Sun, 19 May 2024
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Champions League: Füllkrug hands Dortmund first-leg lead

Update : 02 May 2024, 10:56

Borussia Dortmund will take a precious lead into the Champions League semifinal second leg in Paris next week after Niclas Füllkrug's stunning first-half strike proved the winner in Wednesday night's first leg against Paris Saint-Germain.

Ten minutes before half-time, central defender Nico Schlotterbeck exposed PSG's high defensive line with a long ball over the top which Füllkrug brought down with a cushioned first touch before firing emphatically past Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Dortmund a different proposition in Europe

Frustratingly inconsistent in the Bundesliga this season, Dortmund have been a completely different proposition in the Champions League, winning a tough group – which included PSG – before seeing off Atletico Madrid in a spectacular quarterfinal.

And the European BVB were back on show again on Wednesday night.

Jadon Sancho, who has been slowly returning to form in Dortmund on loan from Manchester United, produced his best display yet: confident on the ball in midfield and full of pace and trickery on the right wing in a man-of-the-match performance.

"I came here at 17 and Borussia Dortmund gave me the opportunity to play professional football," Sancho told CBS Sports when asked why the club seems to suit him so much. "The staff and the players have welcomed me back and I want to give everything in front of the fans."

On the left, German international Karim Adeyemi put in an impressive shift both offensively and defensively while, at the back, Mats Hummels and Schlotterbeck kept superstar Parisian striker Kylian Mbappé as quiet as is possible.

"I think we showed a classic team performance today," said Hummels. "Everyone helped each other to win the game. We needed a bit of luck a couple of times, but we can be very satisfied with our performance. It was a very satisfying, very grown-up performance from us."

Woodwork twice denies PSG
But freshly-crowned French champions PSG didn't come into this tie as favorites for no reason, having produced a dramatic comeback to knock out Barcelona in the previous round.

Trailing at half-time, Luis Enrique's side came flying out of the blocks in the second half and hit the post twice in the space of 30 seconds. First, Mbappé curled an effort onto Gregor Kobel's left-hand post before, in the scene that followed, Achraf Hakimi hit the right-hand post.

Further chances followed for Ousmane Dembelé and Vitinha as PSG pressed for what would have been a deserved equalizer.

But Dortmund also had chances to increase their lead, with Sancho continuing to twist Nuno Mendes inside out down the right before cutting back to Füllkrug who fired over.

Then, when the outstanding Sancho threaded a pass through to Julian Brandt, the German midfielder opted to take a touch rather than shoot first time, allowing PSG captain Marquinhos to slide in and block.

Backed by a raucous capacity crowd at the Westfalenstadion, Edin Terzic's side hung on and will now take a valuable advantage into next week's second leg.

"It's always difficult playing here," Marquinhos said. "We knew how much of a contest it was going to be. But: 1-0, we've overcome it before, especially at home with our supporters."

"It's not over yet," warned Sancho. "Hopefully we can go to Paris now and get the job done."

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