Tottenham Hotspur will embark on their 2017/18 Champions League campaign as they host Borussia Dortmund tomorrow at Wembley.
Tottenham’s debut Champions League season at Wembley last time did not go particularly well as they finished third in their group after a string of disappointing displays. Things look a lot harder this season since they will have to continue playing all their home games at Wembley.
Moreover, having Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund in their group can also be detrimental to their progress. Speaking of Dortmund, the visitors were held to a goalless draw at Freiburg on Saturday, but prior to that they have been their usual free scoring self, beating Hertha Berlin, Wolfsburg, and Rielasingen-Arien.
Playing Dortmund will involuntarily bring up suppressed memories for Tottenham. The two sides met in the 2015-16 Europa League quarterfinals, which Dortmund won 5-1 on aggregate. However, Mauricio Pochettino’s priorities were different at that point and they will certainly hope to put up a stronger show this time.
Team News and Tactics
Dele Alli is suspended but new summer addition Serge Aurier is in contention to make his Tottenham debut following his move from Paris Saint-Germain. Erik Lamela, Danny Rose and Victor Wanyama all remain sidelined. As does Georges-Kevin Nkoudou, although the winger is close to returning to the team soon.
The omission of Mousa Dembele in their previous game against Everton was likely to rest him for Wednesday’s clash. Son Heung-Min was also rested and is likely to fill in the void left by Alli, who is suspended.
Facing a free-scoring attacking side like Dortmund will not be easy. Pochettino is expected to go ahead with Toby Alderweireld, Davinson Sanchez and Jan Vertonghen at the back. Harry Kane’s August jinx is done, and he will be eager to get a few goals against the German powerhouse.
Also, Ben Davies will play another full 90 minutes, as will Eric Dier in the absence of Victor Wanyama. The fact that Wanyama will not be a part of the squad could prove to be worrisome but Dier has proven to be a solid presence. Trippier going the distance on Saturday probably means a Spurs debut on the cards for Serge Aurier.
Predicted lineup (3-4-3): Lloris, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Dier, Dembele, Davies, Aurier, Eriksen, Son, Kane.
While Spurs have injury problems, so do Borussia Dortmund. Manager Peter Bosz will have to do without Marco Reus, Raphael Guerreiro, Andre Schürrle, Erik Durm and Sebastian Rode – all out with injuries.
The German club is known for decimating their opposition through unrelenting possession, and that is something they will try to do even against Spurs. In fact, Dortmund are one of the most proficient passing teams, and they enjoy a whopping average possession of 67 percent.
However, Dortmund have so far played against inferior teams – squads reliant on counter attack. Playing Spurs will definitely be a challenge since Pochettino’s men are truly a force to reckoned with. Attacking in a balanced manner – flying down the middle as much as on either wing – can provide them with the momentum they need.
Predicted lineup (4-2-3-1): Weidenfeller, Piszczek, Toprak, Sokratis, Toljan, Sahin, Castro, Goetze, Kagawa, Pulisic, Aubameyang.
- Tottenham and Dortmund’s only previous encounter was in the last 16 of the 2015-16 Europa League.
- Despite playing only three games in his Champions League career, Harry Kane has already scored two goals.
- Borussia Dortmund – winners in 1997 – are one of three German clubs to have lifted the European Cup, along with Bayern Munich (5) and Hamburg (1).
- Tottenham won just 33% of their Champions League games last season and lost 67% of their games at Wembley.
- This is Peter Bosz’s first Champions League campaign as manager.
Tottenham Hotspur 2 – 2 Borussia Dortmund
Tottenham were excellent over the weekend but it’s back to Wembley against Dortmund. While it might seem challenging, this could also provide them with the chance to break the infamous jinx. However, Dortmund are a very difficult side to face with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang up front and a strong midfield.
Pochettino’s men could hope to capitalize against Dortmund’s defence which could be a bit vulnerable against the force of an in-form Harry Kane. There is plenty of quality in both teams and it is hard to separate them on paper. Yet, the Wembley woes could come back to haunt the Spurs once again.
Having said that, The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-2 draw.