There’s a lot of buildup to things in football and phrases like “crunch game”, and “final frontier”, are thrown about with utter casualness.
However, in this season’s UEFA Champions League, the “Group of Death” with Paris Saint-Germain, Newcastle, AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund has lived up to its billing and then some.
Moving into the last matchday, remarkably, only Dortmund, the team that was arguably fancied by the least number of people, are through.
They host PSG on the final matchday, a result of which would be as important to Newcastle and Milan as it would be for PSG, who control their destiny.
Here’s the match preview, buildup, team news, and more as the Group of Death reaches its crescendo after five thrilling matchdays!
Dortmund vs PSG preview
PSG are on seven points, Dortmund are on 10, while Newcastle and Milan sit at five each. Therefore, the picture for PSG is clear. If they win, they’re through, if they lose, they need to hope the other game is a draw, and if they draw, and the other game isn’t a draw, then a whole lot of head-to-head permutations begin.
Fortunately for PSG, their weekend exertions were far less stressful than their opponents, who were in a scrap in the Bundesliga.
PSG brushed aside FC Nantes in the league with Luis Enrique rotating his side heavily to keep his superstars fresh for Germany.
On the other hand, Dortmund, for whom this game is of low importance anyways, were involved in an intense 3-2 home loss against Leipzig which saw Mats Hummels get sent off.
Also read: What does Dortmund’s motto “Echte Liebe” mean?
Therefore, PSG will fancy their chances of going through to the next round by winning at Signal Iduna Park if they just turn it on and play up to their potential.
Dortmund vs PSG predicted lineups
Dortmund team news
Dortmund’s injury list is long in both, the number of absentees and the length of their absences. Marius Wolf, Julian Ryerson, Marcel Sabitzer, Youssuka Moukoko, Sebastien Haller, Felix Nmecha, and Duranville are all out till late December/January at the very least.
In their absence, Dortmund have completely fallen away in the league, winning just one of their last five and stuck in 5th position, out of UCL spots.
Karim Adeyemi might come into the team from the squad that played against Leipzig, with Jamie Bynoe-Gittens making way. Niklas Sule should also play in place of Schlotterbeck if Edin Terzic wants to keep the later fresh for league action with Hummels suspended.
Predicted Dortmund XI: Kobel, Meunier, Sule, Hummels, Bensebaini, Can, Ozcan, Reus, Brandt, Adeyemi, Fullkrug
PSG team news
The injury list for Le Parisiens is far shorter, with only Fabian, Keylor Navas, and Nuno Mendes being absent. Youngster Arnau Tenas has done extremely well in the absence of senior goalkeepers but Gianluigi Donnarumma’s suspension is in the league only so he will play this game.
The likes of Ousmane Dembele, Randal Kolo Muani, and Milan Skriniar were rested on the weekend and the trio is expected to be back for this game.
Kylian Mbappe will remain the talisman of this side and Bradley Barcola will have to drop back to the bench after a goalscoring effort against Nantes.
Predicted PSG XI: Donnarumma, Hakimi, Marquinhos, Skriniar, Fernandez, Ugarte, Soler, Vitinha, Dembele, Muani, Mbappe
Dortmund vs PSG prediction
A team suffering from injury troubles, coming off an exhausting game in the weekend as they fight for their league position, plus, they have nothing to play for.
That’s the story of Dortmund while the exact opposite of this is PSG’s story. Motivation and desire go a long way in football and for this game, the French side will have plenty of it, along with having a better lineup on paper too.
It is hard to look past PSG for this one. Expect them to weather a fast start by a Dortmund side driven by Signal Iduna Park before taking control of the game. A win and progression to the knockout stages should follow.
FootTheBall predicts Dortmund 0-2 PSG.