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Champions League

Champions League: Monaco Taken By Surprise; Dortmund And Bayern Fall Flat, Too

Nice's players celebrate after winning during the French L1 football match between Nice (OGCN) and Monaco (ASM) on September 9, 2017 at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice, southeastern France. / AFP PHOTO / YANN COATSALIOU (Photo credit should read YANN COATSALIOU/AFP/Getty Images)

While Unai Emery’s Paris Saint-Germain delivered the work on the road under its three stars of Edinson Cavani, Neymar Santos Jr. and Kylian Mbappe-Lottin, the same could not be said of Leonardo Jardim’s AS Monaco, whose win streak came to a crushing halt against Lucien Favre’s OGC Nice at the Allianz Riviera. With the Eagles’ backs to the wall, Nice were led by Mario Balotelli, who scored a brace in the sixth and 60th minutes en route to a 4-0 shutout win over Monaco. Alassane Plea (18′) and Ignatius Ganago (85′) also were in on goal for Nice.

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Monaco are feeling the effects of Kylian Mbappe moving back home to Paris, as his presence and ball movement were sorely missed. Throw in the decision by the ownership to cash in on selling players like Valere Germain, Bernardo Silva, Benjamin Mendy, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Nabil Dirar and the Monegasques are left gasping for air, ill-prepared for their massive UEFA Champions League showdown with RB Leipzig on Sept. 13.

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But AS Monaco weren’t the only ones who coming into the Champions League in search of form. Peter Bosz’s Borussia Dortmund and Carlo Ancelotti’s Bayern Munich come into next week looking for answers. BVB played SC Freiburg to a scoreless draw away and Bayern suffered a shock 2-0 loss to Julian Nagelsmann’s TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, who, like OGC Nice…are playing in the UEFA Champions League. Marcel Schmelzer and Marc Bartra also came down injured for Dortmund and are question marks for UCL action.

“It was a tough match,” Ancelotti admitted of their setback in Sinsheim. “We tried a lot and created a number of chances. But we weren’t 100 percent focused at times. We didn’t have much space and tried to create it by switching play. It didn’t work so well today. Things like this happen in football.”

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“We’re disappointed,” said Bosz of the draw. “Dortmund should win in Freiburg. If you’re playing with an extra man for an hour, you have enough time to score a goal. We didn’t do enough today. We see the result as two points dropped. Marc Bartra hurt his groin, while Marcel Schmelzer has an ankle problem. His injury looked worse, but we’ll have to wait for the diagnosis.”

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