Verdict: Over 3.5 goals
Best Odds: 5/6
Emotions will be flying high once again as Borussia Dortmund make a trip to France to try and recover from the shock terror attack last week which tainted Monaco’s 3-2 win in the first leg of what should have been a beautiful Champions Leauge quarterfinal manifestation in Dortmund.
The Principality club are one of the biggest surprise packages in Europe this season and the 3-2 win over Dortmund in the first leg is just the latest confirmation. Having initially surprised in Ligue 1 with their impressive exploits which still keep them top of the table and in the run for the coveted champions’ trophy, AS Monaco have been marching on European soil with same strength and resolve. Having topped their Group E in front of the likes of Bayer Leverkusen, Tottenham and CSKA Moscow, Leonardo Jardim’s exciting charges have dispatched Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in an exciting tie which ended 6-6 on aggregate, but saw AS Monaco go through thanks to away goals. The French club boast a fantastically talented squad and a uniquely balanced mixture of youth and experience. French hot-shot Kylian Mbappe – who scored a brace against Dortmund – has excelled in the competition, turning the heads of Europe’s biggest clubs in the process, whereas it is the seasoned players such as Radamel Falcao, who add depth of quality into Monaco’s play. The Colombian striker has been particularly impressive this season and it was thanks to his late free kick that Monaco secured a win over Dijon at the weekend that keeps them three points in front of Paris Saint-Germain.
Brazilian midfielder Fabinho will miss the replay through suspension, but on the positive note the highly-rated Tiemoue Bakayoko returns to the fold after serving his first-leg suspension.
Gabriel Boschilia, Guido Carillo, Nguinda Ndiffon and Djibril Sidibe are all ruled out due to their respective injuries which gives Jardim a slight headache ahead of the return leg at Stade Louis II.
Football was the last thing on Borussia Dortmund’s minds on Wednesday as the German side experienced a traumatic experience when the team bus carrying the players found itself in the middle of a terrorist attack. The bomb explosion injured BVB defender Marc Bartra, who had to be hospitalised, whereas the game got postponed for Wednesday afternoon. The Bundesliga club were angry at UEFA for not cancelling the game or at least rescheduling it for a later date since BVB players were too traumatised to play, but the Millionaires still managed to put in a solid performance and record a result that pretty much keeps the tie alive. Borussia Dortmund bounced back from the shock with a 3-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt at the weekend with influential forward Marco Reus marking his return to the team with an opening goal in the match. Sokratis and Aubameyang added their names to the scoreline as Borussia Dortmund ran out comfortable winners in a game that will have helped players get over the terror attack a bit. Thomas Tuchel is happy to welcome Marco Reus back in the squad and the timely return of key man could have a big effect in the return leg.
Erik Durm, Mario Gotze, Alexander Isak, Sebastian Rode, Andre Schurle and Joo-Ho Park are all ruled out through injury, as well is Marc Bartra who is still recovering after getting injured last week.
Marco Reus returns, but there is a big question mark on the fitness of Emre Mor, whi has been battling with illness over the past couple of days.
Key Factors to Consider
- AS Monaco won 10 of their last 11 matches in all competitions
- Principality club suffered only two home defeats this season
- BVB lost four of the last 7 games on the road
- Dortmund and Monaco both failed to keep clean sheet in 4 of last 5 matches
- There were over 2.5 goals scored in 4 of both teams’ 5 last games
Dortmund will be determined to send a clear message both to UEFA and their attackers by proving that football is bigger than fear. Thomas Tuchel’s men are motivated to come back stronger than ever and will be extremely motivated in France. AS Monaco are not an easy nut to crack however and there really is no telling which side would this match sway. Goals seem like the best choice however.
Verdict: Over 3.5 goals
Best Odds: 5/6
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