Expedition Europa is about to begin! Finally, the long-awaited start of RB Leipzig’s Champions League campaign gets underway with a home tie against AS Monaco. The game kicks off at 20:45 CEST on Wednesday with Ralph Hasenhüttl’s boys facing last year’s semi-finalists in a cracker of a tie.
Prior to the clash, we’ve examined the Monégasques and collected all the facts on the team from the principality.
High-flyers in France
With eight league titles and five cup wins, Monaco are one of France’s most successful clubs. At the start of the 2000s, Monaco were unquestionably France’s top club. As Champions League finalists in 2004 and several times over league champions with stars such as Rafael Márquez and Victor Ikpeba, Monaco dominated the French game.
The high of the 2004 Champions League final was followed by a decline. Many years followed without a trophy and, in 2011, Monaco were relegated into the second tier of French football.
Despite falling on hard times, the team from the Cote D’Azur have transformed themselves and have returned to the peak of French football. The good times are back for Monaco as they’re competing in Europe and domestically once again.
At the moment, Monaco are second in Ligue 1 but, at the weekend, Monaco lost their first game of the season to OGC Nice who are currently managed by former Bundesliga head coach Lucien Favre.
LAST SEASON’S SUCCESS
The most recent sign of Monaco being back to their former selves came last season as the team from the principality won Ligue 1 by 8 points from runners-up Paris Saint-Germain with the youngest squad in the league.
Monaco also had relative success in the Champions League as they reached the semi-final after defeating top European sides such as Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City along the way. In the semi-final, Leonardo Jardim’s side were narrowly beaten by Italian champions Juventus.
Success brings about external interest
The success of Monaco’s youthful side did not go unnoticed by Europe’s biggest clubs. Defender Benjamin Mendy and winger Bernardo Silva have both departed to join Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. Midfield general Tiemoué Bakayoko has also moved to the Premier League as he joined Chelsea this summer.
However, the most prominent departure was of wonderkid Kylian Mbappe. The 18-year-old has joined PSG on loan after only two years of professional football and, next season, PSG will officially sign the striker for an astronomical fee.
- Keita Baldé (Lazio)
- Youri Tielemans (RSC Anderlecht)
- Terence Kongolo (Feyenoord)
- Stevan Jovetic (Inter Milan)
- Adama Diakhaby (Stade Rennes)
- Soualiho Meite (Zulte Waregem)
- Jordi Mboula (FC Barcelona U19s)
- Diego Benaglio (VfL Wolfsburg)
- Rachid Ghezzal (Olympique Lyon)
- Benjamin Mendy (Manchester City)
- Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)
- Tiemoué Bakayoko (Chelsea)
- Allan Saint-Maximin (OGC Nice)
- Valére Germain (Olympique Marseille)
- Abdou Diallo (1. FSV Mainz 05)
- Correntin Jean (FC Toulouse)
- Nabil Dirar (Fenerbahce)
- Kylian Mbappé (PSG, loan)
- Morgan De Sanctis (retired)
Monaco often have famous fans in the stands. Monaco royalty, Prince Albert II, is a fervent fan of Monaco and he attends the team’s home games in the Stade Louis II.
A talented academy
It's not only last season that Monaco have provided some exceptional French talent through their youth team. Previously, the likes of Fabian Barthez, Lilian Thuram, Youri Djorkaeff, Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet all began their careers at Monaco.
“Jika” knows Monaco
The opposition is nothing new for new signing Jean-Kévin Augustin who has already faced Monaco on three occasions with former club PSG.