Tottenham Hotspur vs Borussia Dortmund Preview: Champions League Match Preview, where to watch and more
The UEFA Champions League returns this week, and on Wednesday we are set to be treated to one of the most intriguing matches of the Round of 16, as Tottenham Hotspur of England play host to Borussia Dortmund of Germany at Wembley.
Despite suffering from some injury issues lately – key players Harry Kane and Dele Alli have both been shelved – Tottenham have been on good form in the Premier League, winning 4 matches in a row and most recently dispatching Leicester. But they’ve also been knocked out of both domestic cups.
Dortmund meanwhile are flying in the Bundesliga and currently top the table, 5 points clear of nearest rivals Bayern Munich. They’ve lost just one domestic game thus far – a 2-1 defeat to Fortuna Dusseldorf in December – as it took a penalty shoot-out for Werder Bremen to knock them out of the DFB-Pokal.
To add some intrigue to the tie, the two sides have a bit of history in the Champions League stemming from the 2017/18 edition of the competition. But who will come out on top this time?
Date: 13th February 2019
Time: 20:00 (local time), 01:30 (IST)
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London
TV Coverage: BT Sport 2 (UK), TNT (USA), Sony Six (India)
Last 5 Champions League fixtures
Tottenham Hotspur: L-D-W-W-D
Borussia Dortmund: W-W-L-D-W
Tottenham Hotspur: 2 wins
Borussia Dortmund: 2 wins
Draws: 0 draws
Will Dortmund’s longer layoff help?
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has been spitting feathers in the media this weekend, complaining about how Dortmund’s longer rest between games could help them in the upcoming fixture at Wembley. Blaming the Premier League’s broadcast schedulers, he’s not happy that Spurs had to play Leicester City on Sunday, while Dortmund’s draw with 1899 Hoffenheim took place on Saturday – giving the German side an extra day off to prepare.
Whether this will help Dortmund is anyone’s guess – it’s true that Spurs have struggled with their packed schedule this season at times due to a relatively small squad, but then last time they beat Leicester in Premier League action – in December – they went on to capture the point they needed against Barcelona to qualify for the knockout phase of the Champions League.
Can Sancho make history again?
Dortmund’s teenage superstar Jadon Sancho has been making waves all season since jumping to the Bundesliga from Manchester City’s academy in the summer of 2017. He’s scored 8 goals in all competitions thus far in 2018/19 and in October, he made history by becoming the first English player to score a Champions League goal while playing for an overseas club.
On Wednesday, Sancho will be looking to go one further by becoming the first English player to score for an overseas club against English opposition in the Champions League – something global stars like David Beckham, Michael Owen and Steve McManaman couldn’t do. And coming off a Man of the Match-level display this weekend, who would bet against him pulling it off?
Will Spurs continue their streak against Dortmund?
The 2017/18 group stage of the Champions League looked tricky for Tottenham, as not only were they drawn against holders Real Madrid, but they would also have to face Dortmund – the side who dumped them out of the 2016/17 Europa League. As it turned out though, the challenge of the German side proved to be an easier hurdle than was initially expected.
Goals from Harry Kane and Heung Min Son gave Spurs a 3-1 victory over Dortmund at Wembley in September 2017, and in the return match at the Westfalenstadion, the same players scored again to hand Spurs a 1-2 win. Granted, Dortmund won’t have Kane to deal with this time – but Son has been on fire lately, scoring 3 goals in his last 3 games. If he keeps up this hot streak, Dortmund could be in trouble.
Dortmund may need to tighten up their defence
For the majority of this season, Dortmund have been simply irresistible, blowing opponents away week-by-week in the Bundesliga. Saturday’s match with Hoffenheim appeared to be no different, as Lucien Favre’s side flew into a 3-0 lead after 66 minutes with goals from Jadon Sancho, Mario Gotze and Raphael Guerreiro. But incredibly, less than 20 minutes later, Hoffenheim were level after a 3-goal glut between the 75th and 83rd minute, and the match ended as a draw.
That’s a worrying prospect when Spurs are on the horizon. Mauricio Pochettino’s men have defined ‘never say die’ throughout this season, and 3 of their most recent 4 wins have been achieved by goals in the last 10 minutes. And in Champions League action, late goals against PSV Eindhoven, Inter Milan and Barcelona all contributed to their qualification for the knockout stages, a feat which looked impossible when they took just 1 point from their first 3 games.
Essentially, Dortmund can’t afford to let up for a second on Wednesday; even if it looks like it’s game over, with Tottenham it’s never over until the final whistle blows.