Falcao’s return a big boost to Monaco – Jardim

Dortmund (Germany) (AFP) – Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim says the return of striker Radamel Falcao following his latest spell on the sidelines is a big boost to Monaco’s chances in their Champions League quarter-final against Borussia Dortmund.

French league leaders Monaco take on Dortmund in the first leg in Germany on Tuesday as they continue their bid to repeat their run to the final in 2004.

The 31-year-old Colombian Falcao netted for Monaco in Saturday’s 1-0 win at Angers in his first start since the end of February due to fitness issues.

It was his 25th goal in 32 games this season in all competitions.

The ex-Manchester United and Chelsea forward has hit six Champions League goals so far, including two at Manchester City in the 5-3 defeat in the last 16, first leg.

Monaco won that tie on away goals thanks to a 3-1 win in the return at home, setting up the tie against Dortmund.

“Radamel Falcao’s return means more quality and experience in our side,” said Jardim.

“We have noticed the difference (he makes) before in the Champions League.”

Falcao is set to partner teenage star Kylian Mbappe, already a full France international at 18, with Valere Germain making way.

Monaco have been scoring an average of nearly three goals per game in Ligue 1.

However, in Dortmund they will be missing right-back Djibril Sidibe, who was taken to hospital with appendicitis over the weekend. In addition, highly-rated midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko is suspended.

“We know we have a couple of problems with Sidibe and Bakayoko missing, but we must rely on our strength in depth,” said Jardim.

“It will be a very intense game against a very good side with very good players.”

Thomas Tuchel’s Dortmund squad contains several members of the side which reached the Champions League final in 2013 before losing to Bayern Munich at Wembley.

“They have more European experience than we do, which is an advantage, and they have a deeper squad,” added Jardim.

“We will have to play to our strengths and show who we are. But we also have to be wary of their quality when defending. There has to be a balance.”

Monaco entered the Champions League in the third qualifying round in July, beating Fenerbahce of Turkey 4-3 on aggregate.

“It is not easy trying to play at full intensity every three days,” said Jardim.

“I don’t know if a team ever went from the third qualifying round to the quarter-finals. We have had the most games of any team so far.”

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