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UEFA Champions League: Bayer Leverkusen v PSG

The absence of Edinson Cavani may play a key role as Paris Saint-Germain visit Bayer Leverkusen in the UEFA Champions League last 16.

PSG reached the quarter-finals of last season's competition under the guidance of Carlo Ancelotti and look to be among the contenders this term after a strong group stage campaign.

Laurent Blanc's men lost just one game on their way to topping Group C, the setback coming against Benfica after the Ligue 1 champions had already secured progression.

The French capital club head into Tuesday's first leg at the BayArena in fine form, having lost once in 10 matches in all competitions since the end of the mid-season break.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has produced some of his best performances in the Champions League this season and is the tournament's second top-scorer with eight goals.

And the onus will likely be on the Sweden striker to deliver the goods again with strike partner Cavani - scorer of 20 goals since joining from Napoli - set to miss out because of a thigh injury picked up against Bordeaux last month.

Defender Christophe Jallet is the only other major injury concern, although the right-back is nearing a return to full fitness.

Leverkusen, meanwhile, will be without midfielder Emre Can due to suspension, while Stefan Reinartz (foot) is a doubt.

The hosts are depleted by the loss of strikers Eren Derdiyok (foot) and Robbie Kruse (knee).

Sami Hyypia's men qualified for the knock-out stages after finishing second behind Manchester United in Group A, with a 1-0 win at Real Sociedad in the final round of group fixtures ensuring Leverkusen's place in the last 16.

However, Leverkusen have been in disappointing form of late, winning just two of their previous seven outings.

But, after German sides Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund reached the final of last season's tournament, Blanc insists his PSG players are fully prepared for a difficult challenge against a team that sits second in the Bundesliga.

"The players will be ready because you know that we need to be physically ready as the Germans will be," Blanc said. "That is for sure because they (German sides) are very serious about preparation.

"They (Leverkusen) had a three-week winter break, it wasn't for no reason that last season two German teams reached the final of the Champions League."

 

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