Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League quarter-final first leg at home to Monaco on Tuesday pits two of Europe’s most prized strikers against each other.
Dortmund’s free-scoring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Monaco’s 18-year-old sensation Kylian Mbappe will go head to head at the Westfalenstadion.
Here, we take a closer look at both forwards.
Aubameyang, 27, has developed from a dangerous yet unpredictable speed merchant into a lethal goalscorer in his near four seasons at Dortmund. Under studious Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel, his football brain and especially his finishing have improved immensely, with his pace still a key weapon in his armoury, along with his ability in the air.
Mbappe only made his Ligue 1 debut 16 months ago and is already being compared to Thierry Henry and, inevitably, being linked to just about every big club across the continent. At close to a decade younger than Aubameyang he is naturally rawer, but he too possesses fearsome and impressive upper body strength, as well as an impressive temperament.
Aubameyang already has more than 100 Dortmund goals and his 25 goals in 25 Bundesliga games this season is behind only the 27 scored by Lionel Messi and Edinson Cavani in Europe’s major leagues. The Gabon international has 32 goals in 35 games in all competitions this season, having hit 39 in total last term. His seven in seven in Europe included a hat-trick in the second leg of their last-16 meeting with Benfica.
Mbappe, last season yielded just one goal, but this season he has firmly announced his arrival with 19 goals in 33 games in all competitions. He made his senior France debut last month and the way he ran Manchester City’s terrified defence ragged in the last round shows he looks suited to the big stage.
Aubameyang is on a hot streak, with 11 in his last eight games in all competitions. Saturday’s defeat at Bayern Munich was the first match he has failed to find the net in since mid-February.
Mbappe is without a goal in his last three games for his club, but scored 13 in 12 games in February and March, including in both legs against City.