DORTMUND head to PSG on Wednesday night as the Last 16 of the Champions League concludes. We asked Jack Lambden (@_JackL_) to analyses the odds and share his best bets.
PSG v Dortmund | Wednesday 11th March 2020, 20:00 | BT Sport
With this tie finely poised, it’s such a shame that the second match-up in Paris becomes yet another game to be played behind closed doors and be robbed of a good atmosphere with the Coronavirus outbreak taking hold across Europe.
PSG will undoubtably be most frustrated at that development as it limits any form of home advantage which sometimes gives teams the edge in the second leg. Although they fell to defeat in Dortmund, they managed to claim an away goal which could yet prove vital in deciding who progresses to the quarter-finals.
Of course, the Parisians have found the knockout stages of the Champions League a touch nut to crack in recent seasons as their star names have struggled to come together as a collective to overcome their own vulnerabilities.
Despite the lack of atmosphere that will be in the stadium, this game should still be a good one to watch if the first leg is anything to go buy. Both managers, Thomas Tuchel and Lucian Favre, instruct their sides to play with a high press and high intensity which leads to plenty of chances and goal-filled games.
They both have an abundance of attacking talent at their disposal with Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland amongst the best players in the world currently in their respective positions so it will be interesting to see how each different personality reacts to playing without a crowd in the stadium.
I backed Dortmund in the reverse leg and to be honest, I saw little in that game which convinced me that PSG are going to do much at all in this competition yet again. With the French title seemingly wrapped up already, the lack of success in the Champions League could spell the end of Tuchel’s time in France with European glory so high up the Qatari owner’s agenda.
Although PSG are tougher to break down than previous iterations of this team, they still seem brittle when tested and although you would not rule out them grabbing a goal or two of their own here, they’re just as likely in my view to concede on the break if Dortmund line-up with plenty of speed at the top end of the pitch.
With only one clean sheet in their last eight games in all competitions, I’d be confident of the Red and Blues conceding again against the most potent attack they’ve faced all season however, Both Teams To sSore odds are unsurprisingly at a short 2/5 with many bookies and that’s a similar case with a fair few of the markets I’m looking to back.
Breaking this bet down, I think I have covered most of the background on the goals front but to add to this, both these sides average the most goals per-game (3.67 and 4.04) in Ligue 1 and Bundesliga respectively.
On the free-kicks front, English referee Anthony Taylor takes charge of this game and he’s never hesitant in blowing his whistle and getting majorly involved in a game. Taylor has taken charge of four Champions League encounters this season, averaging over 28 fouls per match on average including 29 in both games he’s officiated PSG and Dortmund in 2019/20.
In fact, with offsides counting towards the free-kick totals, this number rose to 33 and 32 each time. PSG will attempt to get the ball to Neymar as much as they can and if they have more possession of the ball here than they did at Signal Iduna Park, the Dortmund foul count could rise in desperation to keep their opponents out.
In relation to corners, PSG are going to stretch the play to find a way through the yellow wall and that should force corners if they manage to get in behind Dortmund’s 3-4-3 set-up with the width of the aforementioned Neymar and Angel Di Maria on the right flank.
Neymar will be taking on Morocco international Achraf Hakimi and in leg one, the right wing-back successfully won four tackles. His tackle stats per-game increase from 1.8 in the Bundesliga to 2.3 in the Champions League which is likely testament to the increased defensive duties he needs to undertake against better opposition in Europe’s elite competition.
Neymar, as long as he stays on his feet, is no doubt a terrific player and if he attacks the Dortmund backline with his pace and trickery, Hakimi is likely going to have to commit to try and rob the ball from the Brazilian. Therefore, I like the 21/20 price with Coral on Hakimi to win 3+ tackles in the match as my second and final bet.