Football

Dortmund, Monaco get licence to thrill

Both camps promise to unleash all of their attacking powers in quarter-final clash

QUARTER-FINAL, 1ST LEG
BORUSSIA DORTMUND MONACO

Despite their attacking qualities, Borussia Dortmund and Monaco face similar concerns, as they prepare for tomorrow morning's (Singapore time) Champions League quarter-final first leg.

Both teams had their defensive frailties brutally exposed in recent weeks.

No side had ever advanced through a knock-out tie conceding six goals, but swashbuckling Monaco threw caution to the wind to oust Manchester City, netting three away goals in a 5-3 defeat in the first leg before winning 3-1 at home to advance on away goals.

Youngster Kylian Mbappe has been a revelation, while the 31-year-old Radamel Falcao is enjoying a new lease of life after appearing to put his fitness problems behind him.

Monaco's penalty-kick maestro Fabinho vows to take the same swagger into battle tomorrow morning.

GOALS RECORD

He told uefa.com: "When we saw we were going to play Dortmund, we knew they were going to be very difficult opponents, like Man City in their attacking play, and with the talented young players they have.

"In those respects, they are similar to us. They have an excellent team, with a bit more European experience than us, but we're going to try to stand up to them.

"The style we play is not going to change; it has got us this far, so we'll try to play the same against Dortmund."

Dortmund are glittering with talent up front, too.

With seven-goal frontman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leading the way, they broke the record for goals scored in the competition's group stage when they netted 21 to finish in top spot above Real Madrid, after a group-stage campaign that included an 8-4 demolition of Legia Warsaw.

Against Benfica in the Round of 16, they also demonstrated their offensive class to come back from a 1-0 first-leg defeat to win 4-0 at home.

"I want everyone who comes to the stadium to enjoy watching us because we play attacking football and outscore our opponents," coach Thomas Tuchel told uefa.com.

"We are good at winning the ball back, good at playing at a high tempo, good at quick attacking interplay and we're also a hardworking team."

Like Monaco, Dortmund have enjoyed the emergence of a talented sensation, with 19-year-old French international Ousmane Dembele contributing five assists in his maiden European campaign.

The attacking riches both sides boast of make this fixture a mouth-watering prospect, but both teams must also be aware that their defensive performance over the two legs can prove the difference between a semi-final spot and elimination.

Monaco have conceded eight goals in their last two away games and 13 in their entire Champions League campaign - more than any of the other quarter-finalists - and they were crushed 4-1 by Paris Saint-Germain in the French League Cup final on April 1.

Dortmund were outclassed 4-1 by Bayern Munich at the weekend. Yet, it is little surprise that Tuchel predicts both sides will look to play to their strengths no matter what.

"Monaco play at a very high tempo and, in addition to individual talent, they have a very strong team ethic," the coach said.

"It's safe to say we won't have two 0-0 draws; both teams are too interested in scoring and pushing themselves to the limit." - WIRE SERVICES

Champions Leagueborussia dortmund