Quarterfinal 1st Leg:
PSG vs Barcelona 20:00 SS3
Bayern vs Juventus 20:00 SS5
PARIS – The Champions League quarterfinals get under way on Tuesday with Barcelona visiting Paris Saint-Germain in a meeting between Europe’s most dominant team of recent years and its latest challenger.
After signing star players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Beckham, PSG is anxious for a major victory that would justify its engorged payroll and catapult the French team into the upper echelon of the continent’s elite.
Standing in its way is Lionel Messi and Barcelona, which is seeking to add to its three Champions League titles in the past seven years. Also in the last eight on Tuesday, Bayern Munich hosts Juventus in a clash of former champions.
PSG’s Qatari owners have so far seen little return on their massive investment of ?260 million ($339 million) on players during the past two seasons, with the squad still yet to gel as a unit under coach Carlo Ancelotti.
Barcelona, on the other hand, has long established itself as the model to follow thanks to its attractive passing game and reliance on homegrown talent that has brought every major title in recent years.
PSG’ 23-match unbeaten run at home in European competitions will be tested by Messi, who has scored in a record 19 straight Spanish league games and netted a double to lead Barcelona to an historic comeback win over AC Milan in the last 16.
“We are very motivated to play this game,” Messi said. “We need to rest up so we can arrive in the best physical condition and try to get a good result and, if it is possible, to win - even though we know that it will be an evenly fought match from the looks of it.”
Coach Tito Vilanova plans to make his return to Barcelona’s touchline at the Parc des Princes after a 10-week stay in a New York hospital to receive treatment after having a throat tumor removed in December.