Thursday, February 15 – 6:45am AEDT – Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid.
It may be the season of love, but there will be no love going around when Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain face off in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16.
The current campaign has by all accounts been insufferably putrid for the Los Blancos, as they find themselves fourth on the La Liga table – a ludicrous 17 points behind leaders Barcelona.
Although they still have a game in hand, having lost ground during their expeditions in the FIFA Club World Cup, their La Liga title is potentially gone, given Barca’s imperious form under Ernesto Valverde.
They may not like it, they are not supposed to like it, but Real Madrid now face insurmountable odds defending their European crown against a young, and petrodollar-fuelled side from Paris.
Preparation of their quest for a third consecutive Champions League title – the first of its kind – saw them unleash a 5-2 trouncing of Real Sociedad over the weekend. Even though the emphatic victory does not in any way make right their lacklustre season, it greatly undertones their intention ahead of PSG’s visit.
Madrid may be crestfallen but Paris Saint-German have quite rightly monopolized the game in France. Unai Emery’s men are 12 points afloat in Ligue One, set to play in the French League Cup final against Monaco and have advanced into the quarter-final of the French Cup.
Their pursuit of the quadruple sees them travel to the Spanish capital, but with the lingering possibility of being without striker Edinson Cavani, who missed out during the 1-0 win over Toulouse with a hip injury, while Hatem Ben Arfa and Lavyin Kurzawa could likewise be sidelined.
Unlike his opposing counterpart who played his cards close to his chest regarding the starting eleven, Zinedine Zidane’s approach to the midweek European encounter was quite apparent over the weekend.
Real Madrid vs. PSG match prediction
The defending champions finished second in Group H behind dark horses Tottenham Hotspur, while PSG surprised Bayern Munich to finish top of Group B. While the Champions League remains the only realistic chance of securing silverware for the Los Blancos, the encounter will unequivocally define Zinedine Zidane’s future at the club.
Real have been quite susceptible to conceding goals at the Bernabéu this season, which is why their only get-out-of-jail-free card will be to outscore their opponents; albeit without letting in too many given the incalculable nature of the away goal rule.
Real Madrid vs. PSG recent results
Champions League games:
PSG 0-0 Real Madrid (October 21, 2015)
Real Madrid 1-0 PSG (November 3, 2015)
Nacho Fernandez 35′
Europa League quarter-finals
Real Madrid 3-1 PSG (March 2, 1993)
Ivan Zamorano 90′
David Ginola 49′
PSG 4-1 Real Madrid (March 18, 1993)
George Weah 33′
David Ginola 81′
Antoine Kombouare 90′
Ivan Zamorano 90′
Cup Winners Cup Quarter-finals
Real Madrid 0-1 PSG (March 3, 1994)
George Weah 32′
PSG 1-1 Real Madrid (March 15, 1994)
Ricardo Gomes 51′
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