DORTMUND, Germany (AP) — Borussia Dortmund will be looking to keep the score low when it plays high-scoring Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday in the Champions League.
Dortmund has been prolific itself lately, scoring 23 goals in its last five league games. But that has often been accompanied by sloppy defending. The German team has had a 5-3 win and a 4-3 loss so far in 2020.
PSG had its own defensive problems in a 4-4 draw with Amiens on Saturday.
Dortmund is hoping it has found a solution to its leaky back line, just in time to host PSG. The arrival of defensive midfielder Emre Can from Juventus in January has shored things up. Dortmund allowed Eintracht Frankfurt no clear-cut chances in a 4-0 win on Friday.
Dortmund coach Lucien Favre said Monday he is hoping for beauty on the field, but “a beautiful match can also be a match which has beautiful defending in it.”
Favre added he would be happy with a 1-0 win instead of a goal-fest.
Midfielder Axel Witsel pointed to Dortmund’s goalless draw with Barcelona in the group stage — a rare case of competent defending prior to Can’s arrival — as “the model” to follow.
“Tomorrow we’re going to have to be really compact, play as a team all together and really strong,” Witsel said. “We were against Frankfurt more aggressive in a good way. Straight away when we lost the ball we really wanted to recover the ball and play forward and it’s one of the things we will have to do tomorrow.”
Witsel said his new partnership with Can offers “more balance” in the midfield. Can is a classic defensive midfielder, Witsel said, rather than the more offensively minded Julian Brandt, who is injured.
Dortmund could also field striker Erling Haaland in Europe for the first time. The 19-year-old Norwegian has scored nine goals in six games in all competitions for Dortmund and eight in six for former club Salzburg in the group stage.
“He has a fantastic mentality,” Favre said, “and if he misses a shot in training he’s gripping his hair and he’s really annoyed.”