AS Monaco vs Borussia Dortmund – Wednesday 19:45BST/20:45CEST – Stade Louis II – Monaco.
Monaco and Dortmund played out a five-goal thriller last week at the BVB Stadion. With both teams having a natural tendency to attack, this second leg tie has all the potential of being another Champions League classic. Both teams picked up vital wins in their respective leagues this last matchday, but which will prove to be the victor and book themselves a place in the last eight of Europe’s premier competition?
AS Monaco showed the watching world just why they are so revered in the first leg of this tie. Flying out of the blocks, they raced into a two-goal lead – although television replays showed that Kylian Mbappe was offside, the young striker did well to stab the ball home for his and Monaco’s first. Les Monégasques would, however, have been worried by their hosts second half performance. Tactical and personnel changes adopted by Thomas Tuchel at half time changed the game, and with it, the tempo.
Monaco found themselves holding on for the vast majority of the second half. Mbappe, however, showed maturity beyond his years to fire the all-important third goal past Bürki—the teenager with a sublime finish from outside the area. Monaco will enter the second leg in fine spirits after a late victory on Saturday against Dijon. Radamel Falcao with a well-executed free kick that saw Monaco go top of Ligue 1, three points ahead of last season’s champions PSG. Falcao, who recently returned from an absence due to injury, found the top corner from 25 yards to give the team from the principality a vital win, and with it a vital mental edge to take into this quarter-final second leg.
Borussia Dortmund will look to what might have been in the first leg of this tie. Had they not been subjected to a harrowing experience that obviously affected their display, they may have a tighter grip on the tie as we enter the second leg. However, a double substitution at half time paid dividends for Thomas Tuchel’s Schwarzgelben. Christian Pulisic changed the game when he came on, and, thanks to his attacking work Dortmund have a good chance of qualifying. Although it will take a display like that witnessed against Benfica in the Round of 16 second leg to get past the high-flying French side.
In Saturday’s Bundesliga fixture versus Eintracht, Frankfurt showed just how devastating Dortmund can be when their free-flowing attack kicks in. The Yellow and Blacks welcomed back Marco Reus after a six-week absence because of a hamstring injury. The left winger took just three minutes to register his third goal of the season after some impressive work by Pulisic on the right-hand flank. Even when they were pulled back to 1:1, after a fantastic strike by Eintracht’s Marco Fabian, Die Schwarzgelben never really looked like they were losing. Sokratis hammered home a wonder strike to put the host’s 2:1 in front before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang got his 26th Bundesliga goal of the season. In all, Dortmund couldn’t have asked for a better end to a tumultuous week, or a better build up to this crucial second leg.
AS Monaco vs Borussia Dortmund – Players to look out for:
Kylian Mbappé #29
If Dortmund fans hadn’t heard of Mbappé before the first leg, they will know all about the 18 years old as the second leg starts. With a smart finish for his opener, it is perhaps his second, Monaco’s third, on the night that marks him out as one to watch. Mature beyond his years, he already has 12 goals in 23 Ligue 1 appearances, with eight assists. These statistics are impressive enough, but in addition the young striker already has four goals in six Champions League games, a goal every 69 minutes. Should Dortmund wish to advance to the semi-final stages of this completion, they will have to ensure the service to the teenager is kept to an absolute minimum.
Christian Pulisic #22
The US Men’s National Team player changed the face of the first leg for Dortmund when he was brought on at half time. Before his introduction Die Schwarzgelben had only managed four shots on goal, at full time that had risen to 12 attempts on the Monaco goal with two important goals registered. Pulisic’s pace frightens opposition players—they are unsure whether to commit to tackle, or to drop off and invariably get caught somewhere in the middle. Showing his worth inside of three minutes versus Eintracht on Saturday, Dortmund will rely on his ability to transition the play quickly. His linkage with Dembélé, Reus, Kagawa and Aubameyang could be the exact weaponry needed to give Monaco a serous Champions League headache.
AS Monaco vs Borussia Dortmund – Match Stats
- Monaco were 3-2 winners in the first leg, Mbappé scoring twice to sandwich an own goal from Dortmund’s Sven Bender. Ousmane Dembélé and Shinji Kagawa were on target for BVB.
- Both sides have recent quarter-final experience in the competition, Dortmund appearing in the last eight in 2013/14 and Monaco last featuring the following season.
- Monaco reached the semi-finals in 1993/94 via the eight-team group stage, when the top two in each of the two sections progressed to the knockout phase.
- This is Dortmund’s eighth European Cup quarter-final, and their third in five years. The German club’s last-eight record is W4 L3.
- Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang played for Monaco in 2010/11 on loan from AC Milan, scoring two goals in 19 Ligue 1 games.
Prediction: AS Monaco vs Borussia Dortmund – 2:4
Subašić; Touré, Glik, Diallo, Raggi; Silva, Bakayoko, Moutinho, Lemar; Falcao, Mbappé.
Coach: Leonardo Jardim
Bürki; Schmelzer, Bender, Sokratis, Piszczek; Sahin, Weigl; Reus, Kagawa, Pulisic; Aubameyang
Coach: Thomas Tuchel