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Ousmane Dembele’s prolific PSG form means the Champions League semi-finalists are more than just Kylian Mbappé



Ousmane Dembele's prolific PSG form means the Champions League semi-finalists are more than just Kylian Mbappé

Paris Saint-Germain moved one step closer to a record-extending 12th French title with a 4-1 win at lowly FC Lorient on Wednesday, before their midweek festivities were denied hours later with a 1-0 win for AS Monaco at Lille OSC . That combination of results means Luis Enrique’s men can and most likely will seal their successful Championnat crown defense at home to Le Havre AC this weekend, but there was no hint of disappointment at having to wait a few more days.

Both PSG and Lille OSC, as well as Olympique de Marseille, took action on Wednesday over the Professional Soccer League’s (LFP) decision to give teams in UEFA competitions extra rest in a bid to gain a competitive advantage. That has proven to be the case for Les Parisiens and OM, who are now semi-finalists, but not for LOSC, who were on the receiving end of the full Emiliano Martinez experience at home to Aston Villa in the quarter-finals last week.

Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappé have also been given some rest in recent days, both unused substitutes when PSG defeated Olympique Lyonnais 4-1 last Sunday and both were restored to the starting line-up by tinker master Luis Enrique. However, the Spaniard’s changes worked perfectly at Stade du Moustoir, with each of the French international teams scoring twice, with Mbappé even teeing one of Dembele’s up to pick up where they left off in Catalonia last week with the first of three consecutive 4-1 victories. .

Speaking of back-to-back runs of three, this is the third straight match in which Dembele has scored with goals from his past three appearances in Ligue 1 and both UEFA Champions League quarter-finals against Barcelona. The ex-Blaugrana man opened the scoring after just 19 minutes with a fine finish from the edge of the penalty area to give the French champions a 3-0 lead later on the hour in Brittany.

“It was clearly a collective success,” Dembélé said afterwards. “We came here to win and to keep our momentum going. I think we performed well. We deserved all three points and we now have to do our job to become champions as soon as possible. It’s good to score goals to make.” and I’m being asked to score more. I will try to keep that up, because there are important matches coming up. “It’s not a specific task, but I project myself more towards the goal and the balls come to me to score. It will be my first title at PSG and that will be a great source of pride.”

The timing of Dembele’s resurgence of form in front of goal could not have been better timed from Luis Enrique’s perspective as the UCL semi-final doubleheader against Borussia Dortmund loomed. Suddenly the lethal 26-year-old is a much bigger threat to the Germans than he was earlier this season and the Bundesliga side will realize this given how important he is to Paris’ attacking game, which has seen him score in every leg vs. Barca for its double against Lorient.

One of Dembélé’s goals was scored by Mbappé, who was captain that day and scored twice, including one brilliant strike, before becoming supplier to one of his closest teammates in the French capital, as well as at Les Bleus. Their productive performance together once again highlighted how Luis Enrique is managing his side’s minutes superbly so far in this run-in with rotation largely producing impressive performances rather than sub-par displays created by players saving themselves for the Champions League.

Dembélé and Mbappé could not be blamed for this and did what they could to secure PSG’s last Ligue 1 title, but it was ultimately out of their hands and they will try again this weekend at the Parc des Princes. However, their performance will be worth far more to Luis Enrique ahead of the return to continental action next week than the three additional Championnat points it collected here, with both expected to feature heavily in the first leg in Germany and the return in Paris.