Borussia Dortmund vs. AS Monaco: There is melancholy in the principality

Borussia Dortmund vs. AS Monaco: There is melancholy in the principality
  • Borussia Dortmund meets AS Monaco in the Champions League.
  • The French club, known for developing talent, is in crisis.
  • 28 players have already used coach Leonardo Jardim in the current season, a team never surrendered.

A model is celebrated until it disengages, in football anyway. Probably the model AS Monaco is currently experiencing a break. So far, everything worked as if in a dream: Every summer, the club sold for a lot of money mostly young, talented players who had previously brought quite cheap to the Principality and which had offered a stage. Monaco then brought back new players, brought them to level – and let them draw again. A club as a water heater. Still, Monaco has been pretty successful over the years. It also had something to do with the fact that the coach, the Portuguese football intellectual Leonardo Jardim, who is now in his fifth year at Monaco, has been able to turn his ever-jumbled squad into an amazingly harmonious team.

But now the harmony is gone. Monaco has won only once this season, counting all the competitions. And the quiet Jardim sinks more and more in melancholy on the Auslinie. He probably wonders in those moments if he should not have taken on one of the many job offers that had been sent to him.

Jardim has already played 28 players in the current season, a team never surrendered. After eight games, the champions 2017 in Ligue 1 with only six points 18th place In the Champions League Monaco lost to start at home against Atlético Madrid 1: 2. Therefore, the away game in Dortmund is of immense importance. At best, the only good omen is that the Borussia was provisionally the last opponent from the premier class, which you could defeat. That's been a while: April 2017, quarter-finals, 3: 1. Already the first leg had won Monaco 3: 2. Three of the six goals Monacos scored by a young man who was then to start a world career and as a regular with France became world champion: Kylian Mbappé, today 19.

A colossal profit margin

Mbappé is the prime example of the Monegasque model. AS caught up with him when he was still a minor. The club promised the parents good schools, a quiet environment without pressure, with a small stadium and not very demanding audience, great climate and an international stage as a showcase. In 2017, Paris paid 180 million euros for the transfer of the most exciting striker in recent football history. The profit margin was colossal again.

Last summer, Monaco again attracted a crowd of young stars, of whom probably – or their parents – have the career Mbappés in mind. Defender Jonathan Panzo, 17, from London, spent all his youth at Chelsea. Willem Geubbels, born in 2001, came from Lyon and should have a great future. Sometimes Monaco invests even sizeable sums, after all, a lot comes in – in the summer alone, AS recorded revenues of 300 million euros. For Benjamin Henrichs, already 21 years, Monaco transferred 20 million to Leverkusen. And for the striker Pietro Pellegri from Genoa, only 17, paid last year 31 million. Pellegri holds in Italy the record for the earliest debut in Serie A: he completed his first game with Genoa when he was 15 years and 280 days old.

But with all the beautiful prospects: the concern is in the here and now. The changes of Thomas Lemar (to Atlético) and Fabinho (Liverpool) could not be compensated. The Belgian Chadli is considered a disappointment so far, the Russian Golovin, the Monaco had snatched interested parties from half of Europe, is after an ankle injury so far only a hope for later. And goalkeeper Danijel Subasic (muscle lesion) still does not feel ready.

Tack, tack, tack, standings

Dortmund's intoxicating 4: 2 against Leverkusen is the conclusion of a week in which one gets the impression that the BVB tempo football could gain some momentum.

By Philipp Selldorf

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