Paris Saint-Germain will have a stern test on their hands when they play hosts to Borussia Dortmund at Parc des Princes on Wednesday. The French champions tasted a 2-1 defeat in the first-leg at the Signal Iduna Park, a fortnight ago. And despite scoring the away goal, the Black and Yellows have the upper hand due to their lead.
Thomas Tuchel’s men were accused of playing too centrally in the first leg. This is something the ex-Dortmund coach would look to resolve, particularly by deploying Neymar and Angel Di Maria in a wider role than usual. The fullbacks could also play a crucial role in providing width into the attack, though they will also have to deal with pressure from Dortmund’s wingers in Jadon Sancho and Thorgan Hazard.
Lucien Favre is expected to retain his 3-4-3 that offers his side defensive solidity as well as numerical superiority in the middle third of the pitch. The wingbacks in Achraf Hakimi and Raphael Guerreiro could play a key role, knowing their offensive work-rate would restrict the PSG fullbacks from being more expressive in the final third. This, in turn, would force the likes of Neymar and Di Maria to operate in a wider role in order to compensate for that.
Marco Verratti’s absence due to suspension would serve as a massive blow for the hosts. Marquinhos is likely to drop in at CDM, with Presnel Kimpembe starting at CB alongside Thiago Silva. Thomas Meunier is also out due to suspension and is set to be replaced by ex-Schalke starlet Thilo Kehrer, with Colin Dagba remaining a doubt ahead of this fixture.
Predicted XI (4-3-3): Navas; Kehrer, Silva, Kimpembe, Bernat; Gueye, Marquinhos, Paredes; Di Maria, Mbappe, Neymar.
Borussia Dortmund will continue to miss out on the services of club captain Marco Reus while Thomas Delaney is also unlikely to feature. Aside from that, coach Favre will have the privilege of choosing from a fully fit Dortmund squad. The visitors are expected to make only one change, however, with Sancho replacing Julian Brandt.
Predicted XI (3-4-3): Burki; Piszczek, Hummels, Zagadou; Hakimi, Witsel, Can, Guerreiro; Sancho, Haaland, Hazard.
PSG fans will surely be looking at Neymar as they hope to breach the Dortmund defence and change the course of this tie. The Brazilian scored the all-important away goal in the first-leg. But, he had got isolated, at times, which means PSG must improve on their gameplan if they are to allow the Brazilian more space and time on the ball this time around.
As for Dortmund, it was Erling Haaland, who ended up having one of the best games of his career, scoring a brace against PSG in the first-leg. The away fans will be hoping for a similar performance this time out, even though the Norwegian hasn’t scored in his last two league matches. Nevertheless, he is always a threat, and with Sancho and Hazard servicing him in behind, PSG should keep close tabs on Haaland.