May 22, 2024

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Paris Saint-Germain 0 Borussia Dortmund 1 – Hummels decisive, Paris Saint-Germain’s offensive struggles

Paris Saint-Germain 0 Borussia Dortmund 1 – Hummels decisive, Paris Saint-Germain’s offensive struggles

Borussia Dortmund beat Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 on Tuesday evening to qualify for the Champions League final with a 2-0 aggregate victory.

After an initial first half in which neither team had any significant chances, Paris Saint-Germain came close to opening the scoring within five minutes of the end of the first half when Warren Zaire Emery hit the post. It was a huge blow for the hosts, as just minutes later Mats Hummels rose high from a corner to head home and double his side’s lead on aggregate.

The home team eventually got the game going, but they found it difficult to break down Dortmund’s defense as the tie continued. Gregor Kupil also made crucial saves to keep his team ahead. That was enough to see Dortmund reach the final.

Here, Peter Rutzler, Sebastian Stafford Bloor and Liam Tharm break down a massive win for Dortmund.

How important is Hummels?

Dortmund reaching the Champions League final is remarkable enough. That they were relying on a brilliant performance from 35-year-old Mats Hummels was even more important.

During this European season, Hummels was comfortably Dortmund’s best player. He often looked ten years younger – in the timing of his tackles, in his willingness to break out of the defense and pass the ball forward. It was vintage Hummels, round after round.


His individual defense was excellent in Paris. He was often brave, too. But it was also measured. Hummels played out of proportion to the occasion. He was calm in the midst of chaos. The butterfly effect was vital as this stability seemed to inspire a similarly outstanding performance from Nico Schlotterbeek.

Schlotterbeck can be error-prone. At his best, when the balance around him is right, he has great liveliness on the ball and is a great asset in the possession game.

He was exactly that in Paris, and having this version of Hummels by his side, with all the confidence he seemed to engender, was a big part of the reason why.

Sebastian Stafford Blore

Why did Paris Saint-Germain suffer in attack?

Once again, Luis Enrique made a strange tactical adjustment during the second leg of the Champions League.

In San Sebastian against Real Sociedad, Bradley Barkola and Kylian Mbappe were split strikers in a 4-3-1-2 formation; Away to Barcelona, ​​it was Mbappe in the ninth position, Barkola and Ousmane Dembélé on the wings. Earlier in the group stage, he paired Randall Kolo Mwani with Mbappe and used Marco Asensio as a dummy striker as well. The return of Gonçalo Ramos was a surprise; This was his second European start of the season.

Luis Enrique has spent the entire European season trying to find attacking chemistry and has never settled. Paris Saint-Germain were consistently disappointing in the first half and needed their best players to open games in the second half.

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Ramos was extravagant, being selected so PSG had a No.9 and a presence in the box against a Dortmund side with two (not three) midfielders. But PSG struggled to put their wingers in a one-on-one situation, and they built safely through rotating midfielder Fabian Ruiz down the left, giving cover to the counter-attack against Jadon Sancho but reducing their central presence.

PSG crossed repeatedly – ​​but without the wingers attacking the back post or the midfielders running into the penalty area. They made 15 crosses in the first half, their most in a Champions League knockout match since facing Manchester City in May 2021 (16). Achraf Hakimi’s brands were few and far between.

The 25 shots off target were the most for PSG in a European knockout match since the start of the 2018-19 season. They are a young team all over the pitch, without Dortmund’s experience and intelligence, but they are an underwhelming attacking display from a team that has scored in 24 consecutive home games.

Liam Tharm

How will Mbappé remember his last match with Paris Saint-Germain?

This was not the end that Kylian Mbappé and Paris Saint-Germain had envisioned.

The France captain won’t be bidding farewell to the Parc des Princes quite yet: Paris Saint-Germain will face Toulouse in Ligue 1 this weekend.

But this was his final Champions League match, a moment in which he emerged as the club’s all-time leading goalscorer, both in all competitions and in Europe. He did not always enjoy the passionate affection of PSG supporters during his time in Paris, a product, as L’Equipe put it this week, of his frequent “near departures”. But he was beloved in Paris as a captain for club and national team. Before the game, his name was chanted loudest by fans when the teams were read.

However, this game and this tie was not played according to script.

Throughout the two matches, Mbappe struggled to find his moment. At Signal Iduna Park, he caught a glimpse. Descend from the left side to curl the ball into the post. Tonight, he was fueling half-chances – an opportunistic shot from distance, and a curling ball from 30 yards went just wide.

Dortmund deserve a lot of credit for how they keep them calm. Paris Saint-Germain criticized his lack of skill in the final third, which made him resort to lofted crosses, which struggled to find goals. This is not Mbappe’s game.

He returned to the left flank for the second leg but didn’t make much difference here. Mbappé failed to score only once in the two-legged Champions League matches when he started both matches, and that was against Real Madrid in the round of 16 of the 2017-2018 season, at the beginning of his time in the team. Paris. This was not the kind of closed circuit he was seeking.

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Mbappe was no stranger and was generally not in this encounter. In fact, Mbappe had created the most chances under pressure (23) in the Champions League before this encounter, but none of them were converted by his team-mates. Mbappé was never where PSG needed him to be: at the end of their best chances.

And when it finally appeared – a rebound in the box that needed to be tamed in the 86th minute – his shot hit the ground, deflecting off the crossbar. It wasn’t meant to be.

Peter Rutzler

Was Terzic’s game plan a surprise?

Many of Edin Terzic’s critics question his tactical acumen. This performance in Paris, which was as organized and stubborn as Dortmund have been all season, provided a powerful rebuttal.

A notable feature of PSG’s performance in the first half was how little penetration they were able to achieve in the middle of the pitch. It was the result of a good game plan that was well executed.

The idea was simple enough: Dortmund were compact in the middle, sending the press – especially Karim Adeyemi – high in an attempt to divert the ball into a narrow channel down the right flank. It made sense: Dortmund would be better off taking their chance with Dembélé on this side rather than Mbappé on the other.

Only 17 per cent of Paris Saint-Germain’s attacking touches during the first 45 minutes came in the central third, the lowest level in the Champions League this season. He left Luis Enrique’s side relying on Dembélé for their supply, and spent the night searching for a ball he could never find.

Sebastian Stafford Blore

Did Paris Saint-Germain suffer from pressure?

This match has been billed as PSG’s biggest ever match at the Parc des Princes – or at least the biggest since 1995, when they faced Milan in their first ever Champions League semi-final.

Unsurprisingly, the anticipation for this match is huge in Paris. Preparations focused on creating an atmosphere to rival that seen last week in Dortmund, where the hosts’ yellow wall inspired the home team to a 1-0 win.

Ultras issued a “call to arms” earlier this week. Club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said he would have removed the seats for this match if possible. At night, the stands were filled about an hour before kick-off, and created a huge buzz.

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“We are Paris,” blared over the loudspeaker. “You are the voice of millions.” A small number of Ultras were moved to the Boulogne platform, opposite the main Ultras residence in Auteuil.

Mbappe shows his frustration during Tuesday’s match (Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

PSG channeled that energy from the stands early, setting them up for challenges and driving the ball up the pitch through collective willpower alone. But then tension crept into the ranks. This is a very young team, and on that night, the average age of the starting lineup was 24 years and 157 days. This was the smallest starting XI in a Champions League semi-final since Arsenal in May 2009.

I showed. Luis Enrique wanted his team to accept the pressure, but as the game wore on into the first half, that energy and energy began to fade. The crowd kept going but PSG lacked their usual nimbleness, proving inaccurate in the final third with a final pass or cross, while lacking any rhythm in their game too. Dortmund’s compact shape was not stretched. As PSG chased the game, their attackers lacked composure when they had their chances.

They can blame it on bad luck, an aspect of this underscored by their six shots hitting the woodwork at both legs. But it also underscored their lack of composure in front of goal.

Luis Enrique wants this to be a learning experience for his young team. But it will be especially painful this evening, as many in Paris were hoping and anticipating a trip to Wembley.

Peter Rutzler

What did Luis Enrique say?

Luis Enrique said: “It was A tough match, but honestly, I think we have to win the match. We made 31 shots, [we hit the woodwork] four [times] -Football is unfair sometimes.

“Congratulations to them. They are a great team and I hope they can reach the final and win it.”

What did Edin Terzic say?

Terzic told TNT Sport:Proud if I had to find a word. It is a very proud moment for us. The dream is not over yet.

“I think we suffered a lot, but we showed a very good match away from home against a very strong team in attack, fast and mobile. We won both matches in the semi-final. This is unbelievable.

“It was a great performance. In the first half the team was the better team in terms of control, but we had the biggest chance with Karim Adeyemi and it was a crucial moment for us to keep our belief high.

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(Top image: Frank Fife/AFP via Getty Images)