After having inherited Tottenham, Leverkusen and CSKA Moscow in August 2016, the ASM was handed three opponents of the same caliber this season: FC Porto, Besiktas and RB Leipzig.
Once a year, the Grimaldi Forum becomes a venue with various, confronting emotions on display. On the one hand, leaders who are disappointed at being dealt a dreadful lot. On the other hand, those who managed to pass between the drops, delighted to have an affordable team on paper. Monaco, like last year, does not belong to either of those two examples. The champions of France are in between.
Leipzig is new to the Champions League. But the German club cannot be taken lightly after its superb season in the Bundesliga last year (2 behind Bayern). Especially since the club’s No. 1 sponsor, Red Bull, expects miracles from its protégés on the European scene. And against Besiktas, Turkish champion and quarter-finalist in last year’s Europa League, Monaco will have a lot to do to overcome the fury of Turkish fans. A “half-fig, half-grape” draw remarks Ludovic Giuly, new ambassador for the princely club since last week.
Grouped with the Portuguese club, the Principality plunges back into its own history to 2004, an epic season which had brought them to the final. Beaten 3-0 by José Mourinho’s Porto, Didier Deschamps’s troop had made Monegasque fans dream of victory. Thirteen years later, the FCP does not have the same vigor, but they may find it under the direction of Sergio Conceiçao, their newest manager as of this summer and who is already creating miracles. The former player and double European champion is already leading the way to another championship.
Kamil Glik, defense, posted on the club’s website that he hopes “to share great emotional moments with the fans,” saying that his team will have to be “at 100%” to make it to the top two of the group. A mission that isn’t impossible but will depend on the final trades carried out by the French champions. Especially if Mbappé and Fabinho were to leave in the next few days.
AS Monaco’s Calendar
1st day: Wednesday 13 September
RB Leipzig – Monaco
2nd day: Tuesday 26 September
Monaco – FC Porto
3rd day: Tuesday 17 October
Monaco – Besiktas
4th day: Wednesday 12 November
Beşiktas – Monaco
5th day: Tuesday 21 November
Monaco – RB Leipzig
6the day: Wednesday 6 December
FC Porto – Monaco