Preview: Paris v Barcelona | September 30, 2014

French exam:
 A spectacular duel is awaits at the Parc des Princes in Paris this evening.

French exam:
A spectacular duel is awaits at the Parc des Princes in Paris this evening

• Zlatan Ibrahimović ruled out of game against his former club with a heel injury

• Laurent Blanc wants Paris to find “a bit of aggression when we don’t have the ball”

• Barça boss Luis Enrique says Ibrahimović’s absence won’t affect his approach

• The Catalan giants have not conceded a goal in seven matches this season

• Barcelona beat Paris on away goals in 2012/13 quarter-finals

Possible lineups

Sirigu; Van der Wiel, David Luiz, Marquinhos, Maxwell; Verratti, Thiago Motta, Matuidi; Pastore, Cavani, Lucas.
Out: Ibrahimović (heel), Lavezzi (hamstring)
Doubtful: Thiago Silva (thigh)


Ter Stegen; Alves, Mathieu, Piqué, Alba; Busquets, Iniesta, Rakitić; Pedro, Messi, Neymar.
Out: Masip (finger), Rafinha (thigh), Douglas (foot)

Laurent Blanc, Paris coach
It’s no easy task to lead your team back where they belong and get the same great results as last year, but by staying true to our approach we’ll make it. We’ll play against … I was going to say our ‘role models’ but that’s not the case, although they’ve been playing in this system for a long time. It’s going to be an extraordinary match for players, fans and even journalists.

We’re missing a bit of aggression, I think, especially when we don’t have the ball. We’ll have to be particularly strong in that area because we know that when Barcelona have the ball, it’s very, very difficult to get it back.

Zlatan is still nursing his heel injury, he didn’t train this morning. That’s very unfortunate, but I had prepared with this in mind. It’ll be difficult without him – it always is – but we’ll have to make do and we have some very talented forwards. We’ll have to compensate with a great team performance.

Barcelona have always been one of my favourite teams, especially given their football philosophy. Some like it, some don’t; personally I love it. They’ve of course been very successful, winning numerous trophies in the last ten years, but what’s most important is that they played an entertaining brand of football, scoring lots of goals. I did play for Barcelona, but that was a long time ago and I only spent a season there. Tomorrow my aim will be to beat them and I think we have the quality to do it.

Luis Enrique, Barcelona coach
The absence of Zlatan Ibrahimović is significant for Paris, but not so much for us as it won’t change the way we play. I probably did watch the quarter-final between the clubs two seasons ago, but I don’t remember it. I can’t remember every match I watch.

When you’re a coach, you develop a natural distrust regarding your opposite number’s comments, so we’ll see tomorrow how they play. We’ll need to play very well and show a lot of determination and intent. The most important match is always the next one, so this Paris game is the most important one right now – but we’ll have just as important ones afterwards.

Lionel Messi is impressive on so many levels, but he’s also our number one defender, although we don’t talk too much about it. He’s a very important player for us, but so are many others: the crucial thing is how they all combine together.

Weekend results

Toulouse FC 1-1 Paris (Ben Yedder 8; Bahebeck 33)
Barcelona 6-0 Granada CF (Neymar 26 45 66, Rakitić 43, Messi 62 82)

Form guide (all competitions)

Barcelona: WDWWWW

Match facts

• Paris have not lost a UEFA home game since November 2006. Who were the last European team to win at the Parc des Princes?


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