Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Julian Draxler has warned his teammates that the “game is not over” when they take on Barcelona in the Champions League round of 16 at the Nou Camp on Wednesday.
Unai Emery’s men have a 4-0 advantage from the first leg where the likes of Angel Di Maria, Edinson Cavani and Draxler scored the goals to make it a perfect night in front of the home fans at the Parc des Princes.
Draxler, who only moved to PSG from Schalke in January admits that it was “special” to beat a team like Barca, in what he felt was his best game for his new club.
“If you play Barcelona in the Champions League, it’s a special night [already],” Draxler told ESPN FC.
“And if you beat them, of course it’s a special night for everyone not only for me but for the whole team, whole city and the supporters… so it really was one of my best games so far.”
Barcelona will seek to overturn the big deficit at home with the attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar leading the line, something that has to be given close attention to by the PSG defence if they are to come away with a result.
“For me, it’s not that difficult [to play against the trio] because I’m attacking. I don’t want to be defending against them but I think we showed in the first leg that we have the quality to stop them,” Draxler added.
“Of course it’s not easy at the Camp Nou, and it’s maybe the best attack in the world. They can do everything and we’re prepared.
“If the attackers don’t receive the ball, they can’t score. It’s not that easy because you can’t stop a team like Barcelona for 180 minutes… so it will be sure that they’ll have opportunities to score, you can’t stop them forever.
“But we’ll try to find our space on the pitch and if we score, we have a good chance to go through.”
While PSG may have to contend with the attacking flair of Barca’s South American stars, Draxler believes that Emery’s gameplan along with Marco Verratti’s ability to pull the strings in midfield will be enough to take them across the line.
Draxler said: “The quality on the pitch is amazing if you see Verratti in the midfield, how mentally strong [Blaise] Matuidi is, and of course Cavani already scored 32 goals or something, so it’s just the quality in the team and I’m proud of it.
“The coach [Emery] will tell us what to do. I think he has a good tactical understanding [and] I enjoy working with him. He’s a really good coach and I hope we can see it at the end of the season with some titles and celebrate together.
“But in my opinion, we shouldn’t be too comfortable because there were other teams that have lost 5-0 in Camp Nou. I think it’s a special stadium, [where] there’s already been special nights.
“The Champions League is the biggest stage in club football so everyone’s neen dreaming about the game like this. PSG against Barcelona I think can’t be bigger so I’m really looking forward to the game.”
Julien Laurens is a London-based French journalist who writes for ESPN FC and Le Parisien. Follow him on Twitter: @LaurensJulien.