Sportsnet's Champions League predictions for Round of 16

Verratti back to boost PSG against old foes Barca

Sportsnet's Champions League predictions for Round of 16

Paris St. Germain has dominated French soccer, winning four straight Ligue 1 titles and all four domestic trophies in the last two seasons, but it has exited in the Champions League in the quarterfinals in each of the last four years. In 2013 as well as 2015, Barcelona had the better of PSG. Friday night's 3-0 away win at Bordeaux was the flawless warm up for this crucial home tie with Barcelona and it was a result which leaves PSG in second place in the Ligue 1 standings.

"We have analysed them and they will have analysed us".

"We have very important players who are growing at PSG and who want to write a wonderful story, as individuals and with PSG".

"Knowing Unai, I am sure they will come straight at us and try to put pressure on us", he said.

Even with the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar on the field the Catalans really struggled to grab a foothold on proceedings and were eventually made to pay.

Asked how to stop Messi, Lucas laughs. "You must be very, very organized".

The Barca boss will have to decide whether Andres Iniesta, who reappeared as a substitute in Vitoria, is fit to start or whether he will again bring him on from the bench, in which case Ivan Rakitic or Denis Suarez will start alongside Andre Gomes. "He's a great example. I carry the responsibility, but we need to be positive, have confidence in the team, and confidence in our own ability".

Messi, meanwhile, has not had the greatest success against the Parisians in the past. "In recent years we have played a lot against Barca but every opportunity to do so I think is very handsome".

'Even though I am now in a good project and I feel at home, any player would play for Barcelona, ' Verratti told AS.

However, much bigger challenges and prizes await with Barca in search of a second treble in three years. That led to speculation linking him with a move away from PSG, with the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Barcelona interested.

His work-rate, desire to run in behind and increasingly instinctive connection with the similarly in-form Angel di Maria could be key if PSG are forced to adopt a counter-attacking strategy amid Barcelona's relentless dominance of possession.

Gerard Pique returned to the Barca line-up to partner Samuel Umtiti, while PSG were without club captain, Thiago Silva.

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