The draw for the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League has pitted 1997 winners and 2013 finalists Borussia Dortmund against AS Monaco for the first time. The two legs against the French outfit will be BVB's 99th and 100th matches in the competition.
The Ligue 1 leaders finished top of Group E ahead of Bayer Leverkusen (1-1 draw at home, 3-0 loss away), Tottenham Hotspur (2-1 wins at home and away) and CSKA Moscow (3-0 win at home, 1-1 draw away) before knocking out Manchester City in the Round of 16. The Monegasques led 2-1 and 3-1 in the first leg at Etihad Stadium thanks to a Falcao brace and a goal from Mbappé Lottin but the English side ultimately fought back to secure a 5-3 win. However, Leonardo Jardim's charges turned it around in the return fixture with goals from Mbappé Lottin (8), Fabinho (29) and Bakayoko (77) to win 3-1 – Sané scored for City (71) – and secure their place in the last eight of the competition on away goals.
"I saw the second leg against Man City, they were impressive," said Hans-Joachim Watzke, before sharing his thoughts on the battle for supremacy at the top of Ligue 1: "Monaco's goal difference of +58 speaks volumes." The league leaders have already notched up 84 goals this season, outscoring reigning champions Paris St. Germain (58) by some margin. However, there are three teams in the division who have conceded fewer.
An attractive but difficult draw
Everyone in the Black and Yellows camp appears united in the belief that it is an attractive but difficult draw. After all, there are no "easy" opponents once you get to this stage. "It is not by chance that Monaco are currently in top spot ahead of Paris St. Germain and knocked a strong Manchester City side out of an international competition," commented Michael Zorc, while Thomas Tuchel said: "They're a very homogeneous team with great individual quality and an outstanding coach. We will need to produce two absolutely optimum performances if we're to knock them out."
The Black and Yellows believe it will be a meeting of equals when they face the 2004 finalists (3-0 defeat to Porto) in the last eight. "Monaco are not just strong on an individual level but also have a very cohesive and determined team. We will need to demonstrate these exact two qualities if we're to have a chance. But we've shown that we're capable of that over the last few years in the Champions League," said Marcel Schmelzer.
"The Bundesliga's now the absolute priority"
As the match that decides the tie will be played at the 18,523-capacity Stade Louis II in the Principality of Monaco on 19 April, BVB will need to come out on top when they meet in the first leg in Dortmund on 11 April. "You generally want the second leg at home but we'll just have to take it as it comes," said Watzke after Friday lunchtime's draw in Nyon, Switzerland, before turning his attention to more immediate matters: "If we want to be there next year too, we need to finish at least third. So the Bundesliga's the absolute priority for now!"