Paris Saint-Germain will continue their pursuit of the elusive Champions League title as they host Real Sociedad at the Parc des Princes for the first leg of their last-16 clash on Wednesday evening.
The Parisians came from behind to secure a 3-1 victory over Lille at home in Ligue 1 last weekend, while Real Sociedad suffered an unexpected 1-0 loss at home to Osasuna in La Liga.
PSG’s 15-game unbeaten streak in all competitions was under threat when Lille took a surprising lead in the sixth minute in Saturday’s Ligue 1 match at the Parc des Princes, but PSG swiftly equalized through Goncalo Ramos and turned the game around with an own goal from Alexsandro.
Randal Kolo Muani sealed the victory 10 minutes from time, helping PSG accumulate 50 points from 21 league games and move 11 points clear at the top of Ligue 1.
Luis Enrique’s team now shifts focus back to the Champions League after two months, having advanced to the last 16 by finishing second in Group F.
Despite not winning any of their last three group-stage matches, a 1-1 draw with group winners Borussia Dortmund on matchday six was sufficient to finish above AC Milan in third place on goal difference.
PSG, the last European trophy winners in 2001 (UEFA Intertoto Cup), are entering the Champions League last 16 for the 12th consecutive season, aiming to avoid a third successive elimination at this stage after losses to Real Madrid and Bayern Munich in the previous two campaigns.
PSG has struggled against Spanish teams in the Champions League knockout stages, being eliminated on five of the last six occasions.
However, Enrique’s team will be optimistic for success in the first leg on Wednesday, having lost only seven of their last 72 European home matches, winning 46 and drawing 19.
Real Sociedad faces an uphill battle to secure Champions League football for next season, as they have dropped to seventh place in La Liga, 11 points behind the top four, following a run of just one win in their last eight matches.
The Champions League knockout rounds could provide a welcome diversion for Imanol Alguacil’s side, who have advanced to the last 16 for only the second time in their history and for the first time since 2003-04 after topping Group D ahead of last season’s finalists Inter Milan.
Real Sociedad will aim to improve their performance in the round of 16 after facing Lyon, losing both legs by a 1-0 scoreline.
Having failed to score in their last four matches, Real Sociedad must find their scoring touch on Wednesday to achieve a positive result against a PSG side that has not lost at home since September last year.
Champions League Form
- PSG: W, L, W, L, D, D
- Real Sociedad: D, W, W, W, D, D
Form in All Competitions
- PSG: W, W, D, W, W, W
- Real Sociedad: W, W, D, D, D, L
PSG continues to cope without Presnel Kimpembe (Achilles), Milan Skriniar (ankle), Sergio Rico (head), Nuno Mendes (hamstring), and Layvin Kurzawa (back) due to injury.
Kylian Mbappe is expected to return up front on Wednesday after being rested for the win against Lille.
As for Real Sociedad, Sheraldo Becker (muscle), Kieran Tierney (hamstring), Alvaro Odriozola, Carlos Fernandez, and Aihen Munoz (all knee) remain sidelined with injuries, while top scorer Mikel Oyarzabal is a major doubt for Wednesday’s match.
Possible Starting Lineups
Hakimi, Danilo, Marquinhos, Hernandez;
Dembele, Asensio, Kolo Muani;
Traore, Zubeldia, Le Normand, Galan;
Merino, Zubimendi, Mendez;
Kubo, Sadiq, Barrenetxea
Prediction: Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Real Sociedad
We predict Paris Saint-Germain to win 2-1 against Real Sociedad, as PSG, with the return of star player Mbappe, is expected to have the edge and the offensive capability to gain a crucial first-leg advantage.