Champions League: a shock of entry for PSG, Manchester City without pressure
Paris Saint-Germain-Borussia Dortmund is the first poster of the group stage of the Champions League which begins this Tuesday, September 19. Defending champions Manchester City will rub their fresh stars against Belgrade's Red one.
Paris' Kylian Mbappe between two Dortmund players. That was more than two years ago, in the knockout stages of the Champions League. AFP - INA FASSBENDER
By: RFI Follow
Defeated at home on Friday by Nice, Paris SG and its new coach Luis Enrique are already under pressure when it comes to launching a delicate group stage against Dortmund, Tuesday (2119h GMT) at the Parc des Princes. As Friday night, when explaining why the PSG he is shaping conceded a strange defeat against OGC Nice (3-2), Luis Enrique displayed his serenity Monday in a press conference. "We didn't start the season extremely well, but every time I arrive (with a team), it's always like that, there is a lot of information, ideas, concepts that players have to assimilate," he said. But he cannot ignore that a crisis quickly arrived in Paris, where victory is still awaited. "If the results are bad I will be fired," Luis Enrique calmly said.
No running-in period
If it is no longer trumpeted by the leaders, the real objective remains Europe for PSG, which takes almost everything on French soil (9 titles of champion of France since the arrival of the Qatari fund QSI in 2011, in particular). Witness the recruitment of Luis Enrique, already winner of the Champions League -- with Barcelona in 2015 --, unlike all his predecessors when they arrived on the Parisian bench, except Carlo Ancelotti (December 2011-June 2013).
But PSG is not entitled to the usual break-in period in the group stage, because it inherited a difficult draw with, in addition to Dortmund, the powerful AC Milan and the new rich Newcastle.
Each match is likely to count towards first place in Group F, which would promise an easier draw in the knockout stages. An elimination from the pools, unthinkable in previous years, is not totally unthinkable this year.
Guardiola: 'We didn't do anything special'
At Manchester City, there is currently less worry. The defending champion has indeed started foot to the floor in the league, with five wins in five games, and approaches the defense of his title of European champion as a great favorite against a former winner (1991 against Olympique de Marseille).
Winning the Champions League for the first time represents "something incredible" for Manchester City, but in the history of the competition, "we have not done anything special," said coach Pep Guardiola on Monday on the eve of the return to the European Cup.
For our club, winning the Champions League is something incredible. But how many teams have won one? A lot. There are many who have won two, three, four, five. In perspective, we didn't do anything special, just one," the Spaniard told a news conference.
For Guardiola, it is necessary to move step by step in the competition, without thinking about the final scheduled at Wembley at the end of the season.
The program of the first day (Time in UT)
Tuesday, September 19, 2023
Lazio - Atlético de Madrid (19pm)
Feyenoord Rotterdam - Celtic Glasgow (19pm)
AC Milan v Newcastle (16:45)
PSG v Borussia Dortmund (19pm)
Young Boys Bern - Leipzig (16:45)
Manchester City - Red Star Belgrade (19pm)
Chaktior Donestk - Porto (19pm)
FC Barcelona - Antwerp (19pm)
Wednesday, September 20, 2023
Galatasaray - Copenhagen (16:45)
Bayern Munich v Manchester United (19pm)
Arsenal v PSV Eindhoven (19pm)
Seville - Lens (19pm)
Real Madrid - Union Berlin (16:45)
Braga - Naples (19pm)
Real Sociedad v Inter Milan (19pm)
Benfica - Salzburg (19pm)
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- UEFA Champions League