STAR PREVIEW: Spurs v Dortmund

When this draw was made it was one of the most anticipated Last 16 ties and there’s every chance that Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund can give us a cracker to watch at Wembley tonight.

Both sides will give themselves a fair chance of progressing through to the quarter-final. Spurs will be relieved to have recovered the services of Heung-Min Son before this tie but they are still missing a great deal of talent, especially in the case of Harry Kane and Dele Alli, for whom this tie comes just too soon.

Perhaps even more worryingly for the Lilywhites, they have a crisis at left back with Danny Rose set to make the bench at best whilst Ben Davies is also out, meaning that Pochettino will either have to ask Jan Vertonghen to fill in or play a back five, handling Dortmund an effective opportunity to go forward.

However, they are a resilient bunch with a reasonable amount of strength in depth and they have bounced back from being knocked out of two cup competitions with three straight wins in the Premier League to keep them on the edge of the title race.

Dortmund have also had some struggles recently. The visitors were dumped out of the DFB Cup on penalties by Werder Bremen after twice losing an extra time lead in a 3-3 draw, before they then squandered a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 at home to Hoffenheim in the league at the weekend. The week before that, they’d lost another lead, this time to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Before one focuses too much on recent mistakes, it should be remembered that Dortmund are five points clear in the Bundesliga and that they also topped a group including the miserly Atletico Madrid, and Luicen Favre’s men are by no means the brittle unit that disappointed last season, going out in the Last 16 of the Europa League.

Favrre does have an injury problem, though. Yes, the hosts are missing Harry Kane, but the visitors are also missing Marco Reus. The world class forward has scored 13 and made six more in the Bundesliga alone, so he will be a huge absence, but it is a mark of how good Jadon Sancho is now that the youngster surely sees it as a chance to step up.

Sancho, arguably the most promising English talent around, has seven goals and nine assists in the Bundesliga whilst the on loan Francisco Alcacer has scored 16 goals this season, so the visitors come with plenty of firepower.

There is a slight temptation to side with Dortmund at the prices. Spurs have been very impressive for much of the season but Pochettino will have to work hard to cover this defensive gap he has and their three wins on the bounce came against Watford, Newcastle and Leicester. It took goals in the 83rd and 87th minute to be sure of the first two victories and Leicester dominated a wild game on Sunday when they missed a penalty, won the shots on target count 9-5, the shots off target count 9-2, and the corners count by the same margin.

Tottenham Hotspur v Borussia Dortmund
UEFA Champions League Last-16 1st Leg
20:00 BT Sport 2 / BT Sport 4K UHD

HEAD TO HEAD RECORD
(Maximum 10 matches, from last 10 years)
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

But Dortmund have lost the lead in their last three games and at the moment their defensive form cannot be trusted to hold up, making over 2.5 goals the attractive option here. It would have landed in all of the four games between the two so far.


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