Manuel Veth –
Monaco vs Dortmund – Tuesday, December 11, 20:00GMT/21:00CET – Stade Louis II, Monaco, Monaco
The curtain will come down on AS Monaco’s European season regardless of Tuesday night’s result against Dortmund. Four defeats and one draw in five games mean that Monaco are four points behind third-placed Brugge.
It has been a Champions League campaign that in many ways has mirrored the club’s league campaign. Always forced to sell their best players the 2017 Ligue 1 champion were not able to compensate this summer’s departures. Without a chance in the Champions League against Dortmund and Atlético Madrid and falling down the Ligue 1 table – the club were bottom at one point – changes had to be made in Monaco.
In October long-serving head coach and architect of the modern Monaco side, Leonardo Jardim was fired and replaced by legendary former France forward Thierry Henry. Results, however, did not improve under the 41-year-old former striker. Monaco are 19th despite an important 2-0 victory over SC Amiens last Tuesday.
“That result gives us a bit of confidence,” Henry explained to the media after the game. “We are more stable in defence and start winning duels once again,” Henry added with a smile. “Physically, it has been tough playing in several competitions, we have to play every three days,” Monaco midfielder Youri Tielemans added.
It is perhaps good news for Monaco that the Champions League season is almost over and that the club can concentrate on staying in Ligue 1 for the rest of this campaign. Hence, Dortmund might face a side that will show very little motivation to contest for three points on Tuesday night.
That said Dortmund head coach Lucien Favre is likely to experiment himself. The likes of Thomas Delaney, Axel Witsel, Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus could all be given a break after an emotional Revierderby against Schalke on Saturday.
“The match against Schalke has left some scars,” sporting director Michael Zorc explained on the weekend. Nonetheless, Dortmund would like to win the match to finish first in the group. “It would be nice to finish first, we will do everything in our power to play a good game on Tuesday,” goalkeeper Roman Bürki added.
Whether a win will be enough to win the group remains to be seen. Dortmund have won the head-to-head against Atlético but the 0-0 draw against Brugge on matchday 5 means that Dortmund have to hope that Atlético drop at least two points in their final match against the Belgians. As for Dortmund’s game despite the rotation, there should be enough in this side to defeat a struggling Monaco side.
Monaco vs Dortmund – Players to look out for:
Radamel Falcao #9 – Monaco
Colombian forward Falcao has been the only player in normal form this season. Scoring seven goals and two assists in 14 games the 32-year-old was the key player in Monaco’s victory over Amiens by scoring both goals. The striker, however, has been without a goal in four Champions League matches this season and shutting him down was one of the keys in Dortmund’s 3-0 victory on matchday 2.
Christian Pulisic #22 – Borussia Dortmund
Christian Pulisic is not having an easy season at Borussia Dortmund. Heavily linked with a move to the English Premier League – Chelsea and Liverpool are interested – the 20-year-old American does not seem to fit well into Lucien Favre’s tactical plans. Nonetheless, Dortmund are unlikely to transfer the wunderkind until the end of the season as they need the depth to successfully challenge for the Bundesliga title. As a result, Favre will likely try to give Pulisic a run out against Monaco to gain some much needed playing time.
Monaco vs Dortmund – Match Stats
- The teams’ only fixtures before this season came in the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals – Monaco’s most recent European wins.
- Before this season, Dortmund had won only one of their last 11 UEFA Champions League fixtures (D3 L7).
- The victory at Club Brugge is BVB’s only win in their last eight away UEFA Champions League matches (D2 L5), since a 2-1 success at Sporting CP in October 2016.
- That matchday one victory is also Dortmund’s sole win in ten away European matches (D4 L5).
- Dortmund’s last trip to France was that 3-1 loss at Monaco in April 2017 – their fifth defeat in their ninth visit (W2 D2). BVB have won only one of their last seven games in France, losing four.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Monaco vs Dortmund – 0-2
Monaco vs Dortmund – Lineups
Benaglio – Henrichs, Badiashile, Glik, Pierre-Gabriel – Pelé – Tielemans, Ait Bennasser – Golovin, Falcao, Diop
Head Coach: Thierry Henry
Bürki – Schmelzer, Diallo, Akanji, Hakimi – Dahoud, Weigl – Guerreiro, Götze, Pulisic – Philipp
Head Coach: Lucien Favre
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.