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Spurs Odyssey Champions League Preview - Spurs v Borussia Dortmund, 13.02.19

Last season's game - Spurs 3 Borussia Dortmund 1, 13.09.17
See the current injury list for all Premier League Teams
All the Spurs Stats you could hope for here! THFC6061 Sports Stats

Spurs' record in Europe:-
The official crest of Tottenham Hotspur
U.E.F.A Champions League
 P  W   D   L   F - A
31 13   8  10  57 - 43
European Cup
P   W   D   L   F - A
8   4   1   3  21 - 13
(Semi-Finalists 1962)
European Cup Winners Cup
P   W   D   L   F - A
33  20  5   8  65 - 34
(Winners 1963)
UEFA Cup/Europa League
 P    W   D   L   F - A
140  78  36  26  276-121 
(Winners 1972, 1984
 Finalists 1974)
  The club logo of Borussia Dortmund
P    W   D   L   F - A
212 115 50  47  419-211

Familiar and formidable opponents

This will be the fifth time we face Borussia Dortmund since we first played against them in March 2016 in the magnificent Westfalenstadion. That was in the Europa League Round of 16 game, and we lost 3-0 with Aubameyang scoring the opener and Marco Reus scoring BVB's other two goals. That margin of defeat left us little hope for the return leg which was played at White Hart Lane, and so it proved with Aubameyang scoring twice before Son Heung-min scored our solitary goal.

"Sonny" was in his first season with Spurs, and had previously played in Germany for five and half years for both Hamburg and Bayer Leverkusen. It was the following season when Son first got into double figures regarding Premier League goals for Spurs, and now he has achieved that mark in three consecutive seasons.

I remember being quite overwhelmed by the two-way love affair between the BVB fans and their players who lined up across the penalty area in front of the wall of fans which was the model for our South Stand, which we have sadly yet to see filled. It is such a shame that this game is being played at Wembley and not our new home, and that two of our three home games against the German side have been at Wembley.

Aubameyang of course now plays in "another place", but Reus, who was applauded off by both sets of fans at White Hart Lane remains a stalwart for Dortmund, and is their top league scorer this season with 13 goals. Reus has scored in 6 of the last 8 games and is rightly regarded as the main danger of the Bundesliga leaders. Reus did not play in Saturday's dramatic 3-3 draw against TSG Hoffenheim, and I understand he will miss tomorrow's game with a thigh injury. Despite the massive fee paid by Chelsea for the American midfielder Christian Pulisic (who was immediately loaned back to the German side till the end of the season), Pulisic has not been a regular starter this season, although we have seen him in both the 2016 and 2017 meetings.

Those 2017 meetings were happier for Spurs, of course. Both were in the Champions League Group H, which we won with Borussia Dortmund finishing third behind Real Madrid. Both Son and Kane scored in both those games. At Wembley in September 2017, Harry Kane scored twice. Both Harry and Dele Alli remain in the rehabilitation stage, but there is a suggestion that both could be fit for Burnley on 23rd February.

Sadly we were knocked out of last year's Round of 16 by Juventus, and getting past this Dortmund side will be perhaps an even more massive task. BVB finished top of Group A, beating Atletico Madrid both on goal difference, and head to head, because they beat them 4-0 at home and lost 2-0 away. Monaco and Club Brugge were weaker opponents I would argue than those we faced - Inter and PSV.

These days, BVB are managed by 61 year old Swiss man Lucien Favre, who has a long history of management in Switzerland and Germany. His last two seasons were spent with Nice, but here he is with Dortmund who top their league by 5 points from Bayern Munich. BVB are 8 points ahead of Borussia Monchengladbach who are one of Favre's former clubs.

Close behind Reus in the Bundesliga scorers' list is Francisco Paco Alcacer, who has 12 league goals in all. Alcacer came on for the last 20 minjutes only against Hoffenheim. The Spanish International spent the first part of the season on loan from Barcelona, but has now been signed permanently. Alcacer had a run of seven consecutive games in September and October when he scored, and hit a total of 11 goals for club and country in those games. he scored one of Spain's goals in their 3-2 home defeat by England. Perhaps most remarkably, he came on with half an hour left to play in a Bundesliga game against Augsburg and scored a hat-trick in a 4-3 home win including a last minute winner. Alcacer is another likely absentee with a shoulder injury and it is thought that Mario Gotze will start up front. Gotze is a seasoned German International and formerly played for Bayern Munich, although he started his career with BVB. Gotze scored on saturday against Hoffenheim. He featured in both our Champions League meetings last season.

Another player to watch is 18 year old Jadon Sancho, signed in 2017 from Man City, and who has already had exposure at England senior level. Sancho has scored eight goals in all games so far this season, and provided plenty more, I am sure (10 in the Bundesliga). The 18 year old played a starring role in Dortmund's 3-3 draw on Saturday. They had been 3-0 up, but allowed their visitors to score three goals in the last fifteen minutes.

Mauricio Pochettino was understandably upset at the fact that our opponents played their weekend league game a day earlier than we did. On top of the known absences of Kane, Dele and Ben Davies, Mauricio revealed that Danny Rose has to be assessed tomorrow due to a shin wound sustained on Sunday. Mauricio said, "It's impossible for him to start from the beginning. Tomorrow morning we will assess whether he can be on the bench and help the team."

Rose's absence could mean Jan Vertonghen playing at left back against the rapid Sancho. Eric Dier and Erik Lamela are back in training and hopefully in contention. Perhaps with the unexpected absences in the Dortmund team, and hopefully a big crowd, Spurs can overwhelm their formidable opponents and take a lead to Germany on March 5th. Encouraged by this latest information, I'll go for a 2-1 Spurs win!

Match referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz and his officials (including VAR officials) are from Spain. Senor Lahoz is 41 years of age and very experienced. His last game was "El Classico" in the Copa del Rey last weekend when Barcelona and Real Madrid drew at the Camp Nou. Senor Lahoz refereed two World Cup Finals games last summer. He has been in charge of three previous Spurs games in European competition. these were 1) our 3-0 home win against Inter in the Europa League in March 2013, 2) a 1-0 away defeat against Dnipro in February 2014, and 3) our 1-0 away win against CSKA in September 2016 in the Champions League. Son scored our winner that day.

"It was Twenty Years ago today!" - Spurs drew 1-1 at Elland Road in an FA Cup 5th Round game. Tim Sherwood scored our goal.

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