Jadon Sancho (c.) and Erling Haaland (r.) will be key to Borussia Dortmund's chances pipping PSG to a UEFA Champions League quarter-final place. - © INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images
Jadon Sancho (c.) and Erling Haaland (r.) will be key to Borussia Dortmund's chances pipping PSG to a UEFA Champions League quarter-final place. - © INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images

Five reasons Borussia Dortmund will beat Paris Saint-Germain AGAIN in the UEFA Champions League last 16


Erling Haaland's stunning first-leg double has given Borussia Dortmund the edge 90 minutes into their UEFA Champions League last 16 tie with Paris Saint-Germain.

After BVB's stunning first-leg victory, bundesliga.com gives you five reasons why the Bundesliga title-challengers will clinch a quarter-final place at the French champions' expense in the second leg on Wednesday 11 March.

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1) Haaland > Mbappe

What is there to say about Erling Haaland that hasn't been said already, even despite his short time in the European spotlight?

The Norway international has exhausted every possible positive since joining Dortmund from RB Salzburg in January. And, come to think of it, even before then.

Watch: Erling Haaland has got his Bundesliga career off to a KA-BOOM!

You had better sit down and strap in now, because these stats might just blow you away otherwise. Kylian Mbappe has found the net once every 91 competitive minutes this season, and every 84 minutes in the Champions League. Not bad, eh? No, not bad, but not out-of-this-world obscene like Haaland, who has scored every 49 minutes in all competitions this season, and every 46 - breathe, breathe - in the Champions League.

Only Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski can match Haaland's Champions League tally of 10 this season; Mbappe has 'only' five, and is in his third season in European club football's elite competition, while Haaland — who has 39 goals in 29 competitive club appearances in 2019/20 — is only in his first. Not that you'd think that.

"It's crazy," Axel Witsel told bundesliga.com after watching Haaland smash, bang, wallop his way to a hat-trick on his Bundesliga debut against Augsburg on Matchday 18. "To come on in the first game and score three goals, that hasn't happened since [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang. We needed a stronger striker, and the club did really good on this one. We're all happy he's here."

"I asked him how he did it and he just told me, 'I don't know, I had the feeling!'," laughed Witsel. "For his age he's really strong. He's tall, he's big, he has a lot of quality. He can keep the ball. For a big guy he's quite technical and in front of goal he's a killer. I hope he'll keep scoring like this for the next game."

And Haaland is - like his fellow 19-year-old Jadon Sancho - younger than the 21-year-old Mbappe...

2) Even Neymar is a Sancho fan

Mbappe, global prodigy at just 21, potential Ballon d'Or winner…sure, but Jadon Sancho has nothing to envy the Paris Saint-Germain youngster, who was outshone by the Dortmund talent in the first leg.

The England international may not have the FIFA World Cup winner's medal Mbappe can boast, but there is every reason he should continue to get as many headlines across Europe as his French opponent.

Borussia Dortmund have been entertaining to watch once again this season. - 2020 DFL

Up to Matchday 22, the 19-year-old had been involved in a goal every one-and-a-half Bundesliga games for Dortmund, and became the first teenager to reach 25 goals in the German top flight with his strike in the 5-0 rout of Union Berlin.

Sancho was named the most effective player in Europe's top five leagues - that's France included - in a recent study by the CIES Football Observatory research group. PSG's Marco Verratti was the only PSG player to feature in the top 10.

And you want to talk about overall impact on a game? Sancho has assisted and scored in nine Bundesliga matches; Mbappe has done it four times in Ligue 1, the same number Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi between them have achieved the feat in 2019/20. Sancho has 13 league assists already, just one shy of his league-leading tally from 2018/19.

"Borussia have players that can make the difference. Jadon is a player that I really like to watch play and he is a great player with plenty of quality," Neymar said of Sancho.

"Dortmund is a team with plenty of quality players. They have a special player, who is new but who is very good, whose name is Sancho."

3) The psychological edge

The 2-1 scoreline gives Dortmund a slight advantage halfway into the tie, and previous European encounters suggest they have a little over a 50 per cent chance of progressing. But the result at the Signal Iduna Park did not reflect the hosts' domination of the game.

But for PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas, they would have opened the scoring much earlier, and though the visitors came on stronger in the closing stages, Thomas Tuchel's comment that they "played with too much fear" was spot on.

Erling Haaland has been an instant hit at Borussia Dortmund since his January move from RB Salzburg. - Lukas Schulze/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images

Having failed to reach the last eight in the last three seasons  — in two of which they held a first-leg advantage — PSG's concerns will be ramped up still further as they have won just one of their six most recent knockout games in the competition.

Dortmund have avoided defeat — and won three — of their ten away trips to French clubs, including a 2-0 win in Monaco thanks to a Raphael Guerreiro double in last season's group stage. They also secured a goalless draw — which would take them through — on their last trip to the French capital in the 2010/11 competition.

Dortmund's home could only be more of a fortress if it had ramparts patrolled by spear-wielding guards as the hosts come into Tuesday's first-leg tie unbeaten on home turf since April 2019. Group stage triumphs over Inter Milan and Slavia Prague, while Barcelona - Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Luis Suarez & Co. - only came away with a goalless draw.

And but for ex-Favre prodigy Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the visitors' goal, saving a Marco Reus penalty and another great opportunity for his ex-Borussia Mönchengladbach teammate, BVB would have had a 100 per cent home record.

5) Favre too good for Tuchel

Tuchel is well known to Dortmund fans following his two-year tenure between 2015 and 2017, and he is also familiar to Favre, who has won five and lost three of their previous nine duels across the dugout.

Tuchel finished second to Bayern in his first season in charge, but was ten points behind the champions; Favre pushed the Bavarian giants to within an inch of losing their crown last season, falling just two points short come full time on Matchday 34.

Favre also outdid Tuchel as the Swiss tactician went 15 games unbeaten to start his reign - the first BVB coach ever to do that - while his points average also outweighs that of any of his predecessors, Jürgen Klopp, Ottmar Hitzfeld and Tuchel included.

Lucien Favre (c.) has done better than either Jürgen Klopp (l.) or Thomas Tuchel (r.) in charge of Dortmund. - Getty Images

During his spell in charge of Nice, Favre lost twice in four games against PSG, but did overcome the French capital club with a 3-1 win in April 2017.

That was achieved in the 4-2-3-1 formation he is likely to employ against PSG this time round too, and there is no doubt BVB's XI is far stronger than that Favre had at Nice three years ago, particularly following the arrival of Emre Can and Haaland during the winter transfer window.

"I have faith in BVB in the Rückrunde," said Klopp, now the manager of European and world champions Liverpool, "now that they have also added Can and Haaland."