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Dortmund-PSG: a status to assume, an appointment with History to honor

Time for the brave.

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Dortmund-PSG: a status to assume, an appointment with History to honor

Time for the brave. Eliminated in the round of 16 during the two years of the Messi interlude, PSG returned to the joys of the last four of the Champions League. The “new era” decreed by the club and Nasser Al-Khelaïfi last summer was intended to be that of the collective, of youth, of patience too. Collective and young, Paris-SG is indeed. But ultimately this is not the time for patience. More like excitement, the euphoria of high peaks.

Leaving their group through a mouse hole and with eight small points, as many as Lens who finished third in theirs, Luis Enrique's players dismissed Real Sociedad (2-0, 2-1) and FC Barcelona ( 2-3, 4-1) in previous rounds. Over the weeks, the Spanish coach has woven his web, left his mark and given a soul to his group. A constellation of stars yesterday, a team today. In the noblest sense of the word. This is the gift from “Lucho” to Paris, who is on track for a fabulous quadruplet. “We are more of a team, we are more like a family,” explains Gonçalo Ramos.

Already winners of the Champions Trophy at the start of 2024 and of Ligue 1 on Sunday, the 12th coronation in the club's history, the Rouge et Bleu will face Lyon in the Coupe de France final on May 25. But before that, head to Dortmund this Wednesday (9 p.m., Canal and RMC Sport 1), at Signal Iduna Park. Rendezvous with History. This PSG is however not the most talented of the Qatari era, far from it. “Yes, we have weak points, we are not perfect, but we are working on it,” explains Luis Enrique, recalling that his team is always “in this process of learning and improvement, we always have to learn.” Despite everything, PSG is “ready”: “The objective is to win”.

Also read: PSG: Regularity, efficiency, reliability… Dembélé, the age of reason

On the starting line, few observers would have bet on Paris in the semi-finals, and even fewer in the final or European champion. But in football, everything happens very quickly. A hint of serenity, a pinch of success, a little luck in the draw, obviously a lot of talent and even more work, and here Kylian Mbappé and company are 180 minutes from Wembley, scene of the final. Where Borussia lost to Bayern in the 2013 final. Borussia won the “group of death” in front of Paris, then fell to PSV Eindhoven (1-1, 2-0) and Atlético ( 1-2, 4-2), which was expected even less than the “Qatar-SG”, eagerly awaited by German fans.

PSG favorite of the double confrontation. No. Big favorite. It's pretty clear. Even if it's exactly the kind of statement that would make Luis Enrique say that "the press doesn't know much about football", as he did on Tuesday. In any case, it will not be a walk in the park for the French champions, despite this favorite status which guarantees nothing, this unpredictable BVB having not stolen their place. “We are very hungry,” slips Edin Terzic, the BVB coach. There is the speed deficit behind, the lapses in concentration and communication, this propensity to collapse without warning. Conversely, there is also the famous Yellow Wall, the captain Mats Hummels behind, the very solid Gregor Kobel in the goals, a Marcel Sabitzer found in the middle or the crazy dribbler Jadon Sancho back, not to mention Julian Bradt , Marco Reus or Karim Adeyimi. Black and Yellow have talent. The faculty played quality football and ignited a match, like against Atlético Madrid, too.

But this PSG, complete and sure of its strength, seems to have all the cards to reach fifth in the Bundesliga standings. A team that the Ile-de-France residents dominated in the game during the direct confrontations in the group stage, a 2-0 victory at the Parc des Princes and a 1-1 draw in Germany, they who had eliminated Dortmund in the 8th round four years ago (1- 2, 2-0), a time when Neymar was still calling the shots in Paris.

The Brazilian has since left for Saudi Arabia, but he is not prohibited from dreaming bigger. On the contrary. In Paris, clear skies. More than ever. Certainly, no one dreamed of the final at the start of the season on the banks of the Seine. But without disrespecting them, it would be a huge disappointment not to be invited to London on June 1st and to fall against Edin Terzic's players. Forces present, dynamics, form, injuries and return match at the Parc (May 7): in any case on paper, everything leans in favor of PSG, who will play their third Champions League semi-final in five years and the fourth in its history after 1995, 2020 (final) and 2021.

It is up to Parisians to assume their status and transform what is already a great season into an authentic triumph. This is the hardest part that awaits Ousmane Dembélé, Achraf Hami (formerly of BVB) and their teammates in the coming weeks, they who would not have to be ashamed of facing potential opponents in the final, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich. Now that title holders Manchester City are out of the race, everything is open for everyone, including PSG. “We are confident and we will fight to win the Champions League,” says Portuguese Gonçalo Ramos.

“We will be even better next season,” promises Luis Enrique, more than optimistic for the post-Mbappé era. Maybe. In the meantime, the captain of the Blues is still Parisian. Now is the time to take advantage of it. Now we have to win. Now we have to write history and win this big-eared Cup which has been denied to PSG until now. The planets are aligned. It’s up to Marquinhos and others to get the moon.

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