The second Champions League semi-final sees something of a long-awaited glamour tie between Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.
Europe’s big spenders in recent years have both been hugely successful domestically, but remarkably neither side has managed to get their hands on Europe’s top prize.
City’s closest brush with glory was a defeat to Real Madrid in the final four in 2016 while the Parisians have gone one better, reaching the final last season only to be denied by Bayern Munich.
Inside Europe – PSG favourites but Sampaoli’s team can spring a shock, and Payet will be the key
Going into the tie, both teams will fancy their chances of lifting the trophy in Istanbul come May - should they navigate their way through this tantalising encounter.
With the two-legged tie difficult to call on paper, Eurosport’s French football expert Vincent Bregevin believes there are some extremely fine margins that could swing it in favour, or against, the Ligue 1 side.
- Chelsea boss Tuchel hits out at UEFA over Champions League changes
- Banning Real Madrid from the Champions League 'absurd', says Zidane
- Humble Guardiola explains why it is 'easy' to win trophies after 30th honour
'Ligue 1 chase could impact Champions League challenge'
For City, after winning the League Cup at the weekend and sitting just two wins away from regaining the Premier League title, Pep Guardiola can almost exclusively focus on the competition he has already won twice as a manager, although not since 2011.
Things are slightly more complicated for PSG and Mauricio Pochettino as, almost unthinkably, the club sit second in Ligue 1, a point behind Lille and in real danger of failing to win the very title they have virtually made their own in recent years.
With four games remaining, and with Monaco and Lyon also in the French title mix, there is a concern over whether PSG may have their attention diverted to matters at home as they try to make history in Europe.
However, according to Bregevin, if the club had to prioritise one competition or the other, it’s a no-brainer.
“PSG are clearly more focused on the Champions League, that's their dream,” Bregevin said. “That competition might actually distract them and make them lose the Ligue 1 title.
Pochettino can't underestimate Ligue 1 though, Neymar, Mbappé, Verratti, Navas and other key players may play both competitions as long as they are fit. So there is an injury risk that could impact the Champions League.
PSG suffered a damaging league defeat to their rivals at the top of the table at the start of April in a match that saw Neymar sent off as their season appeared to be unravelling.
However, after following it up with that incredible 3-2 victory in the Allianz Arena against Bayern Munich, they’ve won three from three in the league as well as picking up a victory in the French Cup quarter-finals.
'We will be dead by 2024' - Perez says Champions League has to be replaced by Super League
The only blemish in that time came in the 1-0 defeat in the return fixture against the German giants, which ultimately wasn’t enough to halt their progress.
Mbappe: A real leader
PSG's most recent league game saw them triumph 3-1 over Metz but celebrations were muted after two-goal hero and undoubted star of the knockout rounds Kylian Mbappe limped off with a thigh injury.
Despite the almost audible anxiety emanating from Paris, Bregevin believes the 22-year-old will be fit and ready to face Guardiola’s side with no problems.
“He did have a medical exam on Sunday that was positive. It was just a knock so he's likely to be 100% to face City.
It's very important for PSG to have him at full speed of course, he was key to driving PSG into the semis with his hat-trick against Barcelona and his brace against Bayern.
“He's also becoming a real vocal leader in this team, leading by his state of mind and his winning attitude. Overall, he might be the most important player in this team right now along with Keylor Navas.”
Mbappe went down with an injury against Metz
Image credit: Getty Images
'PSG to use Bayern template against City'
While Mbappe firing, PSG swept Barcelona aside 4-1 with a devastating display in the first leg of their last-16 clash at Camp Nou, Pochettino adopted a far more cautious approach for the return match in Paris which ended 1-1.
It was a similar story in both legs against Bayern with PSG happy to soak up pressure before hitting their opponents on the counter, with Mbappe and of course, Neymar, in blistering form.
Given the strength possessed by City and Guardiola’s unflinching attacking philosophy, Bregevin says it is likely Pochettino will set his team up to again sit off and play on the break.
“PSG will try to give themselves some space behind City's defence to take advantage of Mbappe's speed and Neymar's creativity. That worked perfectly against Bayern even if it was tight.
“Bayern was the defending champion and favourites to win this year too, so of course it was never going to be easy to knock them out.”
Newcastle, Man Utd, Man City and Arsenal battle for £50m Calvert-Lewin - Paper Round
City ‘shocked and saddened’ following reports of attack on fan in Bruges