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‘I could count 10 players’ – Favre warns there is more to PSG than just Neymar

The Borussia Dortmund boss is not getting distracted by the Brazilian’s much anticipated return to action

Lucien Favre says Borussia Dortmund cannot afford to focus all their attention on Neymar as the world’s most expensive player prepares to return to the Paris Saint-Germain team on Tuesday.

Neymar has been out of action since suffering a rib injury against Montpellier on February 1 but, alongside Kylian Mbappe, who missed the weekend draw at Amiens, he was named in the PSG squad for their Champions League last-16 first leg at Dortmund.

The Brazil international has made just a single appearance for PSG in the knockout stages of Europe’s elite competition since joining in 2017, with injuries curtailing his campaigns as the Ligue 1 giants suffered consecutive last-16 defeats.

But Neymar also played only twice in this season’s group stage as Thomas Tuchel’s men topped the table and defeated Real Madrid.

Favre is therefore well aware of the other threats PSG might pose at Signal Iduna Park, including World Cup winner Mbappe, who scored three goals against Dortmund for Monaco in the 2016-17 quarter-finals.

“All the players have great qualities at PSG, but they have won against Madrid without him [Neymar],” Favre told a pre-match news conference on Monday.

“Neymar is very, very good, but there is also Mbappe or [Angel] Di Maria. I could count 10 players.

“They have high qualities in winning the ball and going forward very quickly. You play with counter-pressing, but you can also wait to counter.”

Dortmund have quality of their own, though, and are boosted by the January arrival of Erling Haaland, who has nine goals in six games since joining from Salzburg.

Haaland netted eight times in the Champions League for Salzburg in the first half of the campaign, and Favre is optimistic the 19-year-old can continue this outstanding form against PSG.

“He adapted very quickly and showed his strengths: his strength and his running,” Favre said. “He always wants to develop, even in training. He has a great mentality.

“He has already taken a great path here, even though he is only 19 years old. It’s different in Dortmund than in Salzburg, of course, but he also played in the Champions League and scored goals there. I hope he does the same with us.”

Dortmund and PSG have had trouble in defence in recent weeks, the Bundesliga side conceding four at Bayer Leverkusen on February 8 while the French champions let in the same number at Amiens in an epic draw on Saturday.

An exciting attacking encounter is therefore anticipated, but Favre – who will be without midfielder Julian Brandt – would be happy to see a tighter affair.

“I prefer to see a nice game, but sometimes a nice game is about good defensive play,” he said. “Sometimes I have nothing against winning 1-0 or playing a 0-0.

“If there is an offensive style of play, people are happy – but not always the coaches.”

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