Weighing up the second leg of tonight’s last 16 tie between Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham Hotspur, both of whom are finding that their seasons have crumbled a great deal from promising pre-Christmas positions, is a very difficult task.
To say that Spurs arrive here in the driving seat would be an understatement; their late show of force at Wembley, with goals from Jan Vertonghen and Ferando Llorente, means they hold a 3-0 lead on aggregate, an advantage that has been turned around only twice, both times with the help of an away goal.
Dortmund will be frustrated at their position, given that they managed to compete reasonably well in the first half when some felt they were the better team, although the pressure from Tottenham was ramped up significantly in the second half, especially as Toby Alderweireld began to really restrict Jadon Sancho and the large amounts of Dortmund players who went forward left gaps for Spurs.
Whilst Spurs deserved their win, Dortmund’s defensive mistakes have thrown away what was looking like a very promising season. They were in with a chance until Achraf Hakimi drifted away from Jan Vertonghen and the defending for Llorente’s header was even worse on a number of counts.
Since then they’ve let their advantage over Bayern in the Bundesliga slip – the two are now level – and there were two more defensive howlers in Friday’s defeat at Augusburg, making it just two clean sheets in their last 12 games.
The positives for them are that they now have the return of talisman Marco Reus, who scored 13 goals and made six more in the Bundesliga alone, and of course home advantage. Dortmund have won 13 of their 15 home games in all competitions this season and amongst those is a 4-0 defeat of Atletico Madrid, so this tie is not over – they should be encouraged by the fact that they have scored twice in 12 games.
Spurs have also hit the rails since then. Spurs had no answer to Burnley’s relentless and smartly used energy, before howlers from Hugo Lloris and Kieran Tripper condemned them to defeat against Chelsea.
They were staring another defeat in the face in the North London Derby before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s lackadaisical last-minute penalty was saved by Hugo Loris, before Jan Vertonghen – who had encroached the box whilst the penalty was being taken – made a last ditch challenge to prevent him putting in Alex Iwobi’s cross.
Borussia Dortmund v Tottenham Hotspur
UEFA Champions League Last-16 2nd Leg
20:00 BT Sport 2 / BT Sport 4K UHD
HEAD TO HEAD RECORD
(Maximum 10 matches, from last 10 years)
FEB 2018 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Tottenham 3-0 Borussia Dortmund
NOV 2017 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Borussia Dortmund 1-2 Tottenham
SEP 2017 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Tottenham 3-1 Borussia Dortmund
MAR 2016 EUROPA LEAGUE Tottenham 1-2 Borussia Dortmund
MAR 2016 EUROPA LEAGUE Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Tottenham
Spurs are not hitting their incredibly high standards at the moment and as such, they don’t appeal, but neither does the ‘evens’ on the hosts given their defensive issues. Spurs have scored in every Champions League match and should go through by doing so again but it may be eventful.
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