UEFA Champions League: Monaco v PSV third round qualifier sets the stage for first European heavyweight clash
UEFA Champions League qualifiers get interesting on Tuesday with AS Monaco taking on PSV Eindhoven arguably the pick of the third qualifying round fixtures. The Stade Louis II hosts the first of two matches between the Monegasques and the Dutch giants which will decide who will advance to face Union Saint Gilloise or Rangers later this month.
How to watch the Champions League and the odds
- Date: Tuesday August 2 | Time: 2 p.m. ET
- Location: Louis II Stadium — Monaco
- Television/Live Broadcast: Paramount+
- Odds: ADM +105; Draw +270; PSV +230 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Monaco seek to avoid mistakes of last season
For Monaco, this is an opportunity to right the mistake of 12 months ago which saw the Ligue 1 outfit crash painfully against Shakhtar Donetsk in the play-off lap. Curiously, PSV will also be driven by their own painful memories of losing 2-1 to eventual quarter-finals SL Benficabut the manner was doubtless less agonizing.
A monstrous Ruben Aguilar own goal six minutes from the end of extra time was all that separated Niko Kovac’s men from the UCL group stage. Philippe Clément now leads ASM and oversaw an impressive nine-from-10 win streak to reach the playoffs as Champions League football looked unlikely for this season.
Aurelien Tchouameni, who moved to Real Madrid in the summer, played a key role in this surge in form which created a healthy price rise just as Monaco youth academy graduate Kylian Mbappe dismissed the Spanish giants . The reigning UCL holders went big on the French international midfielder after their success in Paris and the principality landed a hefty transfer fee which has since been directed to targets like Takumi Minamino and Breel Embolo.
Added to the likes of Wissam Ben Yedder, Benoit Badiashile and Youssouf Fofana, it’s a solid team and should be able to navigate between PSV and potential opponents Union or Rangers to reach the group stage. However, as usual, several Monegasque talents are sought after across Europe and the challenge for sporting director Paul Mitchell is to resist the temptation to cash in more.
Legendary Ruud van Nistelrooy leads PSV
From the Dutch side, PSV will be an interesting watch this season, regardless of their performance in the Champions League, as none other than Ruud van Nistelrooy makes his head coaching debut at Philips Stadion. The Dutchman started well with a Johan Cruyff Shield success against AFC Ajax and he will now make his second European debut on the bench.
Xavi Simons, Walter Benitez, Luuk de Jong and Guus Til entered while Mario Gotze, Ritsu Doan and Eran Zahavi moved on which leaves the Boeren in a strong position. Captain Marco van Ginkel and Cody Gakpo are part of a strong Dutch core while Philipp Max and Noni Madueke are part of an underrated group that could cause some surprises.
Monaco will know the likes of Simons, Benitez, Ibrahim Sangare and Olivier Boscagli, born in the principality, given their links with France, but the two teams are expected to be level. Clément will know many Belgian talents from PSV since his Club Brugge days and his group should shade Van Nistelrooy’s experience.
However, coming up against such a high-profile newcomer on the coaching circuit can often be tricky. There’s not much senior material to analyze and a big step up from youth levels where the old Manchester United and the Real Madrid man led Jong PSV to a middle spot in the Dutch second tier.
That could be to the benefit of the 24-time Dutch champions and especially with the second leg at home featuring memorable European nights in North Brabant over the years and one of their own now in charge. It promises to be a fascinating two-legged affair with a team of significant pedigree falling apart at this early stage.