It was billed as one of the best ties in the Europa League of all time, but the first leg certainly didn't live up to the hype. From the moment the teams were released, an hour before Borussia Dortmund took on Tottenham Hotspur at the Westfalenstaion, only one team was going to emerge victorious.
Dortmund dominated a second-choice Tottenham team, winning 3-0 on the night. BVB were in complete control for the entire match. Thomas Tuchel's men had a 63 percent share of possession and produced 20 shots while restricting Spurs to only three.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put Dortmund ahead in the 30th minute, with his 33rd goal in all competitions this season, when he calmly headed a cross past Hugo Lloris. BVB had a lot of chances in the first half, keeping Spurs on the back-foot throughout. The away side were quite lucky to only be down 1-0 at the halftime break.
xG map for BVB-Spurs. Answering the question, what if you had to play Dortmund but left your midfield at the hotel? pic.twitter.com/aWLdnoe5qM— Michael Caley (@MC_of_A) March 10, 2016
In the second half the fluidity of BVB's player movement in the attack proved to be too much for Tottenham. Marco Reus made it two for Dortmund in the 51st minute when he turned up at the back post to smash home from a short corner. The German forward then made it two for himself when he finished off what was an incredible piece of attacking combination play. Aubameyang found Gonzalo Castro who chipped a ball over Kevin Wimmer's outstretched foot to the back post for Reus. Reus volleyed past a helpless Lloris and gave Dortmund a commanding 3-0 lead going into next week's second leg in London.
21 - @BVB's 3-0 by Marco Reus was preceded by 21 passes, a joint-record this Europa League season. Team. pic.twitter.com/4gfZ5Z0DWe— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) March 10, 2016
Spurs fans were not happy with the lineup selected by Mauricio Pochettino before the game even started. Tottenham are still in the race for the Premier League title, and they obviously prioritized Sunday's game against Aston Villa over this one. Nacer Chadli, who is typically a winger, started at striker with Harry Kane on the bench. Mousa Dembele and Erik Lamela also only made appearances as substitutes, despite them being two of Spurs' most important players. Dele Alli (yellow card suspension), Eric Dier, and Danny Rose didn't even travel to Germany with the squad.
The rotation in Spurs squad made for a very one-sided first leg of a tie that was initially expected to be a great clash between European big boys.
Ilkay Gundogan missed out for Dortmund after he picked up a knock in training this week. His absence was barely noticed as Julian Weigl and Henrikh Mkhitaryan delivered masterful performances in the midfield.
Spurs midfield of Ryan Mason and Tom Carroll struggled to retain possession whenever they managed to win it back from Dortmund. Spurs best chance came from an early shot by Christian Eriksen in the first few minutes. Son Heung-min had a decent shout at a penalty but overall had a disappointing return to Germany. The South Korean international moved to Tottenham from Bayer Leverkusen this summer and had scored 5 goals in 6 games against BVB coming into the match.
Overall it was a very disappointing performance from a Spurs team that was talked up very highly going into the match, but it has to be said that Dortmund were at their best tonight. They were so good that the traveling Spurs fans applauded the BVB players after the game.
The lopsided result gives Tuchel's team a huge advantage ahead of the second leg at White Hart Lane, with many Dortmund fans already anticipating the draw for the Europa League quarterfinals.