The UEFA Champions League never fails to amaze fans. After what was an entertaining group stage round, the draws only built up the excitement. The much-hyped draws are always looking to play a part in raising the levels. And they were pretty successful, as the fans were treated to a wonderful bunch of fixtures for the Round of 16. The same happened for the Europa League and the Round of 32 of the competition.
The two bigger English clubs got rather favourable draws in the Europa League. Manchester United will face Belgian side Club Brugge. Arsenal will lock horns with rather familiar foes in Olympiacos, who did play in North London in the Champions League early on in the campaign. Despite it not being Europe’s premier competition, Manchester United tickets and Arsenal tickets seem to be filling up fast.
A lot in European competition is often about the experience. More often than not, it is the more experienced sides that are likely to progress. There certainly are exceptions and those have been seen in recent years. But the sides who have been playing in the Champions League or Europa League longer go farther than newer ones.
On paper, last season would seem like an exception. But the current Liverpool team has been playing in the Champions League for three years now. The same went for Tottenham, who had been playing in the Champions League for just as many years under Mauricio Pochettino.
That tells a lot about which fixtures in the Round of 16 would give fans the best of matches. In that sense, the tie involving Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund presents an interesting spectacle.
With the first leg’s ticket prices currently at £93, it makes for even better prospect for fans. A game involving two big clubs would have a comparatively lower ticket price. That is a huge positive for fans. Compare football tickets here and find out the best rates.
Thomas Tuchel returns to his old hunting ground, while Abdou Diallo goes back to his former club. But in a game full of these subplots, their lack of experience can be a huge role in making it a very enticing tie. Paris Saint-Germain haven’t gone beyond the quarter-finals of the competition since their takeover. Borussia Dortmund too, haven’t gone too far ever since they made it to the final under Jurgen Klopp in the 2012-13 season.
Dortmund took a hammering at the hands of Spurs in the Round of 16 last season. While PSG’s lack of mental resolve saw them get knocked out at the hands of Manchester United.
Like PSG, Dortmund have also never been a defensively sound unit. In the Bundesliga this season, BVB have let in 22 goals and that is as many as newly-promoted Hertha Berlin. That has been a constant criticism of theirs as they sometimes fail to close out games properly.
The recent game against RB Leipzig was a reflection of that too. Dortmund let in three very cheap goals, with the first two coming in a very strange way. They gave the ball away cheaply, allowing Timo Werner to grab a brace.
Some recent draws against the likes of Paderborn, Freiburg, Werder Bremen and Eintracht Frankfurt had put Lucien Favre under pressure. The 4-0 loss to Bayern Munich wasn’t of any help at all either.
As for PSG, they have let in a total of 11 goals in the domestic and European competition together. But that has always been the case for them. Getting past the group stages has never been an issue. But it is when the knockout stages come about that they start to fail in managing games.
More than that, both sides can be very free-flowing attacking units on their day. PSG were the second-highest scorers in the Champions League this season. While Dortmund have scored 40 times in the Bundesliga- the third-highest in the Bundesliga. They have found the back of the net 14 times in the last four games.
All these signs point to how it will be a highly entertaining game. There will be no guarantee of quality defending. But goals could well flow in, if all things go right. And it will be well worth the money, be it the first-leg in Germany or the second-leg in Paris.