In the most unlikely of circumstances, Paris Saint-Germain finds itself within grasp of the UEFA Cup championship. Heading into their opening leg of their quarter-finals match against legendary Ukraine side Dynamo Kyiv, there is little debate that at times Paul Le Guen did not consider the UEFA Cup a priority. Throughout the entire tournament, starting with narrow advance in the group stage that included a rather scandalous display against German side Schalke 04, fortune has fallen the way of the Parisians. After getting past VfL Wolfsburg and SC Braga, les Rouge et Bleu are on the cusp of championship with Dynamo Kyiv their next obstacle.
However as Dynamo visits Parc des Princes PSG they face a entirely different case than the previous clubs and they will need to lace their boots up a bit tighter to advance. Motivation will not be an issue for the visitors as they are not only committed to their clubs resurgence but also Football pride within the Ukraine. Pride and honour are on the line and for a brilliant league that sadly gets little respect within the English speaking media, they will gunning for world's stage. While talk of "pride" and "motivation" might not resonate to all, in their corner is one of the sports finest tacticians, Yuri Semin. The irreplaceable architect of Lokomotiv Moskva's success for nearly twenty years, Mr. Semin has worked his magic with Dynamo since joining them late in 2007.
Speaking to UEFA prior to the match, the legendary leader was complimentary of PSG but additionally provided a key insight of his approach:
"We were not afraid of anyone before the competition started. In the second leg against Metalist (Kharkiv) we came from behind twice, it was not easy."
Dynamo is not afraid of anyone and to get by them, Paul Le Guen must prioritize this match. Paris Saint-Germain will want a lead going into the second leg as Kyiv will be a formidable opposition with a the twelfth man raining down "Динамо" for ninety minutes.
That withstanding, in crucial error in judgement, Paul Le Guen will not be deploying Claude Makélélé or Ludovic Giuly in the starting eleven. Per prior UEFA Cup matches he is likely to use Péguy Luyindula with Guillaume Hoarau or possibly Mateja Kežman. Zoumana Camara and Jérôme Rothen will return but Mamadou Sakho, Sylvain Armand and Loris Arnaud are out.