On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, Thomas Tuchel’s Paris Saint-Germain defeated Dortmund (2-0) and advanced to the quarter-finals of the Champions League (C1). This latest clash between the two clubs was marked by both a happy result for the Parisians and an unprecedented state of health. Since the Covid-19 epidemic got out of control, the match was to be played in the empty Parc des Princes.
On Tuesday, September 19, the two teams will find themselves in completely different contexts. In what will be a packed stadium this time, PSG and Borussia Dortmund (BVB) will look to get the 2023-2024 Champions League campaign off to a good start with profoundly changed squads. PSG, now coached by Spaniard Luis Enrique, only have three players in their 2020 squad (Kilian Mbappe, Marquinhos and Keylor Navas).
To avoid finding themselves in a delicate situation after a mixed start to the season in the league, the Parisians will be tipped to win against BVB on Tuesday, as their predecessors did three years earlier.
“A process that takes time”
Eight points in five games. Since the takeover of the club by the sovereign fund Qatar Sports Investments in 2011, Paris Saint-Germain have had their worst start in the French championship. We have to go back to the 2010-2011 season to find a capital club with so many points. Antoine Comboire’s players have collected only seven points in five matches.
However, since the arrival of Luis Enrique at the helm of PSG, the face shown by the reigning French champions is convincing. An average of 72% ball possession, 17 shots on goal per match… The statistics suggest that the Spanish technician is a master of his subject.
But the former Barca coach knows it will take time to turn that dominance into victory. ” We didn’t start the season very well, but I come every time [dans un nouveau club], it’s always like that. There is a lot of information, ideas, concepts that players need to absorb, assured the coach from Paris on Monday. I see it as a process that takes time. I know it’s hard to ask, how things work. »
In Ligue 1, the Parisians are getting better and better at mastering the coach’s playing principles, especially in attack. This allowed them to get two convincing wins against Lens (3-1, 26 August at Parc des Princes) and Lyon (4-1, 3 September at Parc OL). However, they could not avoid defeat (2-3) against Nice on September 15 at the Parc des Princes in their last meeting.
The Champions League is not an “obsession”
But, as every year, PSG is expected in the Champions League. In recent seasons, and despite reaching the final of the Champions League in 2020, the Parisians have never been able to translate their national supremacy onto the European stage (nine French titles in eleven years).
Winner of the Champions League with Barcelona in 2015, the Paris Saint-Germain manager constantly reiterates that to do well in this competition, you don’t have to focus on that. ” When a team, a club, is obsessed with something, it’s never a good sign. You have to have hope, ambition, but obsession never works, in any area of life. »
A speech that seemed to go down well with his players too. “Champions League is neither obsession nor pressure. We want to climb to the top, but we know the way, we know it’s long, we have to go step by step.” Ando Marquinhos, PSG captain, a few minutes after the coach.
However, in this Group F (which also includes AC Milan and Newcastle), perhaps the toughest in the 2023-2024 edition of the Champions League, false starts are strictly prohibited.
At home, against a team still in early season training (Dortmund are seventh in the Bundesliga after four games), Kylian Mbappe and his partners have the opportunity to get their European campaign off to a good start. Against BVB, the Parisians will have to rely on the speed of their attacking elements to try and fool a rather slow German central defence. As such, Ousmane Dembele returning to his former club is eagerly awaited. If PSG’s Frenchman has a big night, Luis Enrique has a good chance of picking up his first points in C1 with Paris Saint-Germain.
Source: Le Monde
Jason Root is a sports aficionado and a writer at Run Down Bulletin. With a passion for athletic competition and a wealth of knowledge on all things sports, he provides in-depth coverage of the biggest games and events in the world of sports.