Match Reviews

PSG vs Barcelona Prediction | Opta Analyst

Kylian Mbappé and Co. welcome Xavi’s men to Parc des Princes on Wednesday. We look ahead to the UEFA Champions League quarter-final clash with our PSG vs Barcelona prediction and preview.

PSG vs Barcelona Stats: The Quick Hits

  • Paris Saint-Germain are the favourites for this one, defeating Barcelona in 49.7% of 10,000 pre-match simulations for the first leg.
  • PSG’s heaviest defeat ever in the European Cup/UEFA Champions League was inflicted by Barcelona after their 6-1 victory in March 2017.
  • Only Thomas Müller and Andriy Shevchenko have scored more Champions League goals against Barcelona than Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappé.

Match Preview

Paris Saint-Germain will hope to put one foot in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals when Barcelona visit for Wednesday’s enticing quarter-final first-leg meeting at Parc des Princes.

Luis Enrique’s reigning Ligue 1 champions swept aside Real Sociedad in the last 16, winning 4-1 on aggregate after a 2-1 second-leg victory in Spain to secure their progress to the last eight of Europe’s top club competition.

The success of Wednesday’s hosts may once again hinge on perennial Real Madrid target Kylian Mbappé, who scored twice in the second leg against La Real after also netting in their first meeting in mid-February.

Barcelona head coach Xavi will be expected to place significant focus on Mbappé – as most managers usually do – but that may be no issue for France’s 2018 FIFA World Cup winner.

A massive 91% of Mbappé’s touches in this season’s competition have come while under pressure from an opponent, the highest proportion of all players with at least 50 touches. This highlights the respect teams have for him, yet he’s still created more chances with passes under pressure (15) than any other forward this term.

Among the defenders tasked with trying to keep Mbappé in check on Wednesday could be Pau Cubarsí. Should the Blaugrana centre-back be named in the starting XI, he would become the youngest defender to start a Champions League quarter-final match, aged 17 years and 79 days.

And while the 16-year-old Lamine Yamal might also play an important role for Barcelona, Xavi doesn’t just have to rely on the kids; he’s plenty of experience to rely on as well, and the likes of Ilkay Gündogan will be expected to lead by example.

The Germany international provides midfield discipline but also supreme ability on the ball, with Gündogan making more passes that break the opposition’s defensive line than any other player in the Champions League this season (19). He’s also registered three assists in the competition in 2023-24, with Jordi Alba in 2018-19 (five) the last Barcelona player to make more in a single campaign.

Ilkay Gundogan defensive line-breaking passes

Gündogan’s know-how could be key for Xavi’s side, who will appear in the quarter-finals of this tournament for the first since August 2020, when they suffered their heaviest ever defeat in European competition. That 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich will still leave a sour taste that Barcelona hope to wash away in this tie.

That demolition at the hands of Bayern is part of an underwhelming recent record at this stage of the Champions League, having only progressed from the quarter-finals in one of their last five attempts, a 2018-19 success against Manchester United.

Barcelona reached this stage after a convincing 4-2 aggregate triumph over Scudetto holders Napoli.

A 1-1 first-leg draw in Naples teed up a winner-takes-all decider, in which Barcelona cruised to a 3-1 victory after Fermín López, Jõao Cancelo and Robert Lewandowski were all on target.

As for Barcelona’s team news, Xavi’s lineup will remain without Alejandro Balde, Gavi and Pedri, though Frenkie de Jong and Andreas Christensen could feature.

Achraf Hakimi will be missing through suspension for PSG; Nordi Mukiele is a doubt after missing training this week, while Presnel Kimpembe continues his recovery from an Achilles tendon rupture. However, Warren Zaïre-Emery and Bradley Barcola recently returned to first-team training and should be available.

PSG vs Barcelona Head-to-Head

PSG and Barcelona have met 12 times previously in the Champions League, with the head-to-head record perfectly balanced at four wins each and four draws, yet some of those have been more memorable than others.

The French side inflicted one of Barcelona’s three instances of losing by four goals away from home in Europe’s premier club competition, having won 4-0 in the February 2017 first leg – though a remarkable collapse would follow.

That four-goal lead was rendered meaningless the following month as Barcelona punished PSG with their heaviest European Cup/Champions League defeat in a 6-1 victory, dumping the Ligue 1 club out of the round of 16.

Barcelona 6-1 PSG xG race

Barcelona were managed by current PSG boss Luis Enrique in that historic comeback, which remains the only time a team has progressed from a two-legged knockout stage tie in the European Cup/Champions League after losing the first leg by 4+ goals.

Recent Form

PSG boss Luis Enrique will meet his former side as the Spaniard looks to become the first manager of the French club to win his first three Champions League knockout matches since Laurent Blanc in 2013-14, after the two last-16 wins over La Real.

The Ligue 1 club’s preparations for this encounter were hardly ideal, though, as Gonçalo Ramos was needed to score a late goal in a 1-1 draw at home to Clermont Foot on Saturday. That will not worry Luis Enrique, however, as he can call upon Mbappé – his four Champions League goals against Barcelona can only be bettered by Thomas Müller (8) and Andriy Shevchenko (5).

Those goals for Mbappé came from just two games, largely thanks to the fact he is the only player in the competition’s history to score a hat-trick against Barcelona in the knockout stages (three goals in February 2021, in the round of 16).

Barcelona enjoyed a rest at the weekend, with their last outing a 1-0 win over Las Palmas at the end of March. That was their fourth win in a row in all competitions, and they go into Wednesday’s game unbeaten in 11 matches.

Opta Power Rankings

The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.

Ahead of kick-off on Wednesday night, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.

PSG vs Barcelona Predicted Lineups

PSG predicted lineup vs Barcelona
Barcelona predicted lineup vs PSG

PSG vs Barcelona Prediction

The Opta supercomputer rates PSG as the first-leg favourites, with the hosts winning 49.7% of 10,000 pre-match simulations for Wednesday’s clash at the Parc des Princes.

Barcelona managed an away victory in just 24.3% of the same data-led scenarios, while a draw – which would tee up a winner-takes-all second leg – was forecast more often in 26%.

In the Opta supercomputer’s tournament simulations, PSG rank as second favourites to win the entire competition at 14.4% – behind only Manchester City (28.3%) – while Barcelona have a 9% chance of going all the way. Arsenal (13.6%) and Real Madrid (14.6%) are the other two sides with a higher likelihood than Xavi’s Blaugrana.

PSG vs Barcelona Prediction

PSG vs Barcelona UCL Squads

Paris Saint-Germain: Keylor Navas, Alexandre Letellier, Arnau Tenas, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Achraf Hakimi, Presnel Kimpembe, Marquinhos, Lucas Hernández, Nuno Mendes, Nordi Mukiele, Lucas Beraldo, Milan Skriniar, Manuel Ugarte, Fabián Ruiz, Danilo, Vitinha, Lee Kang-in, Warren Zaïre-Emery, Ethan Mbappé, Senny Mayulu, Kylian Mbappé, Gonçalo Ramos, Ousmane Dembélé, Marco Asensio, Randal Kolo Muani, Bradley Barcola.

Head coach: Luis Enrique

Barcelona: Marc-André ter Stegen, Iñaki Peña, Áron Yaakobishvili, João Cancelo, Alejandro Balde, Ronald Araújo, Iñigo Martínez, Andreas Christensen, Pau Cubarsí, Marcos Alonso, Jules Koundé, Gavi, Pedri, Oriol Romeu, Sergi Roberto, Frenkie de Jong, Ilkay Gündogan, Unai Hernandez, Ferran Torres, Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, João Félix, Vitor Roque, Pau Victor, Lamine Yamal.

Head Coach: Xavi

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