French Paris Saint-Germain, who misses the injured Brazilian Neymar, is counting on his other star, Kylian Mbappe, and his new coach, Mauricio Pochettino, to break his contract against Barcelona in the Champions League, when they meet in the first leg of the 16th round on Tuesday at Camp Nou.
After the start of a volatile season, the Parisian team sacked German coach Thomas Tuchel, who led him to the Champions League final for the first time in its history last season and appointed Pochettino, who built his coaching reputation with Tottenham after he led him to the 2019 Champions League final.
History with Barcelona
Tuesday’s confrontation will be the ninth between the two parties in the last 8 years of the Champions League competition, where the Catalan club has won 4 wins against two losses, and the two teams have tied on two occasions.
The most prominent confrontation between Saint-Germain and Barcelona was in the Round of 16 in 2017, when the French team went 4-0 at the “Parc de Prince”, but the second match witnessed the most famous “Remontada” in modern history when Argentine Lionel Messi and his comrades reversed the result in the fatal seconds. To a historic 6-1 victory.
Paris Saint-Germain’s hopes of revenge against Barcelona were dealt a severe blow, with the absence of Brazilian star Neymar from the first leg due to injury, and there are doubts about his ability to participate in the return match scheduled for March 10.
Saint-Germain is also suffering from injuries to its Argentine winger Angel Di Maria and Italian midfielder Marco Verratti, and their participation is not yet confirmed.
Despite all of this, the capital’s team is counting on the sophistication of Pochettino, who started his coaching career with Barcelona’s neighbor Espanyol and managed in 2009 to defeat the Catalan team and then-coach Pep Guardiola 2-1 at Camp Nou, to be the only victory for Espanyol in Barcelona’s home in 39 years.
Paris Saint-Germain, who dominated the local championships in recent years, is ranked second in the French League, one point behind Lille, and his young French star, Mbappe, does not appear in his best days, as he has scored only 4 goals in his last 10 matches in light of the constant talk about the possibility of his departure at the end of the season.