PSG will be looking to mount a comeback when they face off against Borussia Dortmund in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie.
The second leg fixtures of the Champions League Round of 16 stage continues on Wednesday night as teams look to book a place in the quarter-finals. One of the most exciting clashes of the round comes our way from Parc des Princes, where Paris Saint-Germain will aim to overturn the first-leg deficit against Borussia Dortmund.
The reverse fixture played at Signal Iduna Park last month saw Dortmund run out 2-1 winners courtesy a Erling Haaland brace, with Neymar getting the precious away goal for PSG.
Since then, Les Parisiens have racked up three wins in three, most recently beating Lyon 5-1 in the French Cup semi-finals. They have scored 13 goals during this run, while letting in just three. Thomas Tuchel will be hoping that his team carry this momentum forward against his former employers and make it into the Last Eight, having exited the tournament at this stage last season.
Dortmund too have won all three fixtures since defeating PSG last month, with their most recent game ending in a 2-1 triumph over Borussia Monchengladbach. Lucien Favre’s side have lost just two of their ten games in all competitions in 2020 and will be in confident mood ahead of their trip to Paris, as they look to qualify for the quarter-finals, after tripping up at this stage last time out.
The game on Wednesday night will be played in an empty stadium due to the threat of Coronavirus. And ahead of this much-awaited encounter, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams;
Team News & Tactics
The hosts will be without the services of full-back Thomas Meunier and midfield mainstay Marco Verratti, both of whom are suspended for accumulation of cards. There are doubts over the availability of Kylian Mbappe after he missed training on Monday due to illness, while Colin Dagba’s involvement is also uncertain. Thiago Silva has recovered from his injury and should be available.
Having set his team up with a three-man defence in the first leg, PSG boss Thomas Tuchel is likely to revert to the 4-4-2 system that he has used most regularly this term.
In goal, the hosts will rely on the brilliance of Keylor Navas to keep them in contention. The four-man backline should see Thilo Kehrer starting at right-back while Laywin Kurzawa could get the nod on the left side ahead of Juan Bernat. Presnel Kimpembe is expected to pair up with the fit-again Thiago Silva at the heart of the PSG defence.
The two-man central midfield unit is likely to comprise of Idrissa Gueye and Marquinhos, who will be tasked with disrupting Dortmund’s rhythm in the centre of the park. The South American duo of Angel Di Maria and Neymar, who scored in the first leg, will provide the creative threat from the flanks and look to make the most of a vulnerable Dortmund defence.
Given the importance of the fixture, Mbappe is expected to make himself available for the contest and should start in the two-pronged strikeforce alongside Edinson Cavani, who is likely to get the nod over Mauro Icardi owing to his work-rate off the ball.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Navas; Kehrer, Kimpembe, Silva, Kurzawa; Di Maria, Gueye, Marquinhos, Neymar; Mbappe, Cavani
Lucien Favre doesn’t have a whole lot of injury concerns heading into the crunch tie in Paris. However, Dortmund will be without captain Marco Reus and midfielder Thomas Delaney for the game, although they have been doing well without the duo for some time now.
Favre is unlikely to switch formation or make any big changes to the side that started in the weekend victory against Gladbach. Roman Burki will start in goal for the visitors and will likely be a busy man against a dangerous PSG attack on Wednesday.
The three-man backline ought to comprise of Lukasz Piszczek, Mats Hummels and Dan-Axel Zagadou, who has become the preferred choice ahead of Manuel Akanji. While the Dortmund defence has looked suspect for most of the campaign, they have been able to steady things of late and will be hoping to keep the PSG frontline at bay.
Achraf Hakimi and Raphael Guerreiro will be the two wing-backs for Dortmund and will look to cause problems to the hosts with their overlapping runs on the flanks. The two-man midfield unit of Emre Can and Axel Witsel has been performing very well and should remain intact, meaning Julian Brandt misses out again.
Jadon Sancho ought to return to the lineup after being benched for the weekend clash. The Englishman will line up on the right flank while the opposite wing is likely to be occupied by Thorgan Hazard. Spearheading the Dortmund attack will be January signing Erling Haaland.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Burki; Piszczek, Hummels, Zagadou; Hakimi, Can, Witsel, Guerreiro; Sancho, Haaland, Hazard
- PSG have never beaten Borussia Dortmund in European competition, drawing twice and losing once. Their only previous meeting at Parc des Princes was in November 2010, a goalless draw in the Europa League.
- Borussia Dortmund have won three and lost three of their six away Champions League matches against French sides, both winning and losing against each of Auxerre, Marseille and Monaco.
- PSG have never progressed to the next stage of the Champions League after losing the first leg of a knockout match, going out against Milan in 1994-95, Barcelona in 2014-15 and Real Madrid in 2017-18.
- Borussia Dortmund have always progressed to the next stage of the Champions League after winning the first leg of a knockout match, doing so on all four previous occasions. The only team with a better 100% progression rate after winning the first leg is Juventus (11/11).
- PSG have lost five of their last six Champions League knockout matches (W1), losing each of their last two at the Parc des Princes against Real Madrid in March 2018 and Manchester United in March 2019.
Player to Watch
The Norwegian sensation has made a sensational start to life in Dortmund after signing from RB Salzburg in the January transfer window. Haaland has already scored 12 goals in 10 matches for BVB in all competitions including two against PSG in the first leg last month, taking his tally for the season to a whopping 40 goals for Dortmund and Salzburg combined.
Haaland is one of only five players to score 10+ goals in their debut campaign in the European Cup/Champions League. The 19-year-old is averaging a goal every 46 minutes in the Champions League this term – the best ratio in the competition’s history of any player to play at least 250 minutes.
Having failed to find the back of the net in his last two appearances, Haaland will be hoping to get back to goal-scoring ways on Wednesday and fire Dortmund into the quarter-finals.
PSG 1-2 Borussia Dortmund
PSG head into Wednesday’s clash knowing that they will have to be at their opponents’ throat from the get-go. The away goal does give them a good chance to make a comeback and the fact that their weekend game against Strasbourg was cancelled due to Coronavirus threat will have given them extra time to fine tune their preparations.
Borussia Dortmund, on the other hand, come into the game with a slight advantage from the first leg. The visitors are on a five-match winning streak, during which they have conceded just two goals, keeping three clean sheets in the process. Their improved defensive performances should give them an upper hand on their visit to Paris.
It promises to be another enticing encounter between two formidable outfits. But, PSG have often tripped up in situations like these in the past, which is why The Hard Tackle predicts Dortmund to come out on top with the same scoreline as the first leg and qualify for the quarter-finals of the Champions League.