Borussia Dortmund travel to London with a sizable 3-0 advantage for the second leg of their Europa League Round-of-16 tie with Tottenham Hotspur.
Many people have already placed BVB into the Europa League quarterfinals because of the result of the first leg and Spurs' prioritization of their campaign in the Premier League. But still this week Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has spoken of his desire for Spurs to give it a go on Thursday.
"We will try to win the game and turn the tie around," said Pochettino. "It will be difficult because we have Borussia Dortmund in front of us and think they are one of the best teams in Europe, but we need to try."
Spurs players certainly tried in the first leg, but their team that was selected at the Westfalenstadion was one that was without various first choice players. Harry Kane, Mousa Dembele, and Erik Lamela all started on the bench, while Dele Alli, Danny Rose, and Kyle Walker didn't even make the trip to Dortmund with the squad. With the tie now shifting to White Hart Lane it is likely that some of these players will feature in this second leg, but have Dortmund opened an insurmountable lead?
There is one notable case in BVB's history of them losing a similar lead in European competition. In 1987 Dortmund beat Club Brugge of Belgium 3-0 in Germany only to then lose 5-0 on the road in the second leg.
Thomas Tuchel will be making sure to instill the idea that the matchup is not over and done with yet to avoid his players taking the field in North London with any hints of complacency. While Spurs may not field their strongest team again, Dortmund will certainly put out a strong team as they've got a great chance of going very far in this competition.
Sven Bender is dealing with a muscle injury and may not be available, but Sokratis has returned from injury and may play after missing the first leg in Germany. Jan Vertonghen and Clinton N'Jie are out injured for Spurs, but now Mousa Dembele and Christian Eriksen have picked up minor knocks and may not feature.
Spurs strategy of resting players for the Premier League paid off as they easily won 2-0 at struggling Aston Villa on Sunday. Dortmund were also victorious by a score-line of 2-0 when they beat Mainz on the same day.
The first leg between these two teams was eventful on and off the field. Dortmund showed their attacking prowess throughout as they dominated Tottenham with high pressure and quick passing. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opened the scoring with his 33rd goal in all competitions, and it didn't get any better for Spurs. Marco Reus added two brilliantly taken goals to seal an impressive result on the evening for Tuchel's men. Julian Weigl didn't get on the scoresheet but still managed to have an immense performance in the midfield. He was quick to shut down Spurs attacks and distribute the ball forward to his skillful attackers up the field.
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The events off the field were concerning as 17 Spurs fans were injured by police while they attempted to get into the stadium before the game. UEFA has charged Dortmund due to a blocked stairwell in the ground, but are also reportedly investigating what occurred outside the ground. The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust will meet with Dortmund officials once more while they are in London for this contest.
If Spurs are to make a miraculous comeback they will have to score three goals and keep a clean sheet just to force extra time. One BVB goal would probably be enough to put the tie to bed as it would give the visitors a crucial away goal at White Hart Lane. If Dortmund advance as expected and continue to play the type of football that got them to this point, they will feel confident about earning a spot in the final in Basel on May 18th.