Good morning Fear the Wall!
As great as league competitions are, nothing beats the Champions League. The knockout stage began with a bang yesterday, with Mauricio Pochettino’s Paris Saint Germain blowing out Barcelona at the Camp Nou 4-1, led by a hat trick from Kylian Mbappé. Here’s his third goal, a curled effort that finished off a pitch-wide run and setup by Julian Draxler:
KYLIAN MBAPPE IS MAKING CAMP NOU HIS PLAYGROUND. pic.twitter.com/sKHS0NXcim— Champions League on CBS Sports (@UCLonCBSSports) February 16, 2021
Mbappé is getting all the credit, but in reality yesterday’s match was a total team demolition by PSG. They were better organized and more aggressive both on and off the ball, and Barcelona really never seemed to have any strategy other than to give the ball to Messi and try to have him create goals out of nothing.
Barcelona have been a mess in the Champions League over the last few seasons, and this is just the latest episode in the club’s precipitous decline. It also cemented Mbappé’s status as one of, if not the best, players in the world. With a coach in Pochettino who has actual tactical acumen and knows how to get the best out of his players, PSG might be very good for a long time.
RB Leipzig Fall to Liverpool
While PSG were busy dismantling a dynasty, RB Leipzig and Liverpool met in Budapest. From what I’ve read about the game, Leipzig actually played fairly well, but fell victim to two colossal mistakes: one from Marcel Sabitzer, and this one from Nordi Mukiele, who pulled what you might call a “Steven Gerrard”:
53' — Mo Salah— Champions League on CBS Sports (@UCLonCBSSports) February 16, 2021
58' — Sadio Mane
Liverpool are cooking. pic.twitter.com/pDX3nEywHg
With this defeat, Leipzig have put themselves in a pretty deep hole. They will now have to go to Anfield and score at least three goals without conceding, a tough ask against a team as clinical as Liverpool.
Borussia Dortmund Team News
Ruhr Nachrichten have reported that Thomas Meunier, who has missed the month or so with a knee injury, travelled with the squad to Sevilla, indicating he may be healthy enough to start for BVB. Thorgan Hazard, who returned to training last week, did not travel with the squad, meaning he will not feature for BVB. In his place, Steffen Tigges, who scored a brace with the BVB U-23s last weekend, has returned to the senior squad.
Meanwhile, Thomas Delaney stayed in Dortmund, as his wife gave birth to the couple’s first child. In their announcement yesterday, BVB announced that Delaney would travel to Seville as soon as possible, so it’s unclear whether he will make the squad tomorrow.
The Daily Buzz
Is Mbappé the best player in the world right now?