(Reuters) - Despite their attacking qualities, Borussia Dortmund and Monaco face similar concerns as they prepare for Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg, with both having their defensive frailties brutally exposed in recent weeks.
No side had ever advanced through a knockout 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 running out 3-1 winners at home to advance on away goals.
Youngster Kylian Mpabbe 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.
Dortmund, with seven-goal frontman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leading the way, 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 and 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.
“I think 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 hard-working 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.
While there are no doubts about either side’s attacking quality ahead of their first competitive meeting, both have recently been brutally exposed defensively against high-quality opposition.
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 St. Germain in the League Cup final on April 1.
Dortmund were outclassed 4-1 by Bayern Munich at the weekend and it is little surprise that Tuchel predicts both sides will look to play to their strengths on Tuesday.
“(Monaco) play at a very high tempo and, in addition to individual talent, they have a very strong team ethic,” the coach added.
“I think 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.”
Editing by Clare Fallon