three reasons for hope for PSG before the semi-final return against Borussia Dortmund

And off we go again. As against FC Barcelona in the quarter-finals, Paris Saint-Germain is in an unfavorable position before its return match against Borussia Dortmund next Tuesday. To experience a second Champions League final, the Parisians will have no other choice than to win at the Parc des Princes. They have a goal to overcome, a delay which could be enough to eliminate them, but which can be quickly filled.

“The locker room is a little affected because we hit both posts in the same action”, admitted Luis Enrique directly, at the microphone of Canal+. But his speech followed in the footsteps of the one he gave between the two shocks against Barça. “We have nothing left to lose. We are going to get this result”he assured a few minutes later at a press conference.

He will be able to count on the support of the Parc des Princes

For the first time since the 2021 quarter-final against Bayern Munich – which saw PSG qualify – the capital club has the chance to host for the return match. This is a significant advantage.

Since the abolition of the rule separating two teams tied by the number of away goals scored, during the 2021-2022 season, 58% of teams in this situation in the final phase of the Champions League (beaten by a goal away gap in the first leg) ended up qualifying (7/12).

“At home, with our supporters, it’s going to be a different scenario”, noted Captain Marquinhos at the microphone of Canal+. The celebration will be even stronger as the public at the Park will experience its first C1 semi-final in 29 years and the elimination against AC Milan in 1995.

In 2020, Leipzig was outclassed on neutral ground, in Lisbon, during the famous Final 8. In 2021, Manchester City was hosted behind closed doors. “The 3,800 Parisian supporters never stopped singing this evening, and there will be almost 50,000 on Tuesday”Luis Enrique already projects himself, calm despite the defeat.

He now knows how to turn a situation around

Over the first 12 years under the Qatari flag, PSG was stuck in the Champions League. Each time he lost the first leg, he ended up walking out the door, with the exception of the round of 16 of the 2019-2020 edition against… Dortmund (1-2 then 2-0). Since the arrival of Luis Enrique, the tide has turned, and in the right direction.

Through measured communication, determined to deflate the obsession with the C1 to annihilate this pressure which has played many bad tricks on PSG, the Spaniard put the team back on the rails of rationality.

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Kylian Mbappé muzzled by Mats Hummels and Nico Schlotterbeck during the Champions League semi-final first leg between Dortmund and PSG, May 1, 2024. (FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

Kylian Mbappé muzzled by Mats Hummels and Nico Schlotterbeck during the Champions League semi-final first leg between Dortmund and PSG, May 1, 2024. (FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

At press conferences, he keeps repeating that nothing is ever a foregone conclusion. Sometimes, he even predicts that his team will concede at least one goal, making it clear that nothing is dramatic. The speech was well received by his players.

Barely a few minutes after the defeat, Marquinhos preferred to project himself rather than languish in frustration: “1-0 we already did it, we showed that we were capable of doing it”. And then, Kylian Mbappé is not the type to let two rounds of the C1 knockout phase pass without being the protagonist, at least at one point.

It can only be more realistic regarding the goal

Two posts and many other wasted opportunities… Paris Saint-Germain clearly lacked efficiency in Dortmund. If we are to believe the Expected Goals, this statistic which calculates the number of goals that the two teams should have scored by measuring the dangerousness of their shots, the capital club was more dangerous than the BvB https://twitter.com/xGPhilosophyEU/status/1785775718896419060. The ball didn’t want to cross the goal line.

“If I had been told that we would have had so many chances, I would have signed straight away. The difference is that the opponent scoredanalyzed Luis Enrique synthetically. To obtain another result, we must be more efficient.“The speech is the same as after the first leg defeat against Barcelona (2-3): “the game was balanced” and everything depends on “details”.

As the architect of the “remontadas”, that of 2017 and that of 2024, he can afford to be optimistic. For Achraf Hakimi, it is not just a question of hope, it is even certain: “The chances we had, in the return match, they will come in”.

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