Erling Håland is an absolute monster and Borussia Dortmund have defeated Paris Saint-Germaine 2-1 in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match. Håland scored both goals for the hosts, including an absolute howitzer in the 77th minute for the game-winner.
Dortmund started with the exact same XI from the match against Frankfurt, with Bürki in net and a back three of Piszczek-Hummels-Zagadou, with Guerreiro and Hakimi acting as wingbacks, Witsel and Can in the center midfield spots, and an attacking trio of Hazard-Håland-Sancho. PSG countered with a 3-4-3 of their own with Navas in goal, Marquinhos-Kimpembe-Silva in defense, Kurzawa and Meunier as wingbacks, Gueye and Verratti in central midfield, and an attacking trio of Neymar-Mbappé-Di María.
Neymar took the first real chance of the game for either side in the 10th minute following a foul at the top of the box. He sent a curling free kick around the wall, but the ball couldn’t curl enough into the goal and it hit the side-netting. While Dortmund looked the better side in the half, PSG’s defending and goalkeeping definitely saved a goal or two and the teams went into halftime level at 0-0.
Things properly kicked off in the second half when Håland scored a blocked rebound to give Dortmund their (short-lived) lead in the 69th nice minute. Sancho found Hakimi unmarked on the right flank and the young wingback fired a low cross to Rapha in the center of the box. Guerreiro’s shot was blocked by a PSG defender, but the ball popped forward and Håland beat a diving Navas for the score. VAR confirmed that Håland was just onside and the goal stood.
PSG answered right back in the 75th minute as Neyman finished off a pass from Mbappé for the tap-in goal and the incredibly important away goal. Reyna, who was subbed on for Hazard before the opening goal, got beaten badly by Mbappé and as the French superstar was attacking the box with a heavy touch, Zagadou came in and badly missed a clearing tackle. And when I say he missed badly, I mean badly! Mbappé regained possession and when Hummels stepped to cover the space, Neymar made a well-timed run against Piszczek and finished off Mbappé’s pass. It was poor defending across the board for Dortmund, and it looked like all the hard work to get in front would be undone in a span of a minute.
However, out Norweigian destroyer answered right back with an absolute rocket of a goal to pull BVB ahead in the 77th minute. Hummels, who had a great performance today, split the PSG midfield to find Reyna, who made an excellent turn into space and then cut inside away before finding Håland in space. Håland took one touch and fired off a shot that nearly ripped the goal off the damn ground, and Dortmund quickly retook a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
Verratti and Draxler will both miss the second leg in Paris on yellow card accumulation, meaning they will be without their two best players not named Mbappé and Neymar, while Dortmund could see Reus and Brandt return for the second leg. This is great and all, but the second leg will be the away match, and Dortmund has struggled this season away from the Westfalenstadion.
Enjoy tonight, it was an absolutely terrific performance from our beloved Schwarzgelben!