7:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET

TV Info: BT Sport (UK), ESPN 3 (U.S.)

Live Stream: BT Sport App (UK), Watch ESPN (U.S.)



VALENCIA, SPAIN - JANUARY 27: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring his sides first goal during the La Liga match between Valencia and Real Madrid at Estadio Mestalla on January 27, 2018 in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport ImagQuality Sport Images/Getty Images

Ahead of the Champions League getting underway, arguably the two favourites for the trophy were Real Madrid, the serial recent winners, and PSG, who indulged in one of the biggest spending sprees football has ever seen in the summer.

Seeing them meet so early in the competition will be considered anticlimactic to some, although the pressure on each side is massive as a result; falling out of contention at this juncture would be deemed a major failure.

That's especially true for Madrid, as this is their last realistic hope of silverware this season. As noted by journalist Colin Millar after the recent 2-2 draw with Levante, the aura has gone from Zinedine Zidane's side:

Colin Millar @Millar_Colin

Telling how this Madrid team built a reputation on crucial late goals, now dropping points late on frequently (Levante, Villarreal, Celta, Betis).

2018-2-3 21:36:51

In La Liga, in particular, they've been hugely disappointing and sit a staggering 19 points behind rivals Barcelona.

Zidane will be hopeful the Champions League recharges Madrid, as they have saved their best displays in recent years for this competition. However, in this edition, one point from six against Tottenham Hotspur and a home draw with Borussia Dortmund saw them slip into second spot.

That meant there was a chance of drawing a tough opponent in the knockout stages. In PSG, they've arguably been handed the hardest one possible.

There will be a ton of focus on Neymar pre-match, primarily because he's dazzled for the Ligue 1 giants since his summer switch form Barcelona. As noted by Fox Soccer, given his age, his numbers are remarkable:

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

👀 Neymar had a hand in 190 more goals than Ronaldo prior to turning 26.

2018-2-5 21:06:39

There's been plenty of speculation linking Neymar with a future move to the Santiago Bernabeu, too, despite his previous affinity with Barcelona.

According to L'Equipe (h/t Manu Sainz of AS), the Brazilian forward wants to leave PSG at the end of the season and make a return to La Liga. That would be just a year on from his world-record £198 million transfer to the Parisian giants.

PSG have so much firepower at their disposal.PSG have so much firepower at their disposal.PATRICK HERTZOG/Getty Images

With that in mind, there will be an expectation on Neymar to show his best, as it's these types of encounters in which PSG will want him to thrive following his lucrative transfer.

The PSG man also admitted in the buildup to the fixture that in Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, he'll be coming up against something of an idol:

B/R Football @brfootball

Neymar sees himself in the very best

2018-2-1 09:48:59

The match itself should be absorbing, as an experienced but out-of-form Madrid take on a red-hot but inexperienced PSG.

The key to this fixture is likely to be whether Los Blancos' brittle defence can cope with the firepower PSG will field at the Bernabeu. Not only will Unai Emery have Neymar to call upon, Edinson Cavani will spearhead the attack, while the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Julian Draxler and Angel Di Maria are a stunning supporting cast.

Zidane has been loyal to his squad of players all season, defending them in the face of serious criticism; now he'll be looking for a response in Madrid's biggest game of the season. Expect Los Blancos to raise their game but not enough to take an advantage to Paris for the second leg.


Prediction: Real Madrid 2-2 Paris Saint-Germain

Source :

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