In the past decade of serious attempts, neither has managed to dislodge the traditional European elite by securing the great prize. City boss Pep Guardiola has said in the past that his club lack the experience and knowledge of the established giants and a similar suggestion could have been labelled about PSG.
As a reason for underperforming, that excuse has probably now expired with both clubs becoming regulars in the latter knockout stages – City reaching last season’s final and PSG the year before.
There are aspects where City are clearly stronger, underlined by two significant victories over PSG in the knockout stages in the past six years. Chiefly, it’s been about putting their belief in a trusted coach to deliver.
The Premier League champions identified Guardiola as their biggest target long before he came to the Etihad Stadium, believing his philosophy could transform the club. Not delivering the Champions League is his only failing so far, and will continue to give ammunition to his critics until he does so. It could even blemish his legacy should it continue to elude him, as the Catalan himself admits.
But his methods have delivered a precise, tactical plan that permeates the club from the academy to the first team and has given City that platform for success. The buck stops with Guardiola, which is why he took the heat for last season’s final defeat to Chelsea, and why he was able to turn it around with a dominant and deserved victory at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
PSG, meanwhile, are on their sixth manager in eight years. The previous five all won Ligue 1 but were impatiently axed after failing to land the Champions League, including Thomas Tuchel who went on to win it just five months after he was dumped from the Parc des Princes. It would be no surprise if current incumbent Mauricio Pochettino would be moved on at the end of the season if he won Ligue 1 should there be no European success.