After some insensitive decision-making had Dortmund host Monaco 24 hours after the attack on their team bus, a 3-2 loss seems completely reasonable when put into perspective. Dortmund’s task now is to win by a 2-0 or better scoreline at the Stade Louis II. On the pitch, the first leg became the coronation of Kylian Mbappe as the world’s official Next Big Thing, who scored both the opening goal and a stunning breakaway effort to win it. As they look to defend their lead, Monaco will be boosted by the return of ball-winning midfielder Tiemoué Bakayoko, who was suspended for the first leg. Dortmund will welcome the return of Marco Reus to their Champions League lineup as the midfielder scored in the first two minutes of their 3-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday. Neither squad have found clean sheets easy to come by, and we should expect another open-ended back-and-forth match between some of Europe’s most promising prospects.
Runners-up in the Champions League in 1994, the principality’s club spent last season in the Europa league while finishing third in Ligue 1. Monaco struggled to find a reliable threat up top last season with Bernardo Silva and Thomas Lemar joint top scorers in the league with five goals apiece. To that end, Falcao is back from his disappointing loans in the Premier League with hopes to revive his career. Otherwise, Les Rouges et Blancs will look to the Portuguese duo of João Moutinho and the aforementioned Silva to control matches and create chances. They’ll face a difficult, but not impossible group which will include a trip to Moscow and matchups against Spurs and Bayer Leverkusen.
Thomas Tuchel had Dortmund firing last season - nearly any other year, their 78 points would have been enough to win the title. But, as always, there’s Bayern. While their captain, Mats Hummels, has exited alongside Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ilkay Gundogan (to opposite sides of Manchester), Dortmund have brought in capable replacements in Mario Götze and Andre Schürrle while also keeping hold of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. With master tinkerer Thomas Tuchel now settled as he takes on his second season at Signal Iduna Park, there will be few teams confident in overpowering or outsmarting Dortmund.
The versatile midfielder has made nearly 100 appearances for both the Portuguese national team and Monaco.
Scored 11 goals in 19 appearances in his last season at Monaco, before being injured in halfway through the season.
Dortmund somehow managed to keep hold of the electric forward who scored 39 goals last season.
The Greek defender will be even more crucial to Dortmund's season after captain Mats Hummels departure. His last name, Papastathopoulos, is too long to print, so his jersey simply reads, "Sokratis."