Two European giants are set to clash on Wednesday when Real Madrid host Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie.
UEFA Champions League
14 February 2018
Last-16, first leg
Kick-off: 21H45 (GMT+2)
Venue: Santiago Bernabeu
Referee: G. Rocchi
Assistants: E. Liberatore, M. Tonolini
Fourth official: A. Costanzo
TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS
Real Madrid 5 3 1 1
PSG 5 1 1 3
Real Madrid 1-3 PSG 28/07/16 (International Champions Cup)
Real Madrid goalscorers: Marcelo (pen 44′)
PSG goalscorers: J. Ikone (2′), T. Meunier (35′, 40′)
Players to watch:
Real will be hoping forward Cristiano Ronaldo can put his La Liga form behind him and continue his sensational goalscoring in the Champions League. The Portuguese superstar has already scored nine goals in the competition this season, in only six games.
PSG will look towards big-name signing Neymar to inspire them. The Brazilian sensation has scored 28 goals in only 27 appearances across all competitions this term, while also providing 16 assists.
Team form and manager quotes:
Los Blancos have been unconvincing this season, especially in La Liga where they are down in fourth position, a staggering 17 points behind arch-rivals Barcelona and 10 adrift local rivals Atletico Madrid.
Zinedine Zidane’s side were also eliminated from the Copa del Rey in the quarter-finals by Leganes on January 24, but have since managed two wins and one draw in the league.
“We’re thinking about tomorrow’s game, not the return leg. It’s all about tomorrow for now. The fact that it’s a French side makes no difference to me. I am just thinking about us playing a good game,” Zidane said in his pre-match press conference.
“Yes, I’m from Marseille and Paris have always been our rivals but this is Madrid, so I’m not thinking about that. Hopefully it will be a beautiful game of football.”
When asked about the pressure on him, Zidane added: “I’m not thinking about my future. I’m only focused on tomorrow. I can’t control the rest; the only thing I’m interested in is tomorrow.
“It’s not a final – it is two Champions League games. We want to play well and if we do that, we’ll have a good chance.”
Meanwhile, the Parisians have been dominant across all competitions, losing only three games, to Strasbourg, Bayern Munich and Lyon.
Building up to the Madrid clash, PSG have won six consecutive games, scoring 19 goals and conceding only five. The Ligue 1 leaders beat Lille, Sochaux and Toulouse away from home in their last three outings.
PSG manager Unai Emery told the press: “I think we played the kind of game we had to, but it’s true it will be different on Wednesday.
“It will be different when it comes to expectations, and the kind of game we will play. But I think that the team is ready.
“We built up our confidence further. It’s important to keep our level up in Ligue 1 and before our Champions League game.”
The hosts will be missing Dani Carvajal due to suspension, while Dani Ceballos is a doubt and Jesus Vallejo is out injured.
The visitors are without goalkeeper Kevin Trapp, while Layvin Kurzawa, Edinson Cavani and Thiago Motta are doubts for the game.