Can PSG Win the UEFA Champions League This Season?

Paris Saint-Germain’s chances of winning the UEFA Champions League title in 2023/24 just got a lot better. After losing an exhilarating quarter-final first leg 2-3 against Spanish giants Barcelona at Parc des Princes, Les Parisiens brought everything with to Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, turning the tie on its head with a 4-1 second-leg victory that even the boldest bookmakers didn’t predict.

In the end, Luis Enrique’s charges have their wantaway superstar, Kylian Mbappé to thank for the 6-4 aggregate victory and a place in the semi-finals against German underdogs Borussia Dortmund.

Mbappé, who had been substituted either on or off in five of PSG’s past six Ligue 1 outings, showed that the cream always rises to the top with a brace of goals – the first a 61st-minute penalty to put his team ahead in the tie, and the second in to seal the victory with a minute of regulation time to go.

As a result, PSG has moved to second favorite in the title odds according to many bookmakers offering players the option for betting offshore. After the multiple Ligue 1 champion’s unexpected quarter-final comeback, bookmakers now offer odds of 4.33 on PSG claiming the title, behind long-time favorites Man City (2.63).

Depending on the other two quarter-final second-leg results, which hadn’t been decided at the time of writing, either Arsenal (8.0) or Bayern Munich (8.5) will remain in the Champions League title hunt, while Real Madrid (9.0) could still turn the title odds on their heads with an unlikely comeback against The Citizens in Manchester. Dortmund already qualified for the semis after an upset victory over Atletico Madrid, but remain the rank outsiders, leaving bettors using sites like these with long odds of 13 should they wish to back the German side.

Barca will see the quarter-final second leg against PSG as an opportunity missed. Carrying a one-goal advantage into the match was already saw the Catalans favored to progress and a 12th-minute Raphinha strike only helped the cause.

The home fans’ night soured, however, when Barca defender Ronald Araujo was sent off in the 29th minute after tripping Bradley Barcola and preventing what the referee deemed an obvious goalscoring opportunity.

VAR confirmed the on-field decision, meaning Xavi’s men would have to complete the remaining hour of the match with ten men. Even the tactical nous of their experienced manager couldn’t prevent an Ousmane Dembélé equalizer ten minutes later, meaning PSG entered the tunnel at halftime as it had started, a single goal behind.

The French side, with an extra man, enjoyed the lion’s share of possession after the break, and when Vitinha leveled the tie in the 54th minute, putting PSG ahead on the night, it promised to be more a case of holding out than winning for the Spanish giants. Enter Kylian Mbappé.

The French national captain had been relatively quiet during the match but when Joao Cancelo fouled Dembele in the box, it was a case of “cometh the hour, cometh the man.” Mbappé converted the subsequent penalty in the 61st minute, giving Les Parisiens an aggregate lead they would not surrender. The super-striker’s 89th-minute second merely confirmed this.

With Dortmund next in the semi-finals, PSG and its fans will carry real belief into the upcoming tie. Supporters won’t forget, however, that the last time Paris Saint-Germain reached a Champions League final, in 2019/20, it was a German side, Bayern Munich, that foiled them at the ultimate hurdle. Luis Enrique will be intent on ensuring another doesn’t do the same against German opposition at the penultimate one this season.

Tags Barcelona Borussia Dortmund Champions League
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