Paris St-Germain in Champions League: Can Neymar finally lead PSG to glory?

They then overcame a first-leg defeat to beat Borussia Dortmund in the last 16 pre-coronavirus break, before their comeback against Atalanta in the quarter-finals.

Paris St-Germain in Champions League: Can Neymar finally lead PSG to glory? - SurgeZirc India
Neymar and Kylian Mbappe both played a part in PSG's winner against Atalanta / Photo credit: BBC

We have been here before but there is a feeling this could finally be Paris St-Germain’s year in the Champions League. So will it be?

The perennial French champions face RB Leipzig in the last four on Tuesday as they try to reach the final for the first time.

They were seconds away from going out to Atalanta on Wednesday but Marquinhos equalised in the 90th minute and former Stoke striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting scored the winner 149 seconds later.

The Champions League has been the missing piece of the puzzle since PSG’s big-money takeover by Qatar Sports Investments in 2011.

In eight full seasons under Qatari ownership, they have won 18 of the 24 domestic trophies – including seven Ligue 1 titles.

But this is the first time they have been to the Champions League semi-finals since 1994-95, long before the takeover.

They reached the quarter-finals in the first four years of Qatari ownership but seemed to regress by going out in the last 16 for the next three seasons.

Capitulations against Barcelona in 2017 and Manchester United last year will live long in the mind.

What has changed this time? Have PSG found a team spirit?

This year, instead of bottling the big moments, PSG have managed to show resilience.

They topped a group containing Real Madrid with five wins and a draw.

They then overcame a first-leg defeat to beat Borussia Dortmund in the last 16 pre-coronavirus break, before their comeback against Atalanta in the quarter-finals.

So what has changed?

“The team spirit we saw against Atalanta and in the second leg against Borussia Dortmund was not really there in previous years,” says French football journalist Julien Laurens.

“Boss Thomas Tuchel and his staff created a pact between them that this could be their year – you have to believe until the end and not feel that stress or pressure that you did before. The game against Atalanta showed that really well.”

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