Tottenham came back from the brink to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League. Their reward is a tricky tie against Bundesliga league leaders Borussia Dortmund. It won’t be an easy task for the Premier League side, but they have the quality to get through to the next round. They will take confidence that they got the better of the Germans during the group stages of the competition last season.
It is long debated whether it is an advantage to play the first leg at home or not. Tottenham will host Dortmund on Wednesday night and it is important that they take a lead into the second leg. If they fail to win at home, the German side will be full of confidence back in their own country. The injuries to Harry Kane and Dele Alli have hampered Spurs’ preparation. The impetus will be on Son Heung-min and Christian Eriksen to play a starring role in the first leg.
Lucien Favre has had an excellent first season in charge of Dortmund so far. The club are sat top of the Bundesliga and will be confident that they can finish the season as champions, breaking Bayern Munich’s dominance during recent seasons. They have injury problems of their own as Marco Reus is set to miss the game on Wednesday. However, there remains a lot of talent in the squad and they will be a team that can cause problems for Tottenham.
Son Heung-min has scored eight goals in ten appearances against Borussia Dortmund during his career.
Borussia Dortmund conceded only twice during the group stages. No defence conceded fewer goals than the Bundesliga leaders.
The South Korean has been a revelation this season and is becoming the team’s most important player. His development under Mauricio Pochettino has been remarkable and there will be a lot of teams watching his progress over the coming months. Last year, the media were talking about Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen as the players to watch at Spurs, but the former Bayer Leverkusen is quickly becoming the standout player at the club. His dynamism on the ball marks him as a special talent, as he is excellent at creating room for himself to get a shot away. The 26-year-old has contributed 11 goals and five assists in the Premier League, with an average of 2.7 shots per game. Although he hasn’t scored in the Champions League this season, he will be the player that Dortmund fear on Wednesday night.
The teenager has become the poster boy for British players moving abroad and a good performance at Wembley will only emphasise that point. Favre has a lot of faith in the teenager and he will be the player that the country is wanting to watch on Wednesday. There is a feeling that the winger could be the best player to be produced in England for a long time. The irony is that he is receiving his senior football education in Germany. In the Bundesliga, he has contributed seven goals and nine assists, which is remarkable for a player of his age. At the weekend, he was unplayable against Hoffenheim, with an excellent goal and some incredible contributions in possession. His record in the Champions League is less remarkable, but the stage will be set for him on Wednesday night.
There is an outside chance that Harry Kane is available for the home side, but Dele Alli is likely to miss out. Ben Davies remains a few weeks away from a return. Moussa Sissoko is expected to retain his place in the middle of the park.
Marco Reus is unlikely to be passed fit for the visitors, in what is a major blow for Dortmund. Manuel Akanji is also expected to miss out. Paco Alcacer could be given the start, despite being much more effective as a substitute this season.
This could be one of the games of the round, as they are two even teams. It is difficult to pick a winner on Wednesday, as Dortmund have the quality to cause Tottenham a lot of problems. There will be goals and a score draw looks to be a good bet, given the similar quality of the two teams.