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Borussia Dortmund 2-1 PSG: 3 Talking Points | UEFA Champions League 2019-20

Dortmund defeated PSG in the Champions League
Dortmund defeated PSG in the Champions League
Elvis Ume O
ANALYST
Modified 19 Feb 2020
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Borussia Dortmund hosted PSG in the opening Champions League round-of-16 fixture at a packed and atmospheric Signal Iduna Park.

The Germans earned their spot in this round by virtue of their runners-up finish to Barcelona in Group F of the competition, while PSG topped Group A which also contained Real Madrid, Galatasaray, and Club Brugge.

Given the two sides attacking impetus and quality of players on display, the game was expected to provide optimum entertainment but rather disappointingly, there was little goalmouth action in the first half, with the hosts registering the only shot on target

The match, however, sparked into life under eight minutes, with Erling Haaland putting Dortmund ahead in the 69th minute, only for Neymar to level matters in the 75th before Haaland grabbed his brace just two minutes later.

The win puts Dortmund in the driving seat albeit marginally, while the Parisians' would be pleased with their away goal and here, we shall be highlighting three talking points from the fixture.


3. New club, same old Haaland

It seems like aeons ago when Erling Braut Haaland made history as the first person to score nine goals in a single match at a FIFA tournament and his performance at the Under-20 World Cup last summer earned him a move to Salzburg.

With the serial Austrian champions, Haaland sparked to life and announced himself on the continent, outscoring everyone in the group stage apart from Robert Lewandowski and this led to a tug-of-war between Europe's top sides for his signature.

Ultimately, Borussia Dortmund won the race for his signature, signing him for €25m and with each passing week, this price is looking like an extraordinary bargain, with the 19-year-old making history as the first person to score seven goals in his first three Bundesliga matches.

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He once more started as the figurehead of Dortmund's attack and after a quiet first half, he opened the scoring showing great striker's instincts to pounce on a loose ball in the box, while his second was an exquisite beauty, rifling home an unstoppable shot with his left foot from 23 yards.

The brace took Erling Haaland to 10 goals from just seven matches (the fastest player to reach this mark) and with every goal he scores, Manchester United would count the losses of missing out on his services.


2. Neymar makes goalscoring return

Neymar marked his return to fitness with a goal
Neymar marked his return to fitness with a goal

Since making his world record transfer to PSG in the summer of 2017, it is safe to say that the French champions have not gotten value for their money, as despite playing a role in consecutive league triumphs, it is for continental glory that Neymar was signed.

The Brazilian international has not been helped by persistent injury problems and different fitness concerns have seen him ruled out of each of PSG's last two knockout fixtures.

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His latest injury setback came when he suffered a bruised rib at the start of the month which saw him miss four domestic games but Thomas Tuchel was buoyed by the return to full fitness of his talisman and the former Santos man was handed a start against BVB.

The match largely flew past him as Matts Hummels and co. kept him quiet, while he also received a yellow card for a rash tackle in the 59th minute but he levelled matters for the visitors when he converted an excellent centre from Kylian Mbappe.

Neymar is one of the best players in the world and although his side lost, they would fancy their chances of going through in front of their fans if their number 10 can stay fit.


1. Marco Verratti suspension could hurt PSG's chances

Marco Veratti is suspended for the second leg
Marco Veratti is suspended for the second leg

It is no hidden secret that PSG are desperate to get their hands on the Champions League, with their recent failures in the knockout rounds of the competitions rubbing some sheen of their achievements domestically.

Despite losing this fixture, their away goal and home advantage would give them hope of qualifying to the quarterfinal for the first time in three years but their chances have been severely hampered by the suspension of Marco Verratti.

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The Italian international has been nothing short of exceptional since arriving the French capital in the summer of 2012 and in the intervening eight years has become the most decorated player in the club's history.

His calmness in the middle and pristine distribution is an essential part of PSG's game but his unnecessary yellow card in the dying embers of the game would make Thomas Tuchel's job much more difficult.

Published 19 Feb 2020, 05:00 IST
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