The Uefa Champions League quarter finals have thrown up some intriguing ties this year, and this is certainly one of them. Two enterprising, attacking sides, which are known for being a bit defensively lax, go head to head tonight as Borussia Dortmund host AS Monaco.
Monaco will, of course, be brimming with confidence and with good reason: having beaten Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City at the round of 16 stage, they also find themselves three points clear at the top of Ligue 1 with just seven games left to play. Dortmund, however, will go into this one feeling rather nervous. Having swept past SL Benfica in the previous round, their recent form has been patchy and they’ve been conceding plenty of goals, culminating in a 4-1 defeat to Bayern Munich at the weekend, which leaves them fourth in the Bundesliga.
As aforesaid, Monaco are unquestionably the form team going into this one. Domestically, they have lost just once since December and only a late surge from Manchester City meant they lost in a pulsating 5-3 at the Etihad last month. Their 13 game unbeaten run in the league has seen them surge into the Ligue 1 driving spot, and they have show few signs of stopping.
Dortmund, conversely, face a real fight for their place in the automatic Champions League spots this season. Currently in fourth and having lost two of their last five in the league, they won’t be feeling at ease with a tie against a team that they know will test them defensively. Indeed, the manner in which they were brutally torn apart by Bayern at the weekend suggests Monaco have a lot to aim for.
There are lots of continued absences for both sides, with Djibril Sidibe and Benjamin Mendy expected to miss out through injury for Monaco. Meanwhile, Dortmund could have to do without the likes of Julian Weigl, Andre Schurrle, Marco Reus and Shinji Kagawa. In addition to injury absences, new French international Tiemoue Bakayoko sits out due to suspension.
Borussia Dortmund (4-1-4-1): Roman Bürki; Łukasz Piszczek, Sokratis, Marc Bartra, Marcel Schmelzer; Julian Weigl; Ousmane Dembélé, Gonzalo Castro, Christian Pulisic, Raphaёl Guerreiro; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
AS Monaco (4-4-2): Danijel Subašić; Almamy Touré, Jemerson, Kamil Glik, Andrea Raggi; Bernardo Silva, João Moutinho, Fabinho, Thomas Lemar; Kylian Mbappé, Radamel Falcao
Given the sheer number of absences for both sides, it could be something of a chaotic encounter tonight at the Signal Iduna Park. Neither side is famed for their defending but there’s plenty of flair on show. I think it’ll be pretty hectic, so I’m going for a 2-2 draw.