Paris Saint-Germain set out to crush Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League hopes after raging at the German team’s social media response to winning the first leg, Presnel Kimpembe revealed.
A 2-1 success in Germany gave Dortmund a slender advantage before Wednesday’s second 90 minutes in Paris, where goals from Neymar and Juan Bernat gave PSG a 2-0 win and 3-2 aggregate triumph.
French defender Kimpembe said PSG sensed a lack of good grace in how Dortmund celebrated their February 18 victory, in which Erling Haaland scored twice.
“They are great players, but I’m going to say it – they lost their humility,” Kimpembe told reporters.
“Because, after they won at home, they did a lot of tweets, a lot of Instagram [posts], a lot of words, a lot of this and that. Whether it’s their sports director, the players, or the club’s official Instagram account, we all saw it. We kept that in our mind, and I think it all gave us a good boost.
“It gave us this little rage. And it worked to our advantage.”
On to the @ChampionsLeague quarterfinals!
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) March 11, 2020
Kimpembe said the home players were thrilled to see thousands of supporters flock to the Parc des Princes after coronavirus restrictions meant the second leg was played behind closed doors.
The gathering of PSG fans outside the stadium came despite concerns about large gatherings and the potential for the virus to spread with close contact.
Yet PSG’s players did not appear to mind their presence and said seeing fans already at the stadium before kick-off put the team in a positive mindset.
“At this moment, whether the staff or the players, we all realised that we were going to play a crazy game,” Kimpembe said. “And [we knew] that we had to give our lives because the fans were on the hook, they were behind us, despite the lockdown.”
The PSG players later celebrated by appearing on a balcony at the stadium and sharing their exuberance with the fans below, as flares were set off.
Playmaker Angel Di Maria was pictured standing bare-chested on the balcony wall.
“We felt their presence before coming to the stadium,” Kimpembe said. “It lasted five, six minutes, we all got our phones to film that. It’s a moment that will be etched in our hearts and in our memories.
“We want to say thank you to them, because it was important for us, and it was also important for them. Especially for them.
“Today, we are qualified, and this qualification is also for them, because they pushed us all through the game, even if they were outside of the Parc des Princes.
“We all finished tired, but knowing that we could have this little moment with our fans, we were very excited.
“We all ran to go and see them, and we were very happy. It warms our hearts to see an atmosphere like that, full of feeling, people screaming, and we can only thank them.”
PSG reached the quarter-finals for the first time since 2016, when they lost at that stage to Manchester City.
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