PSG will face Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday evening as part of the first leg of the knockout stages of the Champions League. Although the Parisians are better than the Germans on paper, their previous failures may be a drag on their opponents. For Virginie Phulpin, it will be essential to play as much with the head as with the legs.
Paris Saint-Germain play Dortmund tonight in the knockout stages of the Champions League. For Virginie Phulpin, Parisians have everything to win, the only uncertainty remains the mind.
PSG is better than Borussia Dortmund, there is no doubt about it. If you were a magician and you could exchange a Paris player for a Dortmund player, what would you do? Well, you wouldn't trade anyone! You can take each position, from attackers to goalkeeper, the best at each place on the field is a Parisian. We make tons of them on Borussia's prodigal striker Erling Haaland, who is impressive at 19. But frankly, is he better than Kylian Mbappé or Neymar? Of course not. And if you look at the German defense, it is very often open day. So it's true that PSG has just conceded four goals to Amiens. But it's not really a habit, and neither was it the team that will play tonight. So if we coldly analyze the quality of the players and the stats, Paris is far superior to its opponent. In addition, on the substitutes' bench, it's the same. There is slightly more depth in Paris than in Dortmund. This Tuesday evening, in attack, if Sarabia comes out, he can be replaced by Cavani or Icardi. There is something to have a little fun.
Is Paris therefore the undisputed favorite of this round of 16?
It must not be said that PSG is favorite! Whether supporters or observers, everyone remains almost ridiculously cautious, because there are too many bad memories of recent years flocking. We therefore prefer to say that no, Borussia is a very dangerous opponent. Let us pass all the clichés on the well established team and the group which lives well. It has become a superstition, if we say that Parisians are favorites, they will lose. In the minds of players, it's a real complex too, this eighth finals. Even those who arrived only a few months ago know the history of the club. It looks like there is a blockage and it can make PSG feverish if the players do not manage to overcome this fear of repeated failure. For Virginie Phulpin, the only real danger of this meeting is in the heads, not in the legs. A Champions League match is won psychologically first. This management of nervousness and ghosts of the past is the only question mark in this PSG team.
It's only a round of 16 and as the sporting director, Leonardo would say, it's just a football match. Virginie Phulpin's message is "pretend you're playing at recess, with sweaters amassed to symbolize goals. Play soccer, without thinking about the past or the future, and at the end there will be qualification. And that may look like a release. "