Match Preview: Borussia Dortmund vs Tottenham Hotspur

Champions League Preview

It’s fair to say that things are not going to plan for Peter Bosz at the minute. BVB’s grasp on top spot has been lost due to Bayern’s resurgence under Jupp Heynckes, Champions League qualification is hanging by a thread and a run of one win in eight in all competitions (a 5-0 against Magdeburg in the DFB Pokal) has things looking pretty bad right now. Things need to improve and they need to improve quickly. There really is no better stage for that then in against Spurs tonight in the Champions League. A win reignites Dortmund’s hopes of qualifying for the round of 16. A defeat signals the end of our quest for Champions League glory for another season.

Having suffered another defeat at the weekend, Peter Bosz needs wins soon. He has proclaimed his faith in staying calm and believing in his side’s ability before. Julian Weigl echoed that in yesterday’s press conference. “Everybody has to be there for everybody else. It is important that we go out onto the pitch as a unit and focus on our strengths.” The midfield was also at pains to point out that the communication between the players is as good as it has ever been. “We hold intensive discussions with each other and with the training staff. There is no rift.”

Bosz looked to take the pressure off his payers. “Nobody is expecting us to win. Maybe it is an opportunity to play a good game and to turn things around. The team need a win in order to get things going again after all the negative results.” Bosz reiterated his desire for Dortmund to remain calm despite the recent poor run of results, encouraging his side to do what they always do – play football. “It was important for me that the team showed the right attitude, continued to play good football afterwards, applied pressure, and created chances for themselves.”

The manager will be unable to select Sokratis Papastathopoulos for this game, leaving his defence without a staple component. The Greek international picked up an injury during the 2-1 loss to VfB Stuttgart which is likely to rule him out of not just this game, but the weekend’s Ruhr derby too. Christian Pulisic will also be missing due to a slight niggle, a rumour fuelled by absence from training on Monday. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang is likely to play some part however after the boss confirmed the disciplinary issue which caused him to be dropped from the squad for the game against Stuttgart has now been resolved.

Spurs themselves have had not had it all their own way lately. Having beaten Real Madrid 3-0 at Wembley in their last game in Europe, they followed that by turning in an underwhelming performance in a 1-0 win over bottom side Crystal Palace in the Premier League. Their first game back after the international break saw them go down disappointingly in the North London derby, losing 2-0 at the Emirates to Arsenal. Mauricio Pochettino is keen for his side to move on from that defeat quickly though. “The players were still disappointed about the result, of course,” he said. “That was our first time (Mauricio’s first league derby loss) in three-and-a-half years and yes, you feel bad and very disappointed. The effort was massive from the players trying to get a good result but we’re very disappointed for different reasons. Now we have to keep going and get ready for Borussia Dortmund. Okay, we’re already in the next stage of the competition but we want to win and try to change the feeling we have from the weekend.”

Pochettino will be without the services of Toby Aldeweireld for this game. The Belgian centre half is struggling with a knee injury and his absence will be a big loss to Spurs, evident in how easily they were carved open by Arsenal on Saturday dinnertime. Victor Wanyama is also on the missing list having picked up a knee injury. Erik Lamela has returned to action, playing 60 minutes for the under-23’s, but this game is likely to have come too soon for him.

Big things are needed for BVB tonight. We are without a win so far this season in Europe and the recent slump has played havoc with our confidence. That said we have not been particularly bad and are always in games. One does get the feeling that one could turn everything around. A win here, against a Spurs side who have been very impressive this season, could be the perfect springboard. A loss would see our elimination from the competition confirmed and the slump continue, or even worsen. No pressure then.