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Spurs Odyssey Europa League Preview - Spurs v Borussia Dortmund, 17.03.16

Last week's game - Borussia Dortmund 3 Spurs 0
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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
137  78  35  24  273-116 
(Winners 1972, 1984
 Finalists 1974)
P    W   D   L   F - A
190 107 46  39  378-182
The club logo of Borussia Dortmund 

All we need is a miracle

As Mike & The Mechanics once almost sang - all we need is a miracle tomorrow night when Borussia Dortmund come to town. That miracle of a three or four goal win is about as likely as the proverbial rocking horse s**t.

Mauricio Pochettino has announced today that both Mousa Dembele and Christian Eriksen will "be assessed" tomorrow. Rightly or wrongly, I take this as a signal that neither will play, and that we will be once again fielding what we might call a "gash" side.

Not only do I expect to see a line-up similar to that which was so well beaten last week, but to be honest, I will be upset if we do field a strong team tomorrow, after basically surrendering the tie in Germany. Let's have no heroics tomorrow, but let's concentrate on securing Champions League football for next season, with perhaps even a tilt at the title.

UEFA's press kit describes last week's 3-0 defeat as our biggest "over 90 minutes in our 137 UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League games. It is not our only three-goal margin of defeat in such games, as we lost 4-1 in the San Siro on 14th March 2013 to Inter. As we had won at home 3-0, the precious extra-time goal by Emmanuel Adebayor took us through on away goals. There will be no such miracle for Spurs in this game.

There have been two other three goal defeats in European competition. The first was as far back as December 1963, when we lost 4-1 at Old Trafford, and got knocked out of the Cup-Winners' Cup we had so gloriously won in the previous May, but failed to defend. We had won at home 2-0 through goals by Dave Mackay and Terry Dyson, but Jimmy Greaves got the only Spurs goal in the second (away) leg. This was the game in which Dave Mackay sustained his first broken leg in a challenge by Noel Cantwell. That occurred after only 8 minutes, and these were the days of no substitutes, of course. David Herd and Bobby Charlton both netted twice.

Another 4-1 Cup-Winners' Cup defeat came in Munich in November 1982 at the hands (or should I say feet) of Bayern Munich, who beat us 5-2 on aggregate. Steve Archibald had scored in a 1-1 home draw, and Chris Hughton got our consolation goal in Munich.

Those who do not include the Inter-Toto Cup in their records (UEFA unfortunately do refer to our 1995 8-0 Inter-Toto Cup defeat to FC Koln) need to look to our solitary Champions League campaign of 2010-11 for our biggest margin of defeat in Europe, when we lost 4-0 in The Bernabeu. On that occasion Adebayor (on loan from Man City) scored twice against us, along with one future and one past Man Utd player - Di Maria and Ronaldo. It was a not a pleasant experience. That was another game when we went a man short, because Peter Crouch was sent off after only 15 minutes for a second bookable offence. (Real Madrid 4 Spurs 0, 05.04.11)

No doubt the fans of our visitors will get a better reception at the gates of White Hart Lane than did some our travelling fans at the Westfalenstadion, when they were directed to the wrong access point, and then found the gates closed against them. Dortmund face an official enquiry into incidents which led to injuries to Spurs fans, as well as the delayed entrance to the ground.

"The BVBs" won their league game on Sunday 2-0 against head coach Thomas Tuchel's former team FSV Mainz. The goals came from Marco Reus (so impressive against us) and Shinji Kagawa, once of Man Utd. Wing-back Erik Durm is doubtful for our game, having been taken off with injury at half-time. Midfielder Ilkay Gundogan hasn't played since early this month and is also unlikely to face us tomorrow.

I am sure our team will resemble that for last week's game more than that which beat Aston Villa on Sunday. Maybe Michel Vorm will get a game, and I suspect Eric Dier will start this one, having been rested last week. Alderweireld and Wimmer will probably be required again, although one of those two may get a rest in favour of Dier. The likes of Trippier, Davies, Mason, Carroll and Chadli will have a chance to redeem their performances of last week, with the incentive of being heroes. Dele Alli is available after suspension, but do we really want to see him tomorrow?

The match originally sold out, but from what I hear, many Spurs fans have given up the ghost, and have been trying to sell on their tickets. I'll be there, but I don't expect that miracle, and I think we'll do well to get a draw against one of Europe's top teams on current form.

Spurs are now so much involved in European competition that they often encounter a European referee on more than one occasion. This is the case tomorrow, when our match referee Nicola Rizzoli comes to White Hart Lane for the second time. Signor Rizzoli's previous visit was on 13th April 2011 when we faced Real Madrid in our Champions League quarter-final second leg game. In one respect, the tie was in a similar state, because that 4-0 defeat in The Bernabeu. The second leg was a formality. We did gain some respect by only losing the home leg 1-0. Perhaps we can do more than just gain respect tomorrow. All the on-field match officials are from Italy.

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