Defending Premier League champions Chelsea visit defending Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes tonight in their UEFA Champions League last-16 first-leg clash.
This is the third successive season that these two European giants have met in this elite tournament, although PSG narrowly came out on top just under a year ago after they advanced through the away goals rule after thrillingly drawing 3-3 on aggregate.
However the Blues; who are currently stumbling down in 12th spot in the English top-flight this term, come into this evening’s tie having gone unbeaten since the arrival of interim boss Guus Hiddink back in December, a run that has lasted an impressive 11 games.
But what is even more remarkable is the hosts’ advantage at the top of the French division so far this campaign, where Laurent Blanc’s PSG currently hold an enormous 24-point lead over second-placed AS Monaco after just 26 fixtures this term.
The Ligue 1 runaway leaders finished as runners-up in Group A of the Champions League towards the end of 2015, behind eventual winners Real Madrid, despite PSG tasting victory four times during their six group games.
Meanwhile Chelsea finished top of Group G; under the helm of former boss Jose Mourinho, after winning their last three outings to beat Dynamo Kiev to top spot and condemn FC Porto to the UEFA Europa League knock-out stages.
Hiddink’s away side will be without captain John Terry for tonight’s fixture after has was forced off with a hamstring injury during the first-half of Chelsea’s 5-1 win over Newcastle United on Saturday.
With fellow centre-half Kurt Zouma ruled out for six months with a knee injury, the Dutch boss is set to move regular right-back Branislav Ivanovic alongside Gary Cahill in the heart of the visistors’ defence, with Baba Rahman being deployed on the left-flank and Cesar Azpilicueta filling in on the right.
Summer signing Pedro will be hoping to keep his starting spot tonight after netting a brace against the Magpies at the weekend, although Oscar’s return from a calf injury could prove otherwise.
Hiddink is also likely to field midfielder John Obi Mikel in the French capital this evening as Nemanja Matic is suspended. January addition Alexandre Pato is not named in Chelsea’s squad.
Meanwhile PSG boss Blanc is set to welcome back star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and skipper Thiago Silva after both key players were rested during their weekend goalless draw against Lille.
However the French champions will be without right-back Serge Aurier after the Ivory Coast international was suspended by the club following his homophobic remarks about his manager.
Fellow defender David Luiz is set to start against his former club having left Stamford Bridge for a reported £50m back in June 2014.
Group Position: PSG – 2nd (Group A), 13 points; Chelsea – 1st (Group G), 13 points
Last Meeting: Chelsea 2-2 PSG – March 11, 2015 (Champions League)
Key Men: PSG – Zlatan Ibrahimovic ; Chelsea – Diego Costa
Form: PSG – WWWWWD ; Chelsea – DDWDDW
Shoot Says: PSG 2-0 Chelsea