Paris Saint-Germain vs Borussia Dortmund: 3 things to watch out for | UEFA Champions League 2019-20
- PSG have another uphill battle against a vibrant Dortmund side
Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) host Borussia Dortmund (BVB) at the Le Parc des Princes behind closed doors tonight in a make-or-break tie.
The current French champions currently trail by a goal after losing 2-1 away at the Signal Iduna Park in the first leg, and run the risk of exiting the competition in the last 16 for the fourth successive year - an outcome that could also see their coach Thomas Tuchel get the axe. The absence of crowd support isn't going to help their cause either, as the Parisians will have it all to do themselves against a young and vibrant Dortmund side.
Here are 3 things to watch in the crunch clash that promises to thrill and entertain.
#1 How sorely will PSG miss Kylian Mbappé ?
On the bright side, Kylian Mbappé has tested negative for coronavirus after he had reportedly caught flu, thus allaying all the fears of him contracting the fast spreading disease. However, much to PSG's dismay, he may have to sit out of the return leg and it will be a huge setback for the hosts.
The 21-year old helped set up Neymar in grabbing a crucial away goal in the defeat at Signal Iduna Park, and also scored an impeccable hat-trick in the French Cup semi-finals recently. His importance to the side cannot be overstated. Mbappé is PSG's key to unlock defences with his electric pace and with his ability to get behind the bloc and lay off passes. Without him in the mix, PSG have their job cut out.
#2 Will Borussia Dortmund's chequered record on the road haunt them?
As menacing as they have been this season, Borussia Dortmund have also been notoriously fragile at the back, especially in games away from home. Of the 33 goals conceded in the league, 23 have come on the road, which is roughly 70% of what they have leaked. Now that's alarming, considering the propensity to concede in away games has denied them victory on seven out of 13 occasions in the league.
And mind you, BVB have also conceded in each of the three away group matches in this competition, losing twice. This 'away-game syndrome' can seriously come to bite Lucien Favre's side, especially at Parc des Princes where PSG have scored a litany of goals over the season. The 2-1 lead they hold coming into Paris is slim, but almost negligible given their disastrous record on the road.
#3 Will PSG prefer to start Mauro Icardi over Edinson Cavani?
Make no mistake, Edinson Cavani is a club legend. He also became the first player in PSG's history to hit 200 goals after his strike against Bordeaux last month. But ever since Icardi (on loan from Inter Milan) was added to the roster, the Uruguayan has been running short of game time while the Argentine has made an immediate impact. He has struck five times in the Champions League in six group games, and can pose a serious threat to Dortmund.
Icardi demonstrated his finishing skills in a recent match against Dijon FCO where he scored after being on the pitch for only 19 minutes, whereas El Matador (Cavani) missed a pair of wonderful chances. He has shown tendencies to disappear in big games like this in the past, when PSG needed his goals the most. Icardi on the other hand, has established a reputation as a big game player at Inter, and could be given the go-ahead in this crucial tie.