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Champions League Preview: Borussia Dortmund Face Struggling Paris Saint-Germain


The Champions League is upon us! The most prestigious tournament in club football begins tomorrow night, offering its participants the chance to become engraved in footballing lore under the lights of Europe’s greatest cities. For Borussia Dortmund, the group stage begins with a visit to the Parc des Princes in Paris against Paris Saint-Germain. In a group that is widely considered to be this year’s group of death, every single point will come at a massive premium, so BVB can’t afford to get off to a bad start.

There is a shred of good news. Normally, Paris Saint-Germain would be considered one of the toughest possible opponents in the entire Champions League, but this year, the perennial French juggernauts have had an unusually temperate start to the season, with a 2-2-1 record in Ligue 1 thus far. This poor start has only fanned the flames for PSG, one of the few teams with a more turbulent transfer window than Borussia Dortmund. In addition to Luis Enrique’s arrival and the constant will-he-or-won’t-he rumors about Kylian Mbappé’s potential departure, longtime PSG star Neymar has departed the club for Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia. Reinforcements arrived in the form of Randal Kolo Muani of Eintracht Frankfurt fame, and BVB alum Ousmane Dembélé, who has joined PSG from Barcelona. The latter has already received significant criticism from the French press for his poor form.

Unfortunately, BVB’s form is hardly better. Although Edin Terzic’s men did at least take three points from Freiburg on Saturday, the performance itself was hardly convincing, with a pair of late defensive breakdowns in the first half, and a late red card for Freiburg giving BVB the opportunity to snatch a slapstick winner. We have not yet seen a strong performance from BVB, but what better time is there than in the Champions League against PSG?

Predicted Lineup

Unfortunately, due to injuries and a lack of transfer activity this summer, Edin Terzic doesn’t have many options for change from the lineups he’s been fielding so far this season.

With Karim Adeyemi in poor form, I saw some folks predicting that Edin Terzic would play Youssoufa Moukoko on the wing. While I’m sure I could be wrong, I think the fact that Terzic has barely played him in his preferred position at striker would indicate he’s unlikely to play him on the wing. Niclas Füllkrug played pretty well on Saturday, while Sébastien Haller has struggled, so I wouldn’t mind him getting the start up top. Although both Jamie Bynoe-Gittens and Gio Reyna will be in the squad, I’m going to assume that both players are each going to be injured for eternity and that none of them will ever play a game of football again.

In midfield, the only real potential for change would be for Terzic to swap Felix Nmecha out for either Marcel Sabitzer or Julian Brandt. I haven’t been too impressed with Nmecha so far, so I hope this does not take place.

On defense, with another brilliant performance from Hummels on Saturday, I wouldn’t be surprised if veterans Hummels got the start again.

Score Prediction

As much as I’d like to think that PSG’s poor form will outweigh BVB’s poor form, I’m really, really, really not enthusiastic about Marius Wolf and/or Julian Ryerson defending Kylian Mbappé. I unfortunately predict a 3-1 defeat.