After Real Madrid’s show yesterday, tonight match should be a much more closer one between two great teams: Monaco & Juventus. Monaco will host the first match while Juve will host the second leg which in the end we will find who will qualify to the 2017 Champions League final.
No doubt that Monaco this season is maybe the most exciting team this season. The ligue 1 leader is not only close to take the French championship and did a great year in Europe, but they also do it with style, beautiful game and most important – scoring goals and a lot. When you have up front players like Falcao, Germain and wonderkid, Mbappe, who scored 18 goals in the last 18 matches, including three goals vs. Dortmund in the quarter final.
Monaco have won 71% of their home games in the Champions League (22 out of 31). Among clubs to have hosted at least 30 games, only Real Madrid (76.5%), Barcelona (72.1%) & Bayern Munich (71.3%) have a better win ratio.
Monaco have scored exactly three goals in each of their four Champions League knockout games this season. In fact, they are the first team in the competition’s history to find the net at least three times in four consecutive knockout games.
Monaco is the only French club to reach more then one time to the semi final stage. This will be their 4th appearance after they reached also in 1993/94, 1997/98 and 2003/04. Their only appearance in the final was in 2003/04, where they lost 3-0 to Porto.
Jardim will have almost all of his squad available, besides midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko who is injured.
If Monaco’s offense is one of the best, Juventus has the best defense in the tournament, conceding only two goals so far in this campaign. Their great performance vs. Barcelona in the quarter final, winning on aggregate 3-0, made them favorites against Monaco, although Juve’s coach, Massimiliano Allegri, doesn’t agree so much: “Monaco have technical and tactical qualities as well as talented young players. They do not have the same history as Juventus but that does not mean it will be easy for us to make it to the final.”
Juventus are closing in on a record sixth straight Serie A title and can turn to their European history for inspiration, having won the showcase club competition twice, in 1985 and 1996. After failing to reach the last four of the Champions League from 2003/04 to 2013/14, Juventus have now made the semis for the second time in three seasons (after 2014/15).
To qualify to the final, Juve’s offense will have to be good and for this they need Higuain. The Argentine striker has scored only two goals in 24 Champions League knockout games. In the group stages, he’s netted 13 goals in 38 games.
Juventus will be without defender Daniele Rugani due to a knee injury and midfielder Sami Khedira, who is serving a one-game suspension.
And there will be a Colombian derby. Radamel Falcao from Monaco vs. Juan Guillermo Cuadrado from Juve. Only Ivan Cordoba & James Rodriguez won the Champions League, now one of them will also be in the final. Both of them are great players and very essential to their clubs. So who will take series?