By Oliver Trust
BERLIN, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- Just in time, Borussia Dortmund's seasoned players seem to have sparked a positive shift for the struggling Black and Yellows.
Ahead of the challenging group match against PSG on Tuesday evening, the previously written-off 34-year-olds, Mats Hummels and Marco Reus, have emerged as crucial assets.
In addition to the duo, 30-year-old newcomer Niclas Fullkrug is anticipated to bring added experience to the squad as they face off against the star-studded Paris ensemble.
In the midst of a transition phase aimed at rejuvenating their squad, success appears elusive without the contributions of the club's veterans.
Former team captain Reus netted a goal in Freiburg, while 2014 World Cup winner Hummels became the team's oldest player to score twice in a league match.
Defender Hummels set another record by scoring in his 16th consecutive season, becoming only the sixth player to do so in the league's 60-year history.
Drawn into one of the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League's most challenging groups alongside PSG, Milan, and Newcastle, there are still high hopes for Dortmund to advance, albeit as underdogs.
The relief following their league victory is palpable, and the team seems unburdened as they head to the French capital.
"The team is benefitting from Mats' huge experience. Especially when it comes to strictly holding positions and our passing," Edin Terzic said. The BVB coach admitted to having intensively talked to Hummels about his value and the upcoming tasks to make the team leave the performance low.
The former German international played a pivotal role in a tactical shift during the second half against Freiburg, steering BVB to a win with a three-man backline and two forwards.
German international Fullkrug is optimistic about playing at least 60 minutes in Paris after a satisfactory 30-minute stint in Freiburg post-injury. Meanwhile, Sebastien Haller appears to be in a slump.
There's growing speculation about star forward Jadon Sancho's potential return. The 23-year-old might depart United on loan following disagreements with coach Erik ten Hag. Sancho played for Dortmund from 2017 to 2019 before moving to the Premier League.
While Sancho's situation remains uncertain, the immediate challenge in Paris occupies the thoughts of both players and coaching staff.
A strategy similar to the one employed in Freiburg, focusing on effective counterattacks, might be apt for the Paris match.
It's a reasonable assumption that the team's seasoned players will be instrumental in ensuring a commendable performance. Despite debates about their advancing years, BVB currently relies heavily on these experienced players. ■