PSG eager to prove they belong in the Champions League when they play Valencia

French side hold 2-1 advantage from first leg

Leonardo's assertion that Paris St Germain are made for the Champions League but not for low-key Ligue 1 matches could backfire tonight if they do not show a dramatic improvement against Valencia in a last 16 second leg.

Sports director Leonardo explained PSG's embarrassing 1-0 league defeat at battling 10-man Stade Reims on Saturday by saying: "Maybe we have a team made for Europe, based on talent and passing quality, not for that kind of game."

PSG indeed looked a different side from the one who beat Valencia 2-1 away in the first leg and their chances of success in Wednesday's home game have been hurt by suspensions to striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and midfielder Marco Verratti.

The Ligue l leaders' defeat by Reims was the second in a row against a lowly team after they were humbled 3-2 by Sochaux before back-to-back wins against arch rivals Olympique Marseille in the league and French Cup.

PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti blamed a bad pitch at Reims for the loss but there will be no excuses on Wednesday on their Parc des Princes turf, where 37-year-old David Beckham could make his first Champions League appearance since 2010 with AC Milan.

The former England captain, who signed a short-term deal with PSG in January, could start the match unless Ancelotti decides to field Clement Chantome or Thiago Motta returns from injury.

The Italian coach is likely to change his centre back pairing with captain Thiago Silva in the running to feature for the first time in more than seven weeks after recovering from a thigh problem.

The Brazilian's return would be a boost to PSG, who could have all but sealed their last-eight qualification in Valencia if they had made more of their domination before allowing the Spaniards to pull a goal back late on.

Valencia are missing usual centre backs Adil Rami and Ricardo Costa.

France international Rami, who netted their 90th-minute goal in the first leg, is still recovering from a muscle strain in his left thigh while the Portuguese defender, who has suffered a minor muscle problem, has been left out of the squad.

"We know how Paris play. I watched their last two games and they often rely on the counter attack, allowing the other team to have the ball and breaking very well," Valencia full back Jeremy Mathieu said.

"Valencia's tactics are to pressure as much as possible and spend as much time in the opponent's half as we can," added the Frenchman, who returned from a lengthy injury break at the weekend and could play alongside Victor Ruiz at centre half.

Valencia drew 2-2 at home to city rivals Levante on Saturday, conceding late to miss out on a victory that would have lifted them above Malaga into fourth in La Liga.

Paraguay forward Nelson Valdez reckons the European Cup is a good benchmark for Valencia.

"I think the PSG match will be crucial for us to discover what level we are at. There are only strong teams left in the Champions League now, so we have to show we belong here," he told UEFA's website (http://www.uefa.com).

"The best music I know is the Champions League anthem. Personally, it always gives me goose bumps, listening to that music and standing in line before the game - even sitting on the bench. It means I am at a good club and I am a part of this."

Probable teams:

Paris St Germain: 30-Salvatore Sirigu; 26-Christophe Jallet, 2-Thiago Silva, 13-Alex, 17-Maxwell; 29-Lucas, 32-David Beckham, 14-Blaise Matuidi, 27-Javier Pastore; 7-Jeremy Menez, 11-Ezequiel Lavezzi

Valencia: 13-Vicente Guaita; 12-Joao Pereira, 22-Jeremy Mathieu, 18-Victor Ruiz, 17-Andres Guardado; 24-Tino Costa, 21-Daniel Parejo; 8-Sofiane Feghouli, 10-Ever Banega, 7-Jonas; 9-Roberto Soldado

Reuters

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower