Dortmund claim 'small advantage' in Champions League semi-final over PSG

Niclas Fullkrug scores the only goal of the game as the German side take a 1-0 lead to Paris next Tuesday

Powered by automated translation

Borussia Dortmund manager Edin Terzic has warned his players that the task of reaching the Champions League final is far from complete after the German side claimed a 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the semi-final first leg on Wednesday night.

Niclas Fullkrug scored the only goal of the game as a dogged and determined Dortmund outmuscled their heavily favoured opponents in front of more than 80,000 fans.

Fullkrug, playing in his first Champions League season at the age of 31, collected a lofted pass from centre-back Nico Schlotterbeck in the 36th minute and blasted a low shot into the left corner of the net.

PSG, led by Kylian Mbappe, hit the post twice in quick succession early in the second half but could not break through.

"We played a very good game and claimed a narrow but deserved victory," Terzic said. "We've managed to get a small advantage for the return leg. But nothing more. The task next week will be even more difficult if they impose their power play. Today we had to withstand this momentum from the 45th to the 60th minutes."

Dortmund, who had already lost and drawn against PSG in the group stage this season, can continue to dream of a return to Wembley 11 years after their last Champions League final.

Despite the setback, however, PSG will remain confident of overturning the deficit at home next week against a side they thoroughly outclassed at their home venue in September.

"We saw an even match with two teams that play good football when they have the ball," said PSG boss uis Enrique. "We both created many scoring chances. This time our opponents scored and we didn't. The result reflects how close the game was.

"In the last two rounds, they had the home game as their second game, whereas it was the other way round for us. Now it's a different and new scenario, we'll have the crowd on our side in the second leg.

"I would have liked to create the chances we have created, but you have to be effective to score. We'll see what version we show in Paris."

Terzic said pre-match PSG were "built to win the Champions League" since the Qatari takeover a decade ago, and nowhere was the contrast between the two clubs greater than their respective strikers.

PSG's Mbappe, likely playing in his last season for his hometown club, is one of the biggest stars in world football, while Dortmund's Fullkrug was playing second-division football this time two years ago.

Spurred on by a passionate home crowd who booed and whistled every Mbappe touch, Dortmund had the best of the opening stages. Jadon Sancho, on loan from Manchester United after falling out with manager Erik ten Hag, was superb on the right flank throughout the match.

The goal came after 36 minutes thanks to some superb old-school forward play from Fuellkrug. Schlotterbeck had the ball well in his own half and thought about a safe pass back to the goalkeeper but instead punted it forward, with only Fullkrug aware of the idea. The striker controlled the ball with one touch and drilled a low shot past a helpless Gigi Donnarumma.

Fresh from wrapping up the Ligue 1 title at the weekend, PSG had few chances despite their attacking riches in the opening half, registering zero shots on target.

The visitors, however, sprung to life after half time, Mbappe rattling the inside of one post seconds before former Dortmund wing-back Achraf Hakimi rattled the inside of the other.

PSG should have equalised after 56 minutes, Marquinhos curled a beautiful pass through a crowded Dortmund box but Fabian Ruiz's diving header went wide.

Another former Dortmund player Ousmane Dembele blasted over right in front of goal with 10 minutes remaining.

The impressive Sancho laid on an excellent pass for Julian Brandt with moments left but Dortmund's hopes of a second were snuffed out by some desperate PSG defending.

The victory, along with Tuesday's 2-2 draw between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid in the other semi-final, guarantees Germany rather than England or France an extra Champions League place for next season.

That has already secured Dortmund's place in the competition next season.

"We produced a very cohesive team performance. It was a real top match. We were very mature," Dortmund defender Mats Hummels said. "We're also delighted to have qualified for the Champions League again. We've made up for our poor Bundesliga season with a strong season in the Champions League."

Updated: May 02, 2024, 6:16 AM