Monaco has been sensational this season, leading Ligue 1 by three points having scored a barely believable 84 goals in 29 games, but already there is a sense that if it is to make a serious mark in Europe, it has to be this season.
The “superclubs” are hovering, looking at 18-year-old center forward Kylian Mbappe; powerful fullbacks, Benjamin Mendy and Djibril Sidibe; and the two holding midfielders, Fabinho and Tiemoue Bakayoko. Bakayoko, scorer of the decisive goal in the round of 16 against Manchester City, will be suspended for the first leg of the quarterfinal.
The issue of predators picking off a club’s best players is one that’s very familiar to Borussia Dortmund. It’s back near the beginning of the cycle of development, with a number of promising players–the likes of Ousmane Dembele and Julian Weigl–who haven’t quite yet gotten to the level that would see them being pilfered by the very elite.
An injury crisis ruined the start of this season, which is why Dortmund sits third in the Bundesliga, 16 points behind leader Bayern Munich, but Thomas Tuchel’s side was still the top-scoring team in the group stage. With neither side convincing defensively, this is likely to be another goalfest.