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Spurs Odyssey Europa League Preview - Borussia Dortmund v Spurs, 10.03.16

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Spurs' record in Europe:-
The official crest of Tottenham Hotspur
U.E.F.A Champions League
 P   W   D   L   F - A
12   5   3   4  25 - 19
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
136  78  35  23  273-113 
(Winners 1972, 1984
 Finalists 1974)
P    W   D   L   F - A
189 107 46  38  378-179
The club logo of Borussia Dortmund 

Achtung! Imposing match ahead!

Just when we thought the draw for the Europa League Round of 16 would send Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp back to Dortmund, it was Spurs who drew the Bundesliga's second-placed side. The kindest thing that can be said about the draw is that we do play the away leg first. Another factor is that with our next Premier League game away against lowly Aston Villa, Mauricio Pochettino can surely play his strongest team in Germany, and re-assess fitness levels for Villa.

It's a hard game for Spurs without a doubt, but they are all good teams now in this round, and all 16 teams have played Champions League football - not necessarily this season.

Borussia Dortmund have a stronger pedigree than most, having won the Champions League back in 1997 (beating Juventus 3-1), and finishing runners-up to Bayern Munich in 2013. It was Jurgen Klopp who took the Germans to that final with a magnificent aggregate win over none less than Real Madrid. They won the home leg 4-1, with all four goals scored by Lewandowski including one penalty. A 2-0 away defeat was not enough to stop Klopp's men going to the final.

Klopp announced his intended departure last April, and took a sabbatical before taking on the challenge of Liverpool. Borussia Dortmund's head coach now is Thomas Tuchel, previously at FSV Mainz. Tuchel seems to have had a moderate playing career as a defender with Stuttgarter Kickers and SSV Ulm, before taking on management roles at Augsburg, Mainz and now Dortmund. Tuchel led Mainz to the Europa League in 2014, and his current charges are certainly in good form right now.

Dortmund are second only to Bayern Munich, who they hosted on Saturday, drawing 0-0. There is a massive 16 point gap between Borussia Dortmund and third placed Hertha Berlin. Champions League football looks assured for next season, whereas the German side had to start this season's Europa Leaue in the third qualifying round. They came second in Group C, three points behind Krasnodar, who have been knocked out to Sparta Prague. Borussia Dortmund beat Porto 3-0 on aggregate in the Round of 32.

Dortmund's current form is that they are unbeaten in all competitions for 13 games, drawing only two of those matches. They've scored 59 goals in 25 Bundesliga games, and have a goal difference of +34. Goalscorer-in-chief is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has 22 league goals, but a moderate 4 in Europa League games. Aubameyang's scoring rate since Christmas has not been anywhere near as strong as that in the Autumn period, when he scored three hat-tricks. Aubemyang was born in France, and previously played for Saint-Etienne before signing for Borussia Dortmund in 2013.

Dortmund's squad includes German Internatonal midfielder Marco Reus; Henrikh Mkhitaryan, once of Shakhtar Donetsk; and Japan's former Man Utd attacking midfielder Shinji Kagawa.

Borussia Dortmund last won their league title in 2011-12, and finished seventh last season. They lost the German Cup Final to Wolfsburg, who had finished runners-up in the league last season.

The most imposing element of Thursday's match could well be the fact it will be played in the massive Westfalenstadion, which has a single tier stand that can hold a 20,000 mass of yellow-shirted fanatics. This stadium and its wall of sound can surely be regarded as a great influence towards the design of our own new stadium. Whilst the German Stadium has a capcity of 80,000 it is reduced on safety grounds for European games, and will be 60,000.

The club's logo "BVB 09" signifies its foundation in 1909 and its full name of Ballspielverein Burussia Dortmund. The club is also known as the "Black and Yellows" or the "BVB".

Spurs have never played Borussia Dortmund in a competitive game, but met most recently in pre-season games in 2006 and 2008. We drew in 2006 in Germany, and won 3-0 in The Feyenoord Jubileum Tournament in 2008, with goals from Darren Bent, Giovani Dos Santos and Jamie O'Hara. Darren Bent is now on Derby's books butt doesn't get much game time. Giovani is still playing International football for Mexico, but he is playing his league football with LA Galaxy. Jamie O'Hara is now playing at Fulham.

We know that Dele Alli is suspended from this leg of the tie, due to his third booking in the tournament in the last match against Fiorentina. That allows Dele a much-needed rest anyway, as he is apparently carrying a couple of knocks. Danny Rose is described as a doubt following his withdrawal against Arsenal, but it would be Ben Davies' "turn" to play with Kieran Trippier in this game anyway. I suspect Ryan Mason will start this game, with Dembele perhaps getting a rest for Sunday. It is quite amazing to think that Ryan Mason's first senior game for Tottenham was in a European match back in November 2008, when he came on as a 90th minute substitute in Holland against NEC. Ryan was just 17, and got his introduction thanks to Harry Redknapp. Ryan had to wait another four years for two more brief appearances at Europa League level, and a domestic league cup debut for Tottenham.

It is going to be a tough and imposing game in a difficult venue for away teams and fans. Obviously a draw would be a good result for us, and an away goal would be a bonus. I think the best we can hope for is a 1-1 draw.

The referee and his officials are all from Turkey. Referee Cuneyt Cakir has not officiated for us before, but is an experienced UEFA referee. We have seen both the "additional assistants" before. Huseyin Gocek refereed our 2-0 defeat in February last year against Fiorentina, and Baris Simsek was an "additional assistant" on that occasion.

Please note that due to my travel arrangements, my match report will not be online before Friday night. the post-match survey will be posted via social media asap after the game tomorrow evening.

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