Tottenham, Borussia Dortmund Open Play in Rigorous Champions League Group

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Tuesday September 12th, 2017

Tottenham Hotspur will aim to maintain a relatively good start to the Premier League with a win in their opening Champions League Group H fixture against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday evening.

Spurs could only manage two wins in the Champions League last season and subsequently finished third in their group, while Dortmund eased into the quarterfinals before losing to last year's dark horse Monaco.

With Spanish giants Real Madrid also in Group H, both sides will want a win to ensure qualification for the knockout stages, and here's everything you need to know ahead of the clash at Wembley Stadium:


Form

LINDSEY PARNABY/GettyImages

An impressive 3-0 win away at Everton ensures that Spurs go into Wednesday's game sitting 5th in the Premier League, but a coveted win at Wembley still evades them.

So far at 'home' Mauricio Pochettino have lost to Chelsea and drawn against Burnley, although with Harry Kane once again firing their wait for a Wembley win should not be too long in the waiting.

Peter Bosz' visitors are leading the Bundesliga so far this season and are yet to concede in the league.

A recent draw with Freiburg may have taken away Dortmund's 100% league record, but a respectable 3-0 win away at Wolfsburg looks to have set the pace for BVB this season and they will be very capable of picking up an away win on Wednesday.


Classic Encounter

Image by Freddie Carty

The last time Dortmund came to London they disposed of a much-changed Tottenham Hotspur side 5-1 on aggregate in the 2016 Europa League Round of 16.

After a weakened Spurs side was punished 3-0 in the first leg, Pochettino strengthened his team for the reverse fixture, but was still outclassed by Thomas Tuchel's side expertly led by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Any hopes of a dramatic comeback were quashed when Aubameyang netted 24 minutes in despite Spurs having the majority of possession in the first half.

A swift counter attack was finished again by the Gabonese frontman with 20 minutes to go and although Son Heung-min managed to get a goal back, a home win was never likely and Dortmund went on to reach the Quarter-Finals.


Key Battle

Harry Kane vs Sokratis & Ömer Toprak

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It was well documented that Tottenham striker Harry Kane struggled in the opening month of Spurs' season, and it was no surprise that the club were sitting 9th in the Premier League after three games as a result.

Pochettino's side clearly have enough quality to not have to rely on the England frontman, but how well Kane deals with Dortmund's experienced backline will go a long way in deciding the result of Wednesday's clash.

Dortmund third skipper Sokratis and teammate Toprak have over 600 appearances between them and are both fairly strong in the air, which may become important as Kane is normally used as a target man by Spurs.

Both defenders are also quicker than your average centre-back, and so if they manage to keep Kane quiet then Spurs may be in trouble, considering that Real Madrid also feature in Group H.


Team News

Image by Freddie Carty

Mousa Dembélé is expected to return to the starting lineup after starting on the bench against Everton, but Victor Wanyama remains out and Moussa Sissoko should be fit enough to shake off the knock he picked up on Saturday.

Danny Rose is a long-term absentee and so Ben Davies will remain in an almost full-strength starting eleven.

Tottenham will now feel the big loss of Dele Alli for their first three European games after his horror tackle against Gent as Spurs bowed out of the Europa League last season. 

Injuries to captain Marcel Schmelzer and defensive partner Marc Bartra means that Dortmund will be without two key players in their back line when they visit on Wednesday.

Toprak and Dan-Axel Zagadou are expected to deputise, but BVB are still without key figures Marco Reus, Raphael Guerreiro, Andre Schurrle, Erik Durm and Sebastian Rode.

Predicted Tottenham Hotspur Starting Lineup (3-4-2-1): Lloris; Alderweireld, Sánchez, Vertonghen; Trippier, Dier, Dembélé, Davies; Eriksen, Sissoko; Kane.

Predicted Borussia Dortmund Starting Lineup (4-3-3): Bürki; Piszczek, Sokratis, Toprak, Zagadou; Castro, Şahin, Götze; Philipp, Aubameyang, Pulisic.


Prediction

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Tottenham Hotspur's Wembley woes have seen them drop points to Burnley and Chelsea, and given Dortmund's strong start to the season it would be a suprise to see the North London side gain an easy victory.

The loss of two key BVB defenders could play in Spurs' favour, but with Aubameyang around and Mario Götze starting to regain his form, it will be tough to see Pochettino's side get anything more than a draw.

Prediction: Spurs 1-1 Dortmund

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