This is what a doomsday scenario looks like for Paris Saint-Germain.
On February 18, PSG travels to Germany to battle Borussia Dortmund in the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League at Signal Iduna Park. Defeating Lucien Favre’s team will not be easy and not many wouldn’t be surprised if they won that match in front of their famously raucous supporters.
With the pressure on Thomas Tuchel’s squad, PSG could very well capitulate under the immense pressure at the Parc des Princes—like they did last season against Manchester United—and crash out of the tournament in the first round of the knockout phase for the fourth year in a row.
The 2019-20 campaign is unlike any others in PSG’s past. Sure, their Champions League odds to advance past Dortmund are favorable, but an upset would have catastrophic consequences.
Edinson Cavani, Thiago Silva, Layvin Kurzawa, Thiago Silva, and Thomas Meunier are all out of contract at the end of the season and will likely leave then or even sooner. A loss to Dortmund would mean Kylian Mbappé and Neymar Jr. would likely join them in a mass exodus from the French capital.
A recent report indicates that Neymar would be open to a contract extension past his current deal, which runs until 2022, but he wants to see PSG win and go on a long run in the Champions League first.
Mbappé is another player who wants to win big trophies now and another embarrassing defeat will likely lead to him requesting a transfer to Real Madrid who is more than willing to pay PSG for his services.
A bad two-game stretch could gut PSG of their best talent and leave them cash-rich, but seriously deficient when it comes to talent.
It will also likely cost Tuchel his job. Essentially, the PSG project would have to start all over again and attracting top players could prove difficult as there would certainly be a stain on the PSG shirt after four straight losses in the Round of 16.
That’s the doomsday scenario and as PSG supporters, we’ve come to expect the worst. On a more positive note, the reigning French champions have been in excellent form so far this season and with Mauro Icardi now leading the attack, there aren’t many defenses that are going to keep PSG quiet when they’re in the mood.
The stakes are high but this current installment of PSG is the best squad ever assembled in the history of the club. If there ever was a PSG team that could break through and go on a run in the Champions League it would be this one and the path might be easier than it has in previous years.
With Manchester City and Real Madrid facing each other in the Round of 16, one of those big clubs will be going home early and PSG won’t have to face them. If Real Madrid advances, PSG already beat them 5-2 on aggregate over to group stage matches.
FC Barcelona is always tough but how will they perform under new manager Quique Setien? When you look at all of the remaining clubs, there is only one that you would say PSG wouldn’t be favored against.
Liverpool FC won the Champions League last season and they’re running away with the Premier League with a 14-point lead over Manchester City. Not only are they talented at every position, but they can afford to rest those players ahead of a match against PSG as a loss in the Premier League won’t hurt them in the standings. PSG did defeat them at the Parc des Princes in the group stage last season and that should give them confidence if the two face off but beating Jürgen Klopp’s squad will be no easy task.
PSG is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and winning the Champions League would be the ultimate birthday gift. It would also mean Neymar and Mbappé would likely stay for a couple more seasons, Icardi would make his loan permanent, and top players will want to join the French giants in the summer.
No other team in Europe is judged solely on Champions League success. Even Manchester City, who are a newly rich club like PSG, hasn’t won the Champions League but because they’ve won the Premier League, they’re given a pass for European failures by football journalists.
Ironically, for PSG to achieve their dream of winning the Champions League, they will need world-class performances from the players who will likely depart if things go wrong.
Those who think it’s easy being a PSG fan are sorely mistaken.
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