The Champions League knockout stage is now officially in full swing after the first day of games that saw PSG and Roma come away with wins. It is now Dortmund and Tottenham’s turn to take the European stage on Wednesday night at Wembley stadium in London, or at least some of Dortmund and Tottenham. Both teams come into the game with significant injuries to their starting elevens that leave this game very up in the air and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.
For Dortmund, Julian Weigl, Marco Reus, Paco Alcacer, Lukasz Piszczek and of course Manuel Akanji are out for this match. This is about as bad as you could ask for in terms of injuries. Add on to the injuries the fact that BVB are not exactly playing at top form anyways and we could see a team that struggles mightily to keep up. The team must quickly forget about their blown opportunity against Hoffenheim without Reus and now try to steal any sort of positive result they can in a hostile environment.
Tottenham has recently been playing about as well as could be hoped for given their own battle with injuries. They have won four straight in the Premier league, standing in third place, five points behind first. A lot has been made of the battle between Liverpool and Manchester City, but Tottenham are quietly having a great season, which seems to be the norm for them.
A month ago, it looked like Tottenham would be at an extreme disadvantage in this game when Harry Kane was announced to be out for an extended period of time, but the playing field has certainly been leveled, and maybe even tipped in their favor with the injuries to Dortmund since then. Kane is still out with a knee injury and the Spurs will also be without Dele Alli, Ben Davies, and Vincent Jansen.
This game could get ugly for both teams, and it is really tough to project a match with so many top tier players on the sidelines. Someone on one of these teams will need to step up. In the end, I see that being Christian Eriksen and Heung-Min Son before I see it being Jadon Sancho and Mario Gotze. I think Tottenham at home will be a little more desperate to come away with a victory, and Dortmund with so many injuries on defense will need to sit back more to cut down on costly miscommunications. They will need to keep the game within reason for the second leg at home.
Prediction: 1-0 Tottenham
I don’t think Dortmund will have the offensive firepower to make much of an impact on that side of the ball, but I am optimistic the team will rise to the occasion of the Champions league and refuse to let the opportunity to advance get out of reach for the second leg.