football15 April 2024 10:03
article image

Paris Saint-Germain coach Luis Enrique returns to Barcelona needing to mastermind a memorable Uefa Champions League comeback with the Spanish side defending a 3-2 advantage from the first game in the French capital.

Luis Enrique guided Barça to their most recent European Cup triumph in 2015 but his current charges fell behind to their Spanish opponents after 37 minutes at the Parc des Princes on 10 April, Raphinha slotting in. Paris came back strongly in the second half, quick goals from former Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembélé (48) and Vitinha (51) turning the game in their favour but Raphinha levelled two minutes past the hour and substitute Andreas Christensen struck with 13 minutes left to give Barcelona an advantage to take back to Spain.

This is the fourth time the clubs have met in the Champions League quarterfinals. Barcelona have won the last two of those three previous last-eight meetings, in 2012-13 and – under Luis Enrique – in 2014-15 and also earned a record Champions League comeback win against Paris in the 2016-17 round of 16. The French team, however, triumphed in the 1994-95 quarterfinals and also won the last tie between the sides, in the 2020-21 last 16, thanks to an inspirational display from Kylian Mbappé at the Camp Nou.

Paris are in the last eight for the first time in three seasons, while Barcelona reached the quarterfinals in every campaign between 2007-08 and 2019-20 but have not featured at this stage since the latter campaign – when they suffered a record 8-2 defeat by Bayern München in a one-off tie in Lisbon.

The French side were group F runners-up behind Borussia Dortmund in the autumn but eased past Barcelona's domestic rivals Real Sociedad in the round of 16. Barça, meanwhile, were Group H winners and then ousted Italian champions Napoli in the first knockout round.



Barcelona wins 6

Paris wins 4

Draws 4

Barcelona goals 27

Paris goals 23

The sides have met in 14 fixtures, the last before this season in the 2020-21 Champions League round of 16, Paris progressing 5-2 on aggregate. The French side did most of the damage in the first leg at the Camp Nou despite falling behind to Lionel Messi's 27th-minute penalty after Frenkie de Jong had been tripped by Layvin Kurzawa. Mbappé levelled within five minutes, however, and gave the visitors the lead in the 65th minute before Moise Kean (70) stretched the lead, Mbappé completing his hat-trick with five minutes left to play.

Mbappé was also on target in the Parc des Princes second leg, giving Paris a 31st-minute advantage from the penalty spot. Messi levelled from long range six minutes later but had a 45th-minute spot kick saved by Keylor Navas and Paris held on.

Barcelona and Paris's previous tie, in the 2016-17 Champions League round of 16, proved one for the ages. The French side looked to be easing through after a 4-0 first-leg win at the Parc des Princes, Ángel Di María scoring twice and Julian Draxler once, only for Barcelona to run out 6-1 winners at the Camp Nou with Neymar scoring twice. A Kurzawa own goal and Messi's penalty also helped the Spanish side turn around the tie, Sergi Roberto scoring the decisive goal five minutes into added time.

Paris and Barcelona faced each other four times in 2014-15. In the group stage, Paris recorded a 3-2 home victory with Marco Verratti on target; Messi and Neymar found the net for Barcelona. When the teams met again on Matchday 6, the Catalan club secured top spot in Group F with a 3-1 home win, recovering from Zlatan Ibrahimović's opener thanks to Messi, Neymar and Luis Suárez.

Neymar scored three goals in Barça's 5-1 aggregate win against Paris in that season's quarterfinals, one in a 3-1 first-leg win at the Parc des Princes and both in a 2-0 home victory at the Camp Nou.

In the 2012-13 quarterfinals, Barcelona beat Paris on away goals after two draws – 2-2 at Parc des Princes with Xavi Hernández scoring the visitors' second goal from the penalty spot and 1-1 at the Camp Nou.

The sides' first Champions League meeting came in the 1994/95 quarterfinals, Paris prevailing 3-2 on aggregate. A 1-1 draw in Spain was followed by a 2-1 home victory at the Parc des Princes, Raí and Vincent Guérin scoring in the last 18 minutes.

Barça won just one of their first six games against Paris – that sole success came in the 1997 Uefa Cup Winners' Cup final, Ronaldo getting the only goal in Rotterdam.



Record v French clubs: W15 D7 L6 F58 A40

Home record v French clubs: W9 D2 L2

The first leg was Barcelona's first game against a French club since those 2021 contests against Paris.

Barcelona's record in two-legged ties against Ligue 1 opponents is W5 L4; after losing the first three contests they had won five in row, most recently beating Lyon in the 2018/19 Champions League round of 16 (0-0 a, 5-1 h), before being beaten by Paris in 2020-21.

The Blaugrana had won four successive games at home to French clubs before losing to Paris in 2021, a result that ended their 11-match unbeaten run against Ligue 1 sides at the Camp Nou (W9 D2).

Barcelona's record in European Cup quarterfinals is W15 L7, with five of those defeats coming in the past seven ties.

The 2020 defeat by Bayern was Barcelona's 13th successive Champions League quarterfinal, a competition record. They had previously failed to reach the last eight in 2006-07.

A 1-0 victory at Manchester United in the 2018/19 quarterfinal first leg is Barcelona's only success in 11 away Champions League knockout games (D5 L5), since a 2-0 victory at Arsenal in the 2015-16 round of 16. The wins against United and Arsenal are their sole successes in the last 13 such contests, with six defeats.

This is Barcelona's 28th Champions League campaign, a competition record they share with Real Madrid. They have featured every season since 2003-04 and have now reached the knockout rounds for the 23rd time.

Barcelona have twice won the European Cup at Wembley, the venue for this season's final; they beat Sampdoria 1-0 after extra time in 1992 to take the trophy for the first time, and also defeated Manchester United 3-1 in 2011.

The five-time European champions reached the quarterfinals or better every season between 2007-08 and 2019-20, winning the title in 2009, 2011 and 2015, but failed to make the round of 16 in each of the last two campaigns.

Xavi's side were third in their section for the second season running in 2022-23, winning only two of their six games – both against Viktoria Plzeň – and losing three to finish behind Bayern and eventual runners-up Inter. Barcelona failed to score in three of their Group C games.

Barça's subsequent Uefa Europa League campaign lasted only one tie, Manchester United eliminating them 4-3 on aggregate (2-2 h, 1-2 a) in the knockout round playoffs.

This season, the Spanish side kicked off with a 5-0 win at home to Antwerp before winning 1-0 at Porto and beating Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 at home on matchday 3. Their momentum was halted by a 1-0 loss to the Ukrainian club but qualification was assured with a 2-1 win at home to Porto, although they concluded with another away defeat, 3-2 at Antwerp.

Xavi's side then drew 1-1 at Napoli in the round of 16 first leg before a 3-1 home success, Robert Lewandowski scoring in both matches.

Barcelona have won only one home European game in each of the last two seasons. Indeed, despite this season's defeats of Antwerp, Shakhtar, Porto and Napoli, they have just six successes in 16 European games in their own stadium, with five defeats in that sequence.

The Catalan club claimed their 27th Liga title, and a first for four seasons, in 2022-23, finishing ten points ahead of Real Madrid at the top of the standings.

Barcelona have progressed 37 out of the 39 times they won the away first leg in Uefa competition, most recently against Manchester United in the 2018-19 quarterfinals (1-0 a, 3-0 h). Their two failures came against Köln in the 1980/81 Uefa Cup second round (1-0 a, 0-4 h) and Metz in the 1984-85 European Cup Winners' Cup first round (4-2 a, 1-4 h). Three of those aggregate victories came after a 2-1 first-leg away win, most recently against Celtic in the 2007/08 Champions League round of 16 (1-0 h).

Barcelona's record in six Uefa penalty shootouts is W5 L1:


Record v Spanish clubs: W16 D9 L14 F63 A61

Away record v Spanish clubs: W6 D3 L9

This is the second successive round in which Paris have faced Spanish opponents. Second-half goals from Mbappé and Bradley Barcola earned a 2-0 home win against Real Sociedad in the round of 16 first leg, Mbappé subsequently scoring in either half to secure a 2-1 victory in Spain.

The first leg against La Real was Paris's first game against a Spanish club since the 2021-22 round of 16, when Mbappé's 94th-minute goal gave them a 1-0 first-leg win against Real Madrid. Mbappé stretched Paris's aggregate lead 39 minutes into the second leg in Spain, only for Karim Benzema to score a hat-trick in the final half-hour and take Madrid through instead.

Despite wins in three of their last five matches, Paris have managed only six victories in their last 18 against Spanish clubs, home and away (D3 L9).

The 4-1 first-leg win against Barcelona in the 2020-21 round of 16 and this season's victory at Real Sociedad are the only two of Paris's last six away knockout games in Spain they have not lost; they scored three goals and conceded 14 in those four defeats.

Those are also the Parisians' sole victories in their last ten visits to Spain (D2 L6).

The French club's record in two-legged ties against Spanish sides is W7 L5. This season's success against La Real made it only two victories in their last seven ties.

This is Paris's eighth appearance in the Champions League quarterfinals, where their record is W3 L4:

2020-21: Bayern München W 3-3 away goals (3-2 a, 0-1 h)

2019-20 Atalanta W 2-1 (n)

2015-16 Manchester City L 2-3 (2-2 h, 0-1 a)

2014-15 Barcelona L 1-5 (1-3 h, 0-2 a)

2013-14 Chelsea L 3-3 away goals (3-1 h, 0-2 a)

2012-13 Barcelona L 3-3 away goals (2-2 h, 1-1 a)

1994-95 Barcelona W 3-2 (1-1 a, 2-1 h)

This is Paris's 16th Champions League campaign, level with Lyon's French record. They have featured every season since 2012-13, reaching the knockout stages in the last 12 campaigns.

Runners-up to Bayern in the 2020 final, Les Parisiens were again beaten by the German club in last season's round of 16 (0-1 h, 0-2 a). They had finished second in Group H behind Benfica, picking up 14 points.

Paris began this season with a 2-0 home win against Borussia Dortmund but lost 4-1 at Newcastle United in their next fixture. They then swapped home wins with AC Milan (3-0 h, 1-2 a) before coming from behind to earn 1-1 draws at home to Newcastle and in Dortmund that allowed them to squeeze into the last 16 as group F runners-up, three points behind the German club.

The Parisians have won 13 of their last 30 European matches (D7 L10).

Paris have been victorious in 13 of their last 30 away Champions League fixtures (D6 L11), although the round of 16 win at Real Sociedad is one of only three in their last 13 (D4 L6).

Paris claimed their 11th French title, and ninth in the last 11 seasons, in 2022-23, finishing one point ahead of Lens at the top of the Ligue 1 table.

The French club replaced coach Christophe Galtier with Luis Enrique in the summer.

Paris have suffered only seven previous home first-leg defeats in Uefa competition, and lost every tie, suffering a second-leg loss on each occasion, most recently against Bayern last season. This is the first time they have lost a home first leg 3-2.

Paris's record in one Uefa penalty shoot-out is W0 L1: 3-4 v Rangers, 2001-02 Uefa Cup third round