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Tottenham v Dortmund: Match Preview
The script was written for Tottenham Hotspur’s season to fall to pieces.
Eliminated from both the Carabao Cup and FA Cup in the space of four days, injuries to Harry Kane and Dele Alli cast a dark cloud over north London even before Heung-Min Son was whisked away to the Asia Cup at the most inopportune moment.
But, remarkably, Spurs have continued to find a way to win.
Late victories over the likes of Newcastle, Fulham and Watford have seen the Lilywhites creep back into contention at the top of the table despite missing a number of key men.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino has long been linked with a move to bigger and better projects with both Real Madrid and Manchester United thought to be long-term admirers of the Argentine tactician – and on the evidence of this season, the 46-year-old will be hard to keep a hold of when the big boys come calling.
Now tasked with upsetting the Bundesliga leaders, Dortmund, without Messrs Kane and Alli, the odds would appear to be against Spurs once again as they attempt to venture past the last 16 of the tournament for the first time since 2011.
Momentum could be in their favour, however, with South Korean sensation Son in the form of his life ahead of the German outfit’s visit.
The 26-year-old has 11 goals and five assists for Spurs this season but his energy and work rate often set the tempo for the rest of his team-mates to follow.
Christian Eriksen has also ticked along with a series of quietly impressive outings of late while Danny Rose, who had looked set for the exit door at times over the past 12 months, has rediscovered his best form at just the right time.
Spurs’ wing backs will need to be on top form when they welcome Dortmund to Wembley on Wednesday with the German giants boasting a terrifying array of attacking talent in a youthful squad hungry to prove their worth.
Chelsea-bound Christian Pulisic was only deemed good enough for the bench at the weekend having been usurped in the starting line-up by Raphael Guerreiro and Jadon Sancho, while fellow benched youngster Jacob Bruun Larsen is believed to be the next rising star in the team’s prolific production line of talent.
Sancho has undoubtedly been the story of the season for Dortmund so far, topping the Bundesliga’s assist charts with nine while contributing seven goals.
At 18, the former Man City man, who was brought to the Westfalenstadion for a fee reported to be worth just £8m in 2017, has shown frightening talent beyond his years and will only continue to improve with the opportunities manager Lucien Favre has afforded him.
The teenager has featured in every league game for Dortmund so far this season and should be considered a key man for the visitors when they are welcomed to Sancho’s hometown on Wednesday evening.
Top scorer Marco Reus faces a race to be fit in time for the first leg against Spurs after sitting out during the weekend’s 3-3 draw with Hoffenheim with a thigh problem.
Reus, 29, has scored 17 goals and registered 11 assists in all competitions and would be vital to Die Borussen’s hopes of pinching an away goal at Wembley.
Tottenham v Dortmund: Manager Quotes
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino: "The extra charge is there. You can feel the energy in the eyes of the players. It is completely different. I don't know why... but you can feel that it's the Champions League.
"You can feel that it's going to be a massive game with, I hope, a full stadium at Wembley and the energy and motivation is going to be there.
"If not, we are not ready to compete in this type of situation and you can start to think we have some problem but I think we are going to find the energy and give our best to try to be close to winning.
On Tottenham's upcoming break: "First we are going to have a few days to rest and recover. I am going to reward the players whatever happens against Dortmund. They deserve some days off to spend time with the family and breathe a little bit because the fixtures schedule was crazy up until today.
"I saw the other day on TV that from the beginning of December we were the best team in the Premier League. That spoke very highly of the squad, the players and they fully deserve all the credit.
"We're doing a fantastic job. The players are giving their best in difficult circumstances and I am so proud to be in front of these players."
Dortmund manager Lucien Favre: To follow.
Tottenham v Dortmund: Team News
Eric Dier and Erik Lamela have returned to training after both missed Sunday's win over Leicester City, Dier because of a virus and Lamela due to a back problem.
Danny Rose sustained a shin wound against Leicester and will be assessed though Mauricio Pochettino confirmed the left back would not be fit enough to start.
Vincent Janssen is ineligible for Wednesday’s match while Dele Alli (hamstring), Ben Davies (groin) and Harry Kane (ankle) are all out injured.
Dortmund captain Marco Reus will miss the game due to a thigh injury. Julian Weigl (illness), Paco Alcacer (shoulder) and Lukasz Piszczek (foot) are all out of the clash too. Mario Goetze could feature up front at Wembley.
Tottenham v Dortmund: Head-to-head
After four European clashes between the two teams, it is honours even - although Spurs' recent Champions League double over the German visitors could give them the psychological edge.
|21/11/17||Champions League||Dortmund 1-2 Tottenham||Aubameyang; Son, Kane|
|13/09/17||Champions League||Tottenham 3-1 Dortmund||Kane 2, Son; Yarmalenko|
|17/03/16||Europa League||Tottenham 1-2 Dortmund||Son; Aubameyang 2|
|10/03/16||Europa League||Dortmund 3-0 Tottenham||Reus 2, Aubameyang|
Tottenham v Dortmund: Key Stats
• Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund are facing each other for the third time in the last four seasons in European competition. Their head-to-head record is balanced, with two wins each.
• Tottenham won their two previous encounters with Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, it came in last season’s group stages (3-1 at Wembley, 2-1 at the Signal Iduna Park).
• Borussia Dortmund have never failed to score against Tottenham in European competition (4 games).
• Borussia Dortmund have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League for the fifth time in their last six campaigns whilst this is the first time Tottenham have reached the knockout phase in consecutive seasons.
• Among the 16 remaining teams in the Champions League, Tottenham were the only side to post a negative goal difference in this season’s group stages (-1).
• All 19 goals scored in the Champions League this season by Tottenham (9) and Borussia Dortmund (10) have come from open play.
• Eight of Tottenham’s nine goals in the Champions League this season have come in the second-half (89%).
• No team has scored more goals in the last 15 minutes of Champions League games this season than Borussia Dortmund (5). Their bench has also been the most clinical with five goals coming from substitutes.
• No team conceded fewer Champions League goals than Borussia Dortmund in this season’s group stages (2 in 6 games).
• Harry Kane has been directly involved in 48% of Tottenham’s goals in the Champions League over the last three seasons (16/33), scoring 13 times and assisting on three occasions.
• Raphael Guerreiro has scored four of Borussia Dortmund’s last five goals in the Champions League. He is the top Portuguese scorer in this season’s competition (4 goals).
Tottenham v Dortmund: Match Odds
All odds correct with bet365 at time of writing