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Monaco 3-1 BVB: Horrible start dooms Dortmund

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Dortmund are out of the Champions League

Borussia Dortmund v Monaco - UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

This one is on Thomas Tuchel. Sure the attack on the team bus last Tuesday played a decisive role in all of this, sure there were some incredible individual mistakes and the refereeing mistakes in the first leg didn't help either but this team deserved better.

It was once again a tale of two different halves and while Tuchel's decisions in the first leg were understandable and excusable given the circumstances he still had to come away with a couple observations: 1. The 3-man backline does not work against this Monaco team and 2. Dembélé and/or Pulisic need to start. Instead he decided to go with a 3-5-2, a fateful decision.

Dortmund needed at least two goals and Tuchel announced just a day earlier during the press conference that the black and yellows would relentlessly attack for 90 minutes, however it was Monaco that dominated the first minutes of the game. It took Kylian Mbappé barely three minutes to shock Dortmund for the first time. Monaco's left back Mendy was allowed to casually stroll through BVB's midfield without anyone bothering him and his shot from just outside the box was poorly saved by Bürki who dropped it just in front of Mbappé, the Frenchman had no problem converting for an early lead.

If you thought this would have been enough of a wake up call for Dortmund's players, well, you thought wrong. A few minutes later Lemar was once again unmarked on the right (BVB) side and played a beautiful cross into the box to set up Falcao for the 2:0.

At the half hour mark Tuchel saw enough of his failed experiment and took Durm, who had just won one(!) duel, off for Dembélé and switched from a 3-5-2 to a 4-2-3-1. The tactical change was an obvious improvement, not only was Dembélé an upgrade from Durm but the team was suddenly able to keep possession and create chances. While the first twenty minutes of this game were a nightmare, the team was actually able to put on a decent performance after the switch.

Dortmund needed a miracle and it looked like they had a chance when Marco Reus got them on the scoreboard after a brilliant run from Dembélé.

Reus & Co. still needed two goals to get them into overtime which meant throwing everything at Monaco what they had. From then on the game was a constant back and forth, Dortmund had to risk it all to score which meant a lot of room for counter attacks for Monaco.

One of those counters marked the end of Dortmund's Champions League campaign. Just seconds after Jardim took off Mbappé for Germain, the latter scored the 3:1 after a Piszczek-mistake that essentially ended the game.

In the end this is a tie of mixed feelings, Dortmund could've won it and under different circumstances they arguably would have advanced to the semifinals. We'll never know how this tie would have ended if it weren't for the terrorist attack and all the sad consequences that followed. Maybe a healthy Bartra could have stabilized the defense, maybe all the individual mistakes would not have happened, maybe Tuchel would not have made the mistake of going with a 3-man backline if he had Bartra available, etc. Right now it feels like a disappointing end to a promising campaign but it's hard to blame anyone considering the circumstances.