Verdict: Total goals over 3.5
Best odds: 11/8
The time has come for the Champions League season to begin, and in one of the matches on the opening day of the campaign, Paris Saint-Germain will be playing host to Borussia Dortmund at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday.
Neither of these teams have been getting the results their supporters expect lately, and this will be a good opportunity for both to try and turn their fortunes around.
The main thing PSG have had their focus on for several months before the start of the season, as well as early on in the Ligue 1 campaign, was the fate of Kylian Mbappe. There was plenty of unpleasantness between the France captain and the French champions in that period as he reportedly made plans to leave next summer to join Real Madrid as a free agent, but at the moment, it seems the situation has cooled. Mbappe has been reintegrated into Luis Enrique’s squad, and he’s been playing like a played possessed.
PSG still managed to lose at home to OGC Nice on Friday, despite Mbappe netting twice, with Terim Moffi also bagging a brace for Nice and Gaetan Laborde scoring one in between to secure all three points for the visitors.
It was the fifth round of the season in Ligue 1, and before that, the defending champions played goalless draw away to Lorient, a 1-1 draw away to Toulouse, beat Lens at home by 3-1, and smashed Olympique in Lyon by 1-4.
These results have PSG in fifth place at the moment, with AS Monaco leading the way, Brest sitting second, Olympique Marseille in third, and Nice sitting just ahead.
While Kylian Mbappe managed to overcome a minor knee issue in time to start against Nice, Manager Luis Enrique is still grappling with a significant number of absentees. This includes Marco Asensio, who will be sidelined for the rest of the month due to a foot injury.
In addition, players like Nordi Mukiele and Nuno Mendes, who have hamstring injuries, are not yet ready to make their return. Presnel Kimpembe continues to experience discomfort in his Achilles tendon, and Fabian Ruiz is uncertain for the upcoming match due to a thigh complaint, having missed the loss to Nice.
Lee Kang-in, who will soon represent South Korea at the Asian Games, remains sidelined due to a muscular concern. Sergio Rico is on a lengthy road to recovery from a severe head injury, and goalkeeper Alexandre Letellier is also unavailable due to a knee issue.
Marquinhos and Manuel Ugarte were not considered for starting roles in the previous match due to their late returns from South America. However, they are expected to replace Danilo Pereira and Carlos Soler in the upcoming match.
Borussia Dortmund are unbeaten in the Bundesliga after four rounds, but they failed to win on two of those occasions and the eight points they’ve amassed is a tally sufficient only to put them in seventh place in the German top flight for the time being.
Edin Terzic’s men first beat Koln at home by 1-0, getting at least some revenge for the game that robbed them of the Bundesliga title on the final matchday of 2022/23. Then they drew 1-1 away to Bochum and most disappointingly, 2-2 at home against newly promoted Heidenheim.
But on Saturday, they returned to winning ways away to SC Freiburg, scoring four goals and conceding two in return, in a game which saw them finish with a numerical advantage on the pitch after Freiburg’s Nicolas Hofler got his marching orders in the 82nd minute. Mats Hummels scored twice, with Donyell Malen and Marco Reus chipping in with a goal apiece, while Lucas Holer netted for the hosts, and Hofler also got on the scoresheet before his eventual dismissal.
Thomas Meunier, who is dealing with a hamstring injury, and Mateu Morey, recovering from a knee problem, are not expected to return until the next month. Additionally, Julien Duranville is still working on regaining match fitness.
On a more positive note, goalkeeper Gregor Kobel and right-back Julian Ryerson both managed to complete the full 90 minutes in the match against Freiburg despite their recent issues. Niclas Fullkrug, despite a tendon issue, came off the bench as well. However, Giovanni Reyna is still contending with a leg injury.
In the event that Ryerson is not considered fit for two consecutive starts in quick succession, Marius Wolf, who provided the assist for Reus’s late goal in the previous match, is a more than capable replacement. Ramy Bensebaini is expected to continue on the opposite flank, despite being substituted at halftime in the last outing.
As has been said, Mbappe is currently on great form and the Dormund defence will have plenty to think about when it comes to stopping his attacking potential. On the other hand, the Bundesliga side are also quite capable of causing pain at the other end of the pitch, and neither defence has proven itself impenetrable this term.
Whatever the outcome, we’re in for a great game of attacking football.
Verdict: Total goals over 3.5
Best odds: 11/8
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