In arguably the outstanding tie of the Champions League round of 16, Barcelona and PSG renew acquaintances four years after the infamous “La Remontada” meeting.
Barcelona produced one of the most miraculous fightbacks in Champions League history at this exact stage of the 2016-17 season.
After losing the first leg 4-0 in Paris, Barça became the first team ever in the Champions League to overturn a four-goal deficit during that astonishing night at Camp Nou.
Their 6-1 win on the night, and 6-5 aggregate success, would have left mental scars for many of the PSG players to process.
🗣️ Pochettino on ‘La Remontada’:
“History remains history; it cannot be changed. Our goal is to build the future. In the 2017 match, there were different squads from both sides.” pic.twitter.com/X7HNVWVgt4
— infosfcb (@infosfcb) February 15, 2021
That dramatic fightback by the Catalans was achieved with Neymar in their ranks. Now with PSG, the Brazilian misses out on a reunion with his former side while he nurses his latest injury setback.
The stage is set for a meeting of two of Europe’s super clubs and the stakes couldn’t be much higher, with a place in the quarterfinals at stake.
Last six meetings
- 🔴 Barcelona 6-1 PSG
- 🔵 PSG 4-0 Barcelona
- 🔴 Barcelona 2-0 PSG
- 🔴 PSG 1-3 Barcelona
- 🔴 Barcelona 3-1 PSG
- 🔵 PSG 3-2 Barcelona
Predicted XIs & team news
As well as long-term absentees Ansu Fati, Gerard Piqué and Philippe Coutinho, Sergi Roberto – who sent the Camp Nou into raptures when scoring the crucial sixth goal of La Remontada – has suffered another muscle injury. 18-year-old Pedri could be in line to start alongside Frenkie De Jong in midfield as they did in the group stages away to Juventus.
Likely XI (4-3-3):
Ter Stegen; Dest, Mingueza, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets, De Jong, Pedri; Dembélé, Messi, Griezmann
Neymar is sidelined and misses out on a reunion with his old club, while key ex-Real Madrid playmaker Ángel Di María is unavailable and will be upset that he can’t face his old archrivals.
Marco Verratti wasn’t risked at the weekend and should be okay to start in midfield, although Julian Draxler is an option of the Italian is only deemed fit to start.
🧮 Likely XI (4-2-3-1):
Navas; Florenzi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Kurzawa; Gueye, Paredes; Kean, Verratti, Mbappé; Icardi
Key OPTA stats
- Only one French club has beaten Barcelona at Camp Nou – FC Metz in the first round of the Cup Winners Cup in October 1984 (4-1).
- Barcelona has only lost one of their last 33 home games in the knockout stages of the Champions League (W25 D7), a 0-3 defeat against Bayern Munich in the 2012-13 semifinals.
- Five of the last six meetings between these sides have produced over 3.5 goals.
- 44% of Barcelona’s goals in this season’s Champions League group stages came from a set-piece (7 out of 16), the highest ratio among the 16 teams left in the competition.
- Kylian Mbappé has scored only one goal in his nine Champions League knockout games with PSG; he’d found the net six times in six knockout games with Monaco.
- Barcelona hasn’t kept a clean sheet in any of their last five matches.
- Barça skipper Leo Messi has found the net nine times in ten matches in 2021.