The UEFA Champions League knockouts get underway in mid-week, with Barcelona vs Paris Saint Germain set to be one of the most intriguing ties of the round of 16.
The Catalans host Mauricio Pochettino’s men at the Camp Nou having finished second behind Juventus in Group G. Meanwhile, the Parisians qualified for the next round by topping Group H ahead of the likes of RB Leipzig and Manchester United. Coming into the knockout rounds, it is the the French giants who are the more fancied to go one better and succeed in the competition this season at a price of 11/1 with William Hill to lift the Champions League come the end of the season. Meanwhile, Barcelona sit at odds as high as 16/1 to win the competition.
Of course, if either side go on to win the Champions League this season, this particular last-16 tie could be a significant hurdle. The last time the two came together at this stage was during the 2016/17 season and one of the all-time classic UEFA Champions League clashes was produced. Barcelona lost the first game at the Parc des Princes 4-0 before staging a stunning comeback in the second leg with a thumping 6-1 victory. Ronald Koeman’s troops are available at odds of 1/1 with Betfair to claim victory in the first-leg, whilst PSG sit at 23/10. A draw, meanwhile, sits at 14/5.
Lionel Messi is naturally going to be one of the favourites to open the scoring in the match. Despite having a somewhat indifferent season thus far, the Argentine still managed to hit three goals and provide two assists in the group stage. He is at a price of 11/4 with Paddy Power to strike first. Kylian Mbappe could also be an extremely intelligent having hit another 18 goals so far. He is sitting at a price of 5/1 to strike first in Tuesday evening’s match.
One man who will certainly not be getting on the scoresheet however is former Barca man Neymar. The Brazilian has been ruled out of the game at his old stomping ground with an adductor injury, a problem that could even keep him out of the return leg in the French capital. He joins Angel di Maria, Colin Dagba, Timothee Pembele and Juan Bernat on the sidelines. Elsewhere, midfielder Marco Verratti is a slight doubt. For Barcelona, Ansu Fati, Gerard Pique and Philippe Coutinho are all still ruled out and are joined in the injury room by Sergi Roberto, the man who netted the dramatic winning goal the last time the two sides came together.