Match Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Borussia Dortmund

Match Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Borussia Dortmund

The Champions League makes its return tonight and sees Borussia Dortmund travel to Wembley to face Tottenham Hotspur. Dortmund will be hoping to put the disappointing 0-0 against Freiburg on Saturday behind them by getting off to a good start in Europe. While Spurs will be looking to carry on their fine form from their last outing when they convincingly beat Everton 3-0 at Goodison Park in the Premier League.


Going into the game, Dortmund have a remarkable 9 players missing through injury. Julian Weigl continues light training after a long term ankle injury, while Andre Schurrle, Sebastien Rode, and Erik Durm also miss out. Marco Reus and Raphael Guerrero are still recovering from respective surgeries. Marcel Schmelzer was stretchered off on his return to action in the Black Forest on Saturday with suspected ruptured ankle ligaments, which could keep him out for a while. Marc Bartra was also taken off during that game with a groin strain. The latest casualty is Neven Subotic, who departed training early on Tuesday after taking ill.


Despite the full physio room, Peter Bosz remained upbeat in his pre-match press conference yesterday and was looking forward to facing some of his ex-players. “He is a good player even though he is still young,” Bosz said. “What surprised me was that he played the final of the Copa Libertadores, which he won, and without any vacation, he came to us and after one week he played the whole season, never injured and always working hard in training. I think he became a better player, especially with the ball. Without the ball, he is a monster – strong in the air, fast – but with the ball at Ajax, we had a certain way of playing and he adapted.”


Spurs have selection problems of their own, with Dele missing through suspension. The young England midfielder picked up a red card in Spurs’ Europe League tie with Gent last season and will begin his 3 match suspension tonight. Erik Lamela, Danny Rose, and Victor Wanyama miss out through injury, as does Kevin-Georges N’Koudou although he is close to a return. Serge Aurier is expected to make his debut after moving to North London from Paris Saint Germain on Deadline Day. Pochettino is keen to put the emphatic win over Everton behind him though and encourage consistency within his ranks. “The group will be very tough. We played well against Everton but now we need to improve and show more consistency,” Pochettino said. “Tomorrow is so important. To start well and get three points will be key to the future. It will be tough, Dortmund are a great team.”


Spurs go into this game with everybody talking about their form at Wembley. They have moved into their temporary home while their new White Hart Lane stadium is completed. They are due to move in at the start of next season but, in the meantime, all of their games will be played at the home of English football. However, their Wembley form makes for stark reading. They haven’t won there since 2008 when they beat Chelsea in the Carling Cup final. Since then, they have lost two F.A Cup semi-finals and another Carling Cup final to their London rivals, as well as a third Carling Cup final at the hand of Manchester United. Last season they lost all 3 games at Wembley while playing their Champions League games at the stadium. This season they have been beaten 2-1 at home by Chelsea and drawn 1-1 with Burnley. The mental block of their stadium is of much controversy at the moment and Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping that it is an issue sorted quickly, starting tonight.


Peter Bosz will be hoping to start his first Champions League campaign on the right foot tonight too. The former Ajax manager led his side to the Europa League final last season and will want to transfer that form onto his new team. BVB last reached a European final in the 2012/13 season, when they were beaten by Bayern Munich in the Champions League final – at Wembley. Bosz will be looking to recreate Jurgen Klopp’s heroics this season and in tonight’s game, at the scene of Dortmund’s most bitter disappointment. West London will prove to be the perfect place to start the journey to Kyiv.