Dortmund Claims Edge over PSG in Champions League Semis

Photo of Mbappe regretting PSG loss to Dortmund 1-0.

Edin Terzic, the manager of Borussia Dortmund, warned his team that securing a place in the Champions League final remains a significant challenge, despite their 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of the semi-final on Wednesday.

Niclas Fullkrug‘s goal secured Dortmund’s victory as they demonstrated resilience and determination against their more favored opponents in front of a crowd of over 80,000. Fullkrug, making his Champions League debut at the age of 31, scored in the 36th minute after receiving a well-placed pass from centre-back Nico Schlotterbeck.

Despite PSG, led by Kylian Mbappe, hitting the post twice in quick succession early in the second half, they couldn’t find an equalizer. Terzic stated, “We played well and earned a narrow but deserved win. We’ve gained a slight advantage for the return leg. However, our task next week will be tougher if they dominate. Today, we had to withstand their pressure from the 45th to the 60th minute.”

For Dortmund, who previously faced a loss and a draw against PSG in the group stage, the possibility of returning to Wembley is still alive, 11 years after their last Champions League final appearance. Despite this setback, PSG is confident they can overturn the deficit at home next week against a side they convincingly defeated at their home venue in September.

PSG manager Luis Enrique commented, “We saw a closely fought match between two teams known for possession-based football. Both sides created numerous scoring opportunities. This time, our opponents capitalized on theirs, while we didn’t. The result accurately reflects the intensity of the game.”

“In the past two rounds, they played their second match at home, while for us, it was the opposite. Now, the situation is different; we’ll have the home crowd behind us in the second leg. “I would have preferred if we could have capitalized on the chances we created, but effectiveness in scoring is crucial. We’ll see what kind of performance we deliver in Paris.”

Terzic highlighted before the match that PSG has been “engineered to win the Champions League” since the Qatari takeover a decade ago, emphasizing the stark contrast between the two clubs, particularly evident in their strikers.

PSG’s Mbappe, potentially in his final season with his hometown club, is recognized as one of the top stars in global football, while Dortmund’s Fullkrug was playing in the second division just two years ago. Fueled by a passionate home crowd that voiced their dissatisfaction with every Mbappe touch, Dortmund dominated the early phases of the game.

Jadon Sancho, currently on loan from Manchester United following a falling out with manager Erik ten Hag, displayed brilliance on the right flank throughout the match.The breakthrough came in the 36th minute through a classic display of forward play from Fuellkrug.

Schlotterbeck had possession deep in his own half and considered a safe pass back to the goalkeeper but opted for a long ball forward, with only Fullkrug anticipating the move. The striker expertly controlled the pass with one touch before driving a low shot past the helpless Gigi Donnarumma.

Despite their wealth of attacking talent, PSG struggled to carve out clear opportunities in the first half, failing to register a single shot on target. However, the visitors sprang to life after halftime, with Mbappe hitting the inside of one post moments before former Dortmund wing-back Achraf Hakimi struck the inside of the other.

PSG had a prime opportunity to equalize in the 56th minute when Marquinhos delivered an exquisite pass through a crowded Dortmund box, but Fabian Ruiz’s diving header missed the target. With just 10 minutes left on the clock, Ousmane Dembele, another former Dortmund player, failed to find the target with a shot from close range.

Despite Sancho’s impressive display, which included a superb pass to Julian Brandt in the dying moments, Dortmund’s hopes of adding a second goal were dashed by PSG’s resilient defense.

The victory, combined with Tuesday’s 2-2 draw between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid in the other semi-final, guarantees an additional Champions League spot for Germany next season, rather than England or France. This assurance has already confirmed Dortmund’s participation in the competition for the next season.

“We delivered a solid team performance, demonstrating our cohesion. It was a truly high-quality match, showcasing our maturity,” commented Dortmund defender Mats Hummels. “Furthermore, we’re delighted to have secured Champions League qualification once again. Our strong performance in the Champions League has made up for our disappointing Bundesliga season.”


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