PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be the cynosure in the last 16 Champions League game against Bayer Leverkusen. Reuters
Stop Zlatan Ibrahimovic and maybe we might have a chance of progressing past the last 16 of the Champions League - that will be pretty much what Bayer Leverkusen will be thinking going into the first leg against Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) on Tuesday night.
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The match is scheduled for an 8.45 pm CET (1.15 am IST Wednesday morning) with live coverage on Ten Sports. The match can be watched via live streaming online HERE. Catch the action in the UK via live streaming HERE, while US viewers can catch the action live online HERE. Live stream the match in the Middle East and North Africa HERE, while Africa viewers can go HERE. The game can be live streamed by Latin America viewers HERE, while Australia viewers can watch the match live online HERE.
Having finished second behind Manchester United in the group stages, Leverkusen go into the pre-quarterfinal tie against PSG as the definite underdogs, with the French team boasting of a star-studded unit led by the incomparable Ibrahimovic, who has already scored eight goals in the Champions League this season.
"Paris have spent a lot of money in recent years and built a very good team," Leverkusen manager Sami Hyypia said ahead of their first leg tie against PSG at the Bay Arena. "They have a lot of individual quality and we'll have to be at our absolute best to get a good result. We have to give 100 percent in every department."
Plan A for Leverkusen will be to nullify the threat posed by Ibrahimovic, currently in brilliant form, and arguably the best pure central striker in Europe at the moment.
"Paris have one or two top international players in every position, so we cannot just focus on one or two players," Hyypia added. "It will be important to neutralise Zlatan Ibrahimovic, so that he is not able to get into scoring positions.
"He is a very good player -- maybe one of the very best right now. He can score a goal without having much of a chance. As a defender you can defend perfectly for the whole match, but he can still score in a second if you're not on top of him. However, we won't prepare for this game any differently."
Leverkusen lost to Schalke in the Bundesliga at the weekend, while PSG look well on course to defend their Ligue 1 title, with the champions easing to a 3-0 victory over Valenciennes on Friday.
High on confidence and with a squad capable of challenging any team in Europe, PSG will probably look to put the tie to bed in the first leg, with manager Laurent Blanc warning his team about being wary of Leverkusen's threat on the dead ball and on the break.
"Like every German team, Leverkusen are very athletic. We have to be on our toes from ever free-kick and corner because they can be very dangerous from set pieces. We will try and dominate the match by taking care of the ball. It's the same pressure that accompanies any other game - everyone expects us to win.
"Leverkusen are very dangerous on the counter. Perhaps they will allow us to have more of the ball and wait to hit us on the break. So every time we lose possession, we have to work very hard to get it back."
Team news: Bayer Leverkusen: Sidney Sam, who missed the loss to Schalke, the club he joins in the summer, is expected to return, along with Stefan Reinartz. Emre Can, however, is out through suspension.
PSG: Edinson Cavani, who hasn't featured this month due to a thigh injury, is again not fit enough to feature.
Key men: Bayer Leverkusen: Lars Bender will need to have an all-round good game in the middle of the park to keep PSG quiet.
PSG: Apart from the obvious Ibrahimovic, Yohan Cabaye will be up for the game, with the Frenchman, who signed for the Parisian's from Newcastle in January, getting a taste of Champions League football after a long time.
Expected lineups: Bayer Leverkusen: Leno; Hilbert, Wollscheid, Spahic, Boenisch; Rolfes, Bender, Sam, Castro, Son; Kiessling.
PSG: Sirigu; Van der Wiel, Marquinhos, Silva, Digne; Cabaye, Matuidi, Verratti; Pastore, Ibrahimovic, Lavezzi.
Prediction: 2-1 to PSG
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