Football

Ibrahimovic aims for Champions League title

LEVERKUSEN, Germany (AP) — Bayer Leverkusen is aiming to reach its first Champions League quarterfinal in 12 seasons as it host Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie on Tuesday. Here are five things to know about the match:

LEVERKUSEN'S HOPES The Champions League is the only title Leverkusen can win this season. It is hopelessly 16 points behind Bayern Munich in second place in the Bundesliga and it has been knocked out of the German Cup.

Leverkusen has not reached the last eight of the Champions League since 2002, the year it lost the final to Real Madrid. Although it has been one of the Bundesliga's top teams since the 1990s, Leverkusen has few titles: it won the UEFA Cup in 1988 and the German Cup in 1993.

Leverkusen lost 10-2 on aggregate to Barcelona in its last foray into the Champions League knockout rounds two years ago.

IBRAHIMOVIC'S QUEST

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has won 10 domestic championships with six different teams but the Sweden striker is missing the most coveted club trophy, the Champions League.

Ibrahimovic will be missing from the biggest stage too, since Sweden failed to qualify for this summer's World Cup in Brazil.

Winning the Champion League with Paris Saint-Germain would go some way to compensate for sitting out the tournament in Brazil.

Ibrahimovic's eight goals in five matches played a big role in PSG reaching the knockout stage with a game to spare.

DIFFERENT WEEKENDS

Subsequent losses at home in the German Cup and the Bundesliga have dented Bayer Leverkusen's morale. Still, Leverkusen's coach Sami Hyypia was encouraged by the reaction shown in Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Schalke.

"If we play like this on Tuesday I'll be happy," said Hyypia, whose side was embarrassed 5-0 by Manchester United in its previous Champions League game at home.

Meanwhile, Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his fourth goal in as many matches as PSG beat Valenciennes 3-0 on Friday.

"It is always important for your confidence to win before a Champions League match," PSG midfielder Yohan Cabaye said. "Now we're going to switch our attention to the Leverkusen game."

MISSING CAVANI

Paris Saint-Germain travels to Germany without influential striker Edinson Cavani.

The Uruguay forward injured his right thigh during the 2-0 home win against Bordeaux on Jan. 31 and is likely to be sidelined for the whole of February. Cavani, who moved from Napoli in a 64 million-euro ($84 million) deal last summer, scored four times in five Champions League group appearances for PSG.

Christophe Jallet and Zoumana Camara are also injured.

Coach Laurent Blanc has included teenage forwards Hervin Ongenda and Kingsley Coman, who was PSG's youngest ever player when he made his debut last year at the age of 16 years, 8 months and 4 days.

Leverkusen's defenders Emir Spahic and Omer Toprak and striker Eren Derdiyok are nursing slight injuries.

WELL-RESTED

Since its last Champions League match, PSG has lost only two of 14 games in all competitions and has a five point-lead over Monaco at the top of the Ligue 1 table.

With PSG comfortably beating Valenciennes 3-0, PSG coach Laurent Blanc was able to replace key players Ibrahimovic, Thiago Motta and Ezequiel Lavezzi midway through the second period.

When Sami Hyypia tried to rest some starters in the German Cup, his team lost to second-division Kaiserslautern.

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