Borussia Dortmund picked up a one-goal win over PSG in the first leg of the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League semifinals. Niclas Füllkrug’s goal in the first half was enough to best the French champions on Wednesday evening. Both sides had ample chances, and both sides will feel like they could have done more. Regardless, Dortmund has a lead going into Tuesday’s matchup at the Parc des Princes.

Entering the tie, PSG was the favorite. With arguably the best player in the world in Kylian Mbappe and a domestically struggling Borussia Dortmund side, the Germans faced a tall task. Given the game was in Germany, though, Dortmund pulled on the energy of the Yellow Wall in the Westfalenstadion to have a strong showing in the first half.

Dortmund had the best chance of the game to start through Marcel Sabitzer. A ball played in from the outside via Julian Brandt met Sabitzer who was in alone against Gianluigi Donnarumma. The Italian made a strong save to deny Sabitzer, and the chance disappeared.

However, Dortmund would find the lead just before the half-hour mark. A long ball over the top from Nico Schlotterbeck ballooned into the path of an onside Niclas Füllkrug. A brilliant first touch from the German striker allowed him to take a shot with his second touch. A low-driven effort beat Donnarumma, and Füllkrug sent the Signal Iduna Park into an uproar.

In truth, Borussia Dortmund should have had a two-goal lead going into the break. A well-worked play on a cross from Karim Adeyemi allowed Füllkrug to set up a first-time volley from Sabitzer. Just 10 yards from goal, Sabitzer struck the ball sweetly, but Donnarumma got down fast and strong enough to parry the ball away. That preserved the one-goal deficit for PSG, perhaps keeping it in the game.

Both Dortmund and PSG leave chances begging in Champions League semis

Donnarumma’s saves in the first half may have inspired PSG to play more aggressively in the second half. PSG opened the second 45 minutes with a flurry of chances. The best of those came in the 51st minute. The silky moves of Kylian Mbappe yielded a curling effort inside the area. Having beaten Dortmund goalkeeper Gregor Kobel, the ball slammed off the inside of the post and dribbled along the goal line. Mbappe picked it back up, and a hectic play in the box eventually squirmed the ball to Achraf Hakimi. The Moroccan tried to pass the ball into the corner, but he hit the inside of the left post, and once again the ball slid across the face of goal.

With PSG gaining more confidence that it could force an equalizer, Dortmund nearly doubled its advantage. At the hour mark, a sensational run from Jadon Sancho down the right side of Dortmund’s attack put PSG under pressure. The English winger on loan from Manchester United squared the ball to Füllkrug. The ball came in ever so slightly off the ground with pace. Consequently, the German skewed his shot over the gaping net, keeping the game in a one-goal difference.

Both sides had strong chances throughout the second half. On one occasion, Ousmane Dembele, the hero against Barcelona, blasted a ball away in a glorious chance for PSG. Just before then, Sancho slipped a pass in behind the PSG defense to Julian Brandt. However, a sliding challenge from Marquinhos deflected the ball away.

PSG failed to equalize, and Borussia Dortmund emerged victorious in the first leg. As a result, a draw will be good enough for the German side to advance to the Champions League Final for the first time in 11 years. However, PSG overturned a one-goal deficit in the quarterfinals against Barcelona. With several missed chances in this first leg, Luis Enrique should feel like his side has the potential to do it in the semifinals. Coverage of the return leg is exclusively available on Paramount+.