Poulsen reckons Balotelli could help tip the balance for Roberto Mancini's men.
The Dane, 32, told The Sun: "I'd prefer Balotelli not to play because he is a such difficult player to stop.
"We are not obsessed with him and are working around facing him. But we hope we do not have to because this is such an important game. It's a final to see who can survive in the group. The team that loses will basically be out.
"City may be favourites, but we are at home and keen to keep our European dream alive. They have improved so much over the years but still aren't functioning well in the Champions League.
"I'm surprised by their performances at this level. They lost to Real Madrid but played some excellent football, and were then very disappointing against Dortmund. Like us they are under pressure and we intend to make them suffer more.
"Luckily for us David Silva is out.
"But even if Balotelli is also out we must be wary of Sergio Aguero and make sure he is never left in a comfortable position in the penalty area."