In Prague this Tuesday evening (7 p.m. on Canal +), Monaco begins its obstacle course until the group stage of the Champions League, against Sparta. for this third preliminary round, Niko Kovac, the Monaco coach, has chosen to launch the attacking duo Ben Yedder – Volland, which weighed 36 league goals last season (20 for the French international and 16 for his comrade from the Mannschaft), as well as 14 assists (7 each).
“They will not be ready to play 90 minutes”, however emphasizes Kovac, whose two attackers only resumed their preparation for the return of the Euro late in the day but have already played a period against Real Sociedad in a friendly match on Wednesday ( 2-1 defeat).
Captain Ben Yedder, new number 10 since the departure of Jovetic (Hertha Berlin), will therefore have to surpass himself if he wants his team to make the difference in the first leg.
The confrontation with Sparta can be a trap. The Czechs have indeed already started their championship and remain on two victories in two games, including the last convincing, 5-0, on the lawn of Slovan Liberec. In the previous round, Sparta released Rapid Vienna (1-2, 2-0).
Letná Stadium, now called Generali Arena, will be sold out with 18,000 supporters. And the young guard of the club, whose prodigy striker Adam Hlozek, 19, who has played four meetings with the Czech Republic at the Euro, will still want to shine on the continental scene.
Three days before their first Ligue 1 match (Friday against Nantes), the Monegasque stars are advancing on a path strewn with pitfalls before being able to join the top of the C1. Because in the event of qualification against Sparta, it will be an equally tricky opponent, Shakhtar Donetsk or Genk, who will stand on the road to Monaco in play-offs (first leg August 17 or 18, return August 24 or 25). But the blow is largely playable for a team which comes out of a very good season and which bet on the stability to give itself maximum chance to find the European scene.