PSG lost a single official match this year, after going down by the odd goal in the friendly game against Real Madrid. They comfortably seat at the top of the domestic championship and the fact that they drew 1-1 away from home at Monaco greatly helped their cause. A five points advantage over their bitter rivals could prove enough to lift the trophy in 2014, but Paris Saint Germain has higher expectations than that.
Winning the Champions League would prove beyond doubt that the massive investments were worth making and will provide the club owners with the incentive to spend even more money in 2015 and beyond. During the group stage, they encountered little opposition and won four games out of six, while the narrow defeat to Benfica was simply the result of lack of focus and the absence of any real stake.
It goes without saying that tonight the stakes are as high as they get, because losing away from home at Leverkusen with complicate their mission in the second leg. PSG face a difficult opponents this month but kept a clean sheets twice and is still undefeated, not to mention that they, after a convincing victory over Valenciennes. A narrow margin victory over the German side would be regarded as a major triumph, but even scrapping one point would be acceptable as long as PSG scores at least one goal.
Leverkusen is on a downswing, with three defeats in the last month and they have a hard time scoring goals both away and at home. After a disheartening last-minute defeat in Freiburg in late January, they fired back with consecutive victories, only to be eliminated from the German cup by the team playing in the second flight. Schalke04 also got their number and defeating them over the weekend, which made it possible for Dortmund to come within striking distance.
The fact that the Germans didn’t rest any players for that difficult Bundesliga match says a great deal about their Champions League expectations. The hosts realize that they are the underdogs in the double legged fixture and that they are in dire need of a victory in front of their fans. It is only fair to assume that Leverkusen will come out firing on all cylinders and play aggressive football, in an attempt of taking an early lead. The odds for a home win are juicy but the more likely outcome is a low scoring draw.