In a high-stakes clash, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) faces Borussia Dortmund in their final Group F Champions League game with more than just survival on the line. The group, initially under intense scrutiny, sees PSG, Newcastle, and AC Milan vying for a spot in the knockout stages alongside already-qualified Dortmund.
A victory for PSG not only secures their qualification but also positions them atop the group, currently sitting second with seven points, three behind Dortmund. PSG coach Luis Enrique emphasizes the need to focus on their own performance, recognizing the complexity of the situation but expressing hope for a smoother path with a win.
While PSG had a strong start with a 2-0 win over Dortmund in the first matchday, subsequent results have been inconsistent, including a 4-1 defeat to Newcastle and a 2-1 loss to Milan. Dortmund, already assured of their place, aims to avoid defeat to secure the top spot and a favorable draw for the next round.
Dortmund defender Mats Hummels highlights the desire to avoid challenging opponents in the round of 16. In the group's other game, Newcastle and Milan, both on five points, must win to keep their qualification hopes alive.
For PSG, a failure to win risks an early exit from the Champions League, a situation the club has not faced since Qatar Sports Investments took over in 2011. PSG's relationship with the Champions League is complex—they covet it above all other titles, yet it remains elusive.
The club's hierarchy may scrutinize coach Luis Enrique if PSG faces an early exit, given the disappointments in recent campaigns. The Champions League has been a source of trauma for PSG, with painful defeats haunting the club, including losses to Barcelona, Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich in the final.
The spotlight is on star player Kylian Mbappe, with rumors linking him to Real Madrid. Another Champions League heartbreak could potentially alter Mbappe's future at PSG. Despite initial contract disputes, Mbappe has been in stellar form this season, and his quest for European glory might intensify.
On a positive note, breakout star Warren Zaire-Emery's return from injury adds depth to PSG's lineup. As PSG's season hangs in the balance, their stars, including Mbappe and Zaire-Emery, must align for a successful progression in the Champions League.