Champions League: the Randal Kolo Muani case ignites Germany


By: Manu Tournoux

A bluff? This Wednesday, the French press announces that Luis Enrique will line up Kang-in Lee in his starting lineup against Borussia Dortmund in order to compensate for the absence of Ousmane Dembélé, suspended for the Champions League clash. But in Germany, we don’t really believe in this hypothesis. In the main newspapers, like Bild, it is the name of Randal Kolo Muani who is included in the Parisian team composition. For the moment, only Luis Enrique has the answer to this question. But we imagine that the French striker really wants to start this crucial meeting for the Ile-de-France residents.

A crazy year in Frankfurt

“All this week, we have worked hard for the match that is coming. We are very confident, we know we have a big match waiting for us there and we will be ready. The coach doesn’t put pressure on us, he knows that we have good qualities and a very large squad. We are very confident before going against Dortmund on Wednesday. Should supporters be afraid? No, no, it’s going to be fine.”, explained the French international who wanted to warn the BVB a few days ago. Confident, RKM displays a serene face before his return to Germany. A country that he was able to conquer in the space of one season.

Arriving from Nantes, the Bondynois shone within the Bundesliga team. Match after match, he was able to demonstrate all his qualities, finishing his first season with a superb record of 23 goals and 14 assists in 46 appearances in all competitions, including 43 as a starter. Obviously, the best clubs, including Bayern Munich and Manchester United, looked into his case. But it was ultimately Paris Saint-Germain who were favored by the French international.

A turbulent start at PSG

After long and tough negotiations, as well as a standoff with the player who even went on strike, Eintracht Frankfurt opened the door to him on September 1 during the last day of the transfer window. Along the way, the Germans, who wanted to attract Hugo Ekitike in return, received a nice check for 95 million euros. Something to console yourself with. Three months later, Randal Kolo Muani will make his comeback in Germany. In the meantime, the Frenchman has played 15 matches in all competitions with PSG, including 8 as a starter. Time for him to score 5 goals and deliver 2 assists.

Statistics far from bad. But the numbers don’t tell or show everything. In competition with Gonçalo Ramos, RKM has experienced certain difficulties since his arrival in Paris. He is aware of it and has recognized it. This evening in Dortmund, he will have the opportunity to set the record straight, whether he starts or comes on during the match. Especially since there, we are following his case carefully. Chief reporter for the German media Sports 1Kerry Hau returned to the eventful departure of the Frenchman in our columns.

Germany did not appreciate his methods

“I think it’s normal after such a great season to think about the next step, for sporting reasons, but also in relation to your salary. It’s also normal to let yourself be tempted when you’re a French player and Paris is calling you. But the way Randal Kolo Muani left Frankfurt was a shame. He and his agent were not grateful and respectful to the club that gave him the opportunity to play and shine in one of the best leagues in Europe and to play for France in a World Cup ( …) Frankfurt fans were furious with the way he treated the club. I wouldn’t say they hate it, I don’t like that word. But he is not welcome in Frankfurt”

A feeling shared by Tobias Felhdoff, journalist for the site Football Transfers. “Opinions in Frankfurt are not very positive. They are sad about his strike but I don’t think it will have an impact in Dortmund (regarding his reception, editor’s note). From my point of view, I think it was understandable to take this step, even if his behavior was not adequate. It was tempting to become the starter at number 9 at PSG. For me, Gonçalo Ramos is not a world-class player. With Mbappé and Dembélé at his side, it could have worked for Kolo Muani. But the French trio, who know each other very well thanks to the Blues, still need to refine their understanding. Kerry Hau also believes that RKM may have come to PSG a little too early.

BVB is not afraid of him

“I haven’t watched him much so far in Ligue 1, but I have seen his matches in the Champions League. He obviously needs more time to adapt to such a big team with so many world-class players. The pressure is significantly higher than in Frankfurt, something that should never be underestimated, especially with the money it costs. The fans, the experts, everyone expects a lot of goals or to participate in the scoring chances. Personally, I think this stage mentally came a year or two too early. I am convinced that with one or two more years in a calmer environment like Frankfurt and in such a competitive and physically strong league like the Bundesliga, he would have become a more consistent and better player… and a potential Real Madrid player, from Manchester City or Bayern Munich. Teams that are even better than PSG.”

But it is with the Parisian tunic on his back that RKM will present himself this evening in Dortmund and in Germany. Even if we know the player like the back of our hand, he is not the one we fear the most when listening to Tobias Feldhoff. “I think BVB is more afraid of Kylian Mbappé and Ousmane Dembélé, who will be absent this evening. Here, everyone knows the qualities of Kolo Muani. But BVB are already qualified and I think this player is not a big problem for them.” Ditto for Kerry Hau of Sports 1. “There is no fear from Dortmund. They know him very well and respect him, but there is no need to be afraid. It will be a difficult match because Dortmund are normally strong in their stadium, the atmosphere will be great and there are a lot of people in Germany in general who want to see PSG in the Europa League. It’s not a very popular club.” Seeing Paris and Kolo Muani fall is therefore not to displease our German neighbors…

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