After a 3-2 first leg loss overshadowed by an attack on their team bus, Borussia Dortmund travel to Monaco looking to turn the tie around. They face an uphill task against the free-scoring French side but hope remains.
A week after a bomb attack on their team bus caused the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal against Monaco to be postponed until the following day, Borussia Dortmund travel to the principality for the return fixture looking to overturn a 3-2 deficit and reach the semifinal for the first time in four years.
After prosecutors raised doubts over the authenticity of letters claiming Islamist responsibility for the explosions which left Spanish defender Marc Bartra with a broken arm and his teammates in shock, it remains unclear who perpetrated the attack. Police are not ruling out involvement from the German extreme right or from the local criminal underground.
"We're not dreamers"
On the pitch, Dortmund bounced back from last week's events with a relatively comfortable 3-1 Bundesliga victory over Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, boosted by the return of Marco Reus from a six-week lay-off with a hamstring injury. The 27-year-old German international made an immediate impact, giving Dortmund the lead with a clever back heel after just 122 seconds. He was substituted at halftime as a precaution and is likely to start in Monaco, where Dortmund face a huge challenge to turn the tie around.
"We're not dreamers," said CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke at Dortmund airport on Tuesday morning. "We know that the chance is slim but it's still there!"
With trips to Borussia Mönchengladbach in the league and Bayern Munich in the cup to follow, the games are coming thick and fast for the Black and Yellows. The tight schedule was one reason why Dortmund agreed to rearrange the first leg so quickly, but the players say they are glad of the distraction.
"It's good that we have such a busy schedule to take our minds off things," goalkeeper Roman Bürki told Swiss newspaper Der Bund. "It's better than sitting on the couch and thinking about what happened."
Captain Marcel Schmelzer agreed, saying: "During the 90 minutes of the game it was easier. But at the end, everything you have kept inside under pressure comes out. Against Frankfurt we showed a lot of joy playing because we are happy to be here. We talk a lot about it to each other. I think it will weld us together as a team."
Aside from long-term absentees Mario Götze, André Schürrle und Sebastian Rode - and Marc Bartra, who has been released from hospital and is recovering at home - the team travel to Monaco with no new injury worries. Sven Bender, who was substituted against Frankfurt with a muscle strain, has travelled.
French league leaders Monaco warmed up for the second leg with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Dijon on Saturday, coming from behind at the Stade Louis II to maintain their three-point lead over Paris St Germain and keep them in the hunt for a first Ligue 1 title since 2000.
Midfielder Fabinho is suspended after picking up a yellow card in the first leg but highly-rated midfield partner Tiemoué Bakayoko returns from his suspension in his place. Marauding full-back Djibril Sidibé is still out injured and coach Leonardo Jardim (42) may consider replacing Andrea Raggi, who endured a torrid time against Christian Pulisic in the second half in Dortmund.
The Monégasques' formidable front four of Bernado Silva, Kylian Mbappé, Thomas Lemar and Radamel Falcao are all fit.