Two of the world's most attacking teams face off in Germany on Tuesday night, as Leonardo Jardim's Monaco team take on Borussia Dortmund, who will be led on the night by the resurgent Radamel Falcao. Dortmund themselves are no stranger to either youth, or savage attacking football, but under Thomas Tuchel they've frustrated at times in the Bundesliga. That being said, BVB have saved much of their finest football for the Champions League, finishing above Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid in the...
Burki makes the list by default, because Danijel Subasic has been quite poor in the Champions League for Monaco, developing something of a habit for letting shots slip from his grasp, and into his net.
A capable and consistent shot-stopper, and in a rare case of a German-Roman Empire, Burki has grown into his role as his namesake Roman Weidenfeller's heir, as the goalkeeping Emperor of Dortmund.
Sidibe won't play on Tuesday night, but he's easily the best choice to fill in at right back in this XI.
Similar to Filipe Luis at Atletico Madrid, Sidibe has the ability to play an attacking, near-playmaker type of role from fullback. Exceedingly athletic on top of this, and capable of playing on both sides of a defence, and making that flank his territory, his partnership with Bernardo Silva will put a huge dollop of problems on Dortmund's plate.
The man with the worst name in all of football - when it comes to the commentator calling his name - has been comfortably the best name in the BVB back line this season. Seriously, the only person with a harder name to spell is his wife, who's called Xanthippi Stamoulaki.
Imagine being their friend and having to write Christmas and birthday cards for them. There's no copy and paste in the cold, cruel world of ink.
Plugging the Mats Hummels-shaped hole the was vacated last summer, the Greek international has brought pace, power, and a surprising amount of defensive intelligence, whilst partnering the more technical Marc Bartra, who arrived from Barcelona in the summer window.
Monaco are not without their own physical specimens at the back, and since his arrival from Torino in the summer after a good season, and an impressive Euros with Poland, Kamil Glik has made himself an essential part of Monaco's team. At 26, he's effectively a veteran amongst what is basically a very talented creche at Monaco.
Between the Carpathians and the Sudetes, there's a lot of mountains in Poland, and Glik is just the youngest of them. He also scored a ridiculous, volleyed, stoppage time winner against Leverkusen in the group stages, which played a massive part in Monaco's progress from what was a pretty even group. Apart from Spurs, obviously.
Barring maybe Renato Sanches, and obviously the footballing titan that is Eder, Guerreiro was the true breakout star of Portugal's Euro 2016-winning side.
Quick, technical and committed, the full back both shone individually, and gained the prestigious honour of humiliating Cristiano Ronaldo, by coming closer to scoring with one free kick, than CR7 had in his previous 488754597 attempts (via Opta), when he cannoned his set-piece off Hugo Lloris' crossbar in the tournament's final.
Following injuries to Dortmund's midfield, Guerreiro has also found himself deputising in the centre of midfield, and doing a fine job in the process, scoring an absurd, corkscrewing drive against arch-rivals Bayern Munich in BVB's last league game.
Remember when people thought being compared to Michael Carrick was a bad thing? Well, compare Weigl to Andrea Pirlo, Xabi Alonso, or Sergio Busquets then.
The comparison are drawn due to Weigl's superb passing range, and remarkably maturity on the pitch. Still just 21 years of age, Weigl's decision making is remarkable, as for such a busy, dictatorial role in from of the BVB back line, he hardly ever gives the ball away, and maintains a 92% passing accuracy across all competitions (via
Tuchel's side build their attacks from the back, and Weigl is critical to this, capable of winning the ball back in his own right, but also has a remarkable knack to bring his teammates into the game, in order to start these often relentless attacks.
Monaco will be without key ball-winning midfielder Tiemoué Bakayoko, who is suspended, which may prove critical, as a less experienced player will have to deputise and may allow Weigl more freedom than Bakayoko would have.
One of the worst facts in football today, alongside Sean Wright-Phillips having more England caps than his dad, Ian Wright, is that Fabinho only has 4 caps for Brazil. All the while, Paulinho sits on an international pedestal, with nearly ten times as many appearances.
Adapted to a midfield role after previously being a right back, Fabinho has established himself as a critical part of the spine of Jardim's team, as a graceful passer, tough tackler, and damn near perfect penalty taker in Monaco's engine room. Given that it's Monaco too, the engine in that room is probably a Bugatti too. Or something. Cars are boring. Fabinho isn't though.
Until that little upstart Kylian Mbappe turned up and started showing off, Ousmane Dembele was basically the most exciting prospect in world football. Seriously, he's a whole year older than the Monaco prodigy, and his progress simply hasn't been good enough.
Dembele has handled the move from France to Germany with consummate ease, transitioning from a YouTube compilation prospect to a legitimate star in the making during his first season for BVB - scoring 7 and assisting a further 14 (5 of which are specifically in the Champions League).
Bernardo Silva is a walking treat of a player, and not just because Monaco's kit makes him look like a strawberries and cream Chupa Chups lollipop. At 22, he just beginning to emerge onto the world stage, but fans of Under-21 international football, and Football Manager games circa 2014, will already know this fella.
Not to overrate him, but he legitimately plays like a combination of Luis Figo and David Silva. He has the ability to appear impossible to tackle, without being blessed with rapid pace. He still isn't slow - but neither was Figo, and he posses a similar vision and balance to the man Citizens fans call 'Merlin'.
Injury cruelly denied Silva a place in Portugal's victorious (in name only) Euro 2016 campaign, and although he'd probably have been used as one of four defensive midfielders, there's no doubt he still would've shone in France last summer.
Marco Reus is curious. Undoubtedly a superlative player, he is now arguably Dortmund's most experienced man, only denied further club and international stardom (and maybe a big move?) by injuries as consistently saddening, as he is consistently brilliant.
He's a club talisman, and now vice-captain behind left back Marcel Schmelzer, and it's telling that back to back managers in Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel have valued him highly enough to build their teams around him.
It stings not to have Falcao here, but Aubameyang's consistent record speaks for itself.
For a player who misses a canny few chances per game, there a few players in world football who know their role in a team as well as the Gabonese man, as a hard running, line-leading, complete forward.
He's pretty fast too, dunno if you've heard.