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Champions League: PSG Desperate to Avoid More Last-16 Disappointment

Paris Saint-Germain vs Borussia Dortmund

Paris Saint-Germain are staring yet another disappointing early Champions League exit in the face. The French champions, who will host Borussia Dortmund in the second leg, need to overcome a 2-1 deficit to avoid a fourth consecutive round-of-16 exit.

The Parisiens will have to do so without a couple of key players due to suspension.

But Dortmund are hardly short of firepower themselves with terrific teens Erling Braut Haaland and Jadon Sancho leading the way, and they will be a major threat to snatch an away goal or two.

 

Talking Points

PSG missing key players

It’s been business as usual for PSG in France after their first-leg defeat to Borussia Dortmund. They scored four or more goals in three of their four games before that match, and they’ve scored four in each of the three games after.

Kylian Mbappe has been right in the middle of that goal glut. The 21-year-old superstar has scored six goals in his last three matches. That includes a hat-trick in PSG’s 5-1 demolition of Lyon in the Coupe de France.

Meanwhile, Neymar also got on the scoresheet from the penalty spot. The Brazilian is finally back healthy and will lead the PSG attack alongside Mbappe as they look to produce some Champions League 2020 highlights.

However, it remains to be seen how the rest of the PSG side will look. Manager Thomas Tuchel made the surprising decision of going with a 3-4-3 in the first leg, with Thomas Meunier and Layvin Kurzawa playing as wing-backs.

But Meunier will be suspended for the second leg after picking up a yellow card, as will key central midfielder Marco Verratti. Verratti’s absence could force Tuchel to put Marquinhos back in midfield against Dortmund, but that could change if Thiago Silva isn’t able to play due to a thigh injury.

Even with those absentees, though, PSG will still be a formidable side to beat at home. They’ve scored at least four goals in seven of their last eight home matches. Meanwhile, they didn’t concede a single goal in their three Champions League home assignments during the group stage.

 

BVB in an ideal situation

Borussia Dortmund have really kicked on since their first-leg win over PSG. They’ve won their last three league games and have leapfrogged RB Leipzig for second place in the Bundesliga table.

Dortmund’s defence, in particular, has improved during their current unbeaten run, which has now stretched to five games overall. They’ve kept clean sheets in three of those games and have allowed just two goals in total.

It’s perhaps no coincidence that they’ve seen a noticeable improvement since the arrival of Emre Can. The German international has added some much-needed steel in midfield, which has made them tougher to break down.

They were unable to completely keep out PSG in Dortmund and could struggle to do so in Paris. But thanks to their 2-1 win in the first leg, the match is perfectly set up for Dortmund to allow PSG to come attack them and for them to break on the counter-attack.

And in Sancho and Haaland, Dortmund have perhaps two of the most devastating young attackers on the counter in Europe at the moment.

Champions League: Erling Haaland is expected to lead Borussia Dortmund upfront against Paris Saint-Germain
Erling Haaland celebrates after scoring for Borussia Dortmund during the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16

Haaland has not scored in each of his last two games, which for him is already a major dry spell. But the young Norwegian knows the way to the back of the net — as he’s shown with his 10 Champions League goals, with two coming in the first leg — and is more than capable of claiming a crucial away goal.

 

History

Dortmund’s win over PSG in the first leg was the first for either team in their three Champions League meetings; they had drawn their first two encounters, which were way back in the 2010-11 season.

However, Dortmund have won just three of their last 15 European away matches, with four draws and eight defeats.

As for PSG, they have won nine of their last 14 Champions League matches (three draws, two defeats) and have scored in 31 consecutive matches in the competition.

 

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