Tottenham Hotspur need to build an advantage on home soil when they host Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie on Wednesday (20:00 GMT, live on BT Sport).
Spurs seemed to be headed for an early elimination following a draw and two defeats in their first three matches of the group stage. Two wins and a draw thereafter saw them pip Inter Milan to second and qualify for the last 16 alongside group winners Barcelona.
The task now for Mauricio Pochettino’s side is to go further than the stage at which their previous Champions League campaign ended. Despite strong performances in both legs, particularly away in Italy, Juventus edged them out at this juncture last time around. In Borussia Dortmund, they face less experienced but no less difficult opposition.
Spurs did win home and away to Dortmund in the group stage of last year’s competition, but that was a difficult year for the German side. They return to London as a much stronger outfit under new head coach Lucien Favre.
Dortmund currently lead the way in the Bundesliga and made it through the group stage of the Champions League as the winners of a group also featuring Atletico Madrid and Monaco. Favre has quickly formed an adaptable team adept in all phases of play: in possession and on the counter-attack, in pressing a little higher or in dropping deep to defend.
Much of the pre-match focus has centred on young England winger Jadon Sancho, who has been excellent in providing eight goals and 11 assists in all competitions. In terms of ball progression and connecting things together in attack, the more unheralded left-sided pairing of Achraf Hakimi and Raphael Guerreiro has been just as vital to their strong form.
Dortmund do, though, come into Wednesday’s match on the back of dropped points in each of their last two Bundesliga encounters, and having been eliminated from the domestic cup on penalties by Werder Bremen. On Saturday, they gave up a three-goal lead at home to Hoffenheim to draw 3-3, allowing Bayern Munich to close to within five points at the top.
Spurs are likely to be without two of their prime attacking talents on Wednesday, with Harry Kane – Tottenham’s top scorer with 20 goals in all competitions, including four in Europe – and Dele Alli both expected to miss out. Dortmund, too, have doubts over the fitness of Marco Reus, their top scorer this season with 17 goals in all competitions.
Spurs continue to maintain their strong position in the upper reaches of the Premier League table despite various injury issues throughout the campaign that have highlighted the relative thinness of their squad. To be just five points off the top at this stage speaks highly of Pochettino’s work; a fourth straight top-three finish now looks to be on the cards.
On the balance of chances, Spurs were slightly fortunate to run out 3-1 winners at home to Leicester on Sunday, but an excellent performance from goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and clinical finishing saw them secure a fourth straight league victory. Heung-Min Son continued his superb form by scoring in a third straight game since returning from South Korea’s disappointing Asian Cup campaign.
After being eliminated from both domestic cup competitions in January, Spurs will now hope to extend their European campaign into the last couple of months of the season, perhaps even long enough to play a game or two in their new stadium, where delays in completion have necessitated their continued use of Wembley as a home venue.
Dortmund don’t have particularly great memories of that famous stadium. In addition to their loss there to Spurs last season, they were also defeated there by Bayern Munich in the 2012-13 Champions League final. Neither have they ever found England a particularly hospitable host: they have lost seven of their previous 12 matches away to English sides.
Our Preview’s Tottenham Hotspur vs Borussia Dortmund Betting Tips Verdict
While they are undoubtedly a very good side, Dortmund are not perfect, and Spurs will feel they have the necessary tools to compete with them on Wednesday. They have largely managed to find ways to keep getting results despite their injury problems. The odds offered by the top rated UK bookies look to underrate their chances of emerging triumphant again. That provides an opportunity to back Spurs for victory.
- Bet on Tottenham Hotspur to win @ best odds of 11/8 with Betfred.
- Latest outright winner Champions League betting from the most important online firms.
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