WILL DYER (@w2Dyer) previews the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final tie between Monaco and Dortmund at the State Louis II.
Monaco v Borussia Dortmund | Wednesday 19:45 | BT Sport 1
Monaco take a 3-2 aggregate lead back to the principality after a successful trip to Germany that was both surreal and emotional last week.
Leonardo Jardim’s men were fearless in attack, as we’ve come to expect, and it payed off once again with three away goals, for the second successive Champions League knockout away leg. Only this time, Monaco have conceded just the two, not five.
It means that Les Rouge et Blancs are now 4/11 favourites for qualification; compared to being 4/1 when hosting Manchester City in the second leg of the Round of 16. They are therefore charged with a different task, defending a lead.
This potentially requires an alternative approach to the one Monaco would usually deploy. They are a vibrant young team that attack with velocity, it is not in their nature to do what Juventus will likely do at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night and I think it would be foolish of Jardim to attempt to make them play that way.
Dortmund will have a helter-skelter attitude to this game. They have nothing to lose and I think this will be even more so evident on this occasion, spurred by the heart-felt aftermath of the events that unfolded before the initially scheduled fixture last week.
BVB were the better side in the first leg but they didn’t make it count. Sven Bender is likely to fill in for Marc Bartra again but I expect Matthias Ginter, who played as one of three centre-backs at the Westfalenstadion, will be replaced with Marco Reus and a 4-1-4-1 formation fielded to allow more men to get forward.
Thomas Tuchel can rely on Julian Weigl to cover the two centre backs whilst Lukasz Pisczcek and Marcel Schmelzer sprint down the wings to join in attacks. It should create a thoroughly enjoyable spectacle with Monaco doing pretty much the same.
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The hosts will be without Fabinho at the Stade Louis II after he accumulated another yellow card in the reverse fixture. However, natural left-back Benjamin Mendy is set to return as well as Djibril Sidibe at right-back.
The defensive duo had to be covered for by Andrea Raggi and Almamy Toure in the first leg, one of which is a centre back and the other inexperienced at this level. It completely restricted Monaco’s usual efficiency on the wings and I believe was the cause for the relative few chances that Monaco mustered during the game.
Another man that was missed in North Rhine-Westphalia was Tiemoue Bakayoko; he returns from suspension and provides brilliant defensive cover. It means that Monaco won’t be far off full strength.
I am struggling to understand why Monaco are the underdogs at home for this one. Sure, they don’t need to win and were second best in Dortmund but they have shown us time and again that they are not to be underestimated in this competition and can thrive off the desperation that Dortmund will likely emit at times during the game.
Monaco are a superb counter-attacking team, as are Dortmund, but the onus will be on the visitors and they are sure to over-commit on a few occasions. Consequently, I’m siding with the Principality club once again.
In 29 home UCL games this century, they have a record of W20-D5-L4, that makes the 9/7 with 188Bet on the hosts +0 Asian Handicap look far too big to me. A bet that’s exactly the same as the Draw No Bet market, just better value.
Goals should also be on the agenda if we get the hectic, end-to-end, game that I think we will. I'm pretty much expecting a carbon copy of the first leg so Over 3.5 goals at 1/1 with Betfair goes in the book again. It’s landed in all of Monaco’s knockout games so far and 75% of Borussia’s Champions League matches this season.
Monaco v Borussia Dortmund – Monaco +0.0 Asian Handicap (9/7 188Bet)
Monaco v Borussia Dortmund – Over 3.5 goals (1/1 Betfair)