Borussia Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park is renowned for its raucous atmosphere and this Europa League round of 16 first leg was no exception. The ‘Yellow Wall’ were in full voice for a near full-strength Dortmund; however, Mauricio Pochettino elected to rest half his stars, seemingly heavily prioritising the Premier League, despite what is up for grabs in this tournament.
The match started at a very good pace, with Dortmund quickly establishing their dominance and within the opening seven minutes a Gonzalo Castro shot flew just over the bar and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang played in Erik Durm, only for him to shoot wide under pressure from Hugo Lloris. Dortmund thought he’d given Dortmund the lead in the 14th minute after following in on a Mkhitaryan shot saved by Lloris, but the striker was rightly ruled offside.
The pattern of the game continued, with Dortmund continually looking to stretch Spurs with their width, making full use of both Marcel Schmelzer and Lukas Piszczek overlapping. It seemed the play was just beginning to settle when Dortmund took the lead. Spurs had struggled to properly clear their lines and when Castro laid the ball off for Schmelzer to cross, Aubameyang had pulled off the centre-backs and beat Ben Davies to head the ball inside the far post. The goal was no more than what Dortmund deserved and they continued to impose themselves upon their Premier League opponents up to half time with Mkhitaryan eloquently pulling the strings.
The second half brought no respite for Spurs as Dortmund continued to press home their advantage and on the 50th minute Aubameyang dinked the ball over an onrushing Lloris and as his shot ran wide, Castro just failed to put it in, hitting the post from the tightest of angles. It didn’t take long for Dortmund to extend their lead. Substitute Neven Subotic had not been on the pitch long when he flicked on a cross for Marco Reus to volley the ball into the net at the far post. The score line was beginning to reflect the home side’s dominance as the Tottenham players struggled to contain their Bundesliga counterparts.
Ten minutes later and it appeared that not only the match, but probably also the tie was over when Castro first-time chipped the ball deliciously into the path of Marco Reus, who made no mistake on the half-volley to give Thomas Tuchel’s men one foot in the next round.
It wasn’t until the 72nd minute until Tottenham’s Heung-Min Son had a sniff of a chance, but his shot was a comfortable save for Roman Weidenfeller. Son, along with all his team-mates, endured a difficult night in the industrial heartland of Germany. Even the introduction of Harry Kane failed to inspire the Premier League high-flyers and in truth, Dortmund could’ve won this game by more.
At 3-0, perhaps Spurs might have an outside chance if they can get off to a great start in the second leg next week at White Hart Lane, but that looks highly unlikely against this classy Dortmund side, who not only won this game at a canter, but could also be a good bet to win the tournament.
Dortmund: Weidenfeller; Schmelzer, Hummels, Bender (Subotic), Piszczek; Weigl, Castro; Reus (Ramos), Mkhitaryan; Aubameyang (Kagawa).
Subs: Bürki, Subotic, Ginter, Sahin, Leitner, Kagawa, Ramos
Tottenham: Llloris; Davies, Alderweirald, Wimmer, Trippier; Carroll, Mason; Chadli (Dembele), Eriksen (Lamela), Onomah; Son (Kane).
Subs: Vorm, Carter-Vickers, Walker, Bentaleb, Dembele, Lamela, Kane