By 90Min
November 20, 2017

Borussia Dortmund take on Tottenham Hotspur at Signal Iduna Park, as the English side look to secure a win which would guarantee them top spot in the group.

After a disappointing defeat against Arsenal at the Emirates, Spurs will be hoping to bounce back in Europe's biggest competition. Many would not have foreseen how this group of death has panned out, with Spurs topping the tree and looking the best side equipped to advance to the next stages. After a strange start to the season for the London club, with points hard to come by at their new home stadium it seemed a daunting task when at the time high flying Dortmund came to town in mid-September. 

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However, after a blistering start and solid performance throughout Spurs went on to win 3-1 and secure their first win of the group. Displays in Europe this season have been crucial for Spurs, as it seems they have grown in belief after wins against Apoel Nicosia and reigning champions Real Madrid. Spurs have shown this season that they have learned from last year's failures in the Champions League and will be hoping to go as far as possible in this year's competition.  

As for Dortmund, the game at Wembley in September has had the opposite effect on them compared to Spurs. Peter Bosz's side were looking like runaway champions in the Bundesliga before the match against Mauricio Pochettino's men, but ever since then they have looked anything but champions. Defeat's in the league against Leipzig, Hannover, Bayern Munich and most recently against Stuttgart, have seen the Yellow and Black drop to fourth in the league, with key players misfiring. 

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Goal machine Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang has not scored in any competition since his brace back in mid-October against Leipzig. Bosz's style of play has been subject to criticism with teams finding it easy to split open the defence on a regular basis. Europa League is the realistic aim for der BVB, with a place in the knockout stages of the Champions League very unlikely. 


Classic Encounter

It was a mouthwatering tie as Dortmund took on Spurs in the last 16 of the Europa League in 2016. Going into the game, Spurs were hitting top form with the Premier League in their sites. As for Dortmund, they were enjoying a good spell under new boss Thomas Tuchel and were hoping to add some silverware to their trophy cabinet. 

Spurs rested a host of big names for the tie, with Dortmund naming their strongest possible side. The home side had a goal ruled out early in the first half, with Aubameyang caught offside after tapping in from close range. However, it wasn't soon until the Gabon striker had his name on the score sheet. A great whipped cross from Marcel Schmelzer was headed in superbly by Aubameyang with Hugo Lloris left with no chance. 

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Dortmund had chance after chance and dominated the game, and in the second half Marco Reus smashed the ball into the roof of the net from 5 yards out, and gave Dortmund a 2-0 lead. The final goal of the game was a thing of beauty. After initial build up play, Gonzalo Castro played a magnificent ball over the Spurs backline and on hand was the ever composed Marco Reus who guided the ball brilliantly with his right foot on the half volley as the ball arrowed into the top left hand corner. 

Dortmund advanced to the next stage of the competition after a 2-1 win at White Hart Lane in the return leg. 


Key Battles

Weigl vs Eriksen

Julian Weigl has been outstanding since arriving from 1860 Munich three seasons ago, however his game time this season has been somewhat limited due to injury. With this being said, when the midfielder is on form Dortmund rarely lose. Controlling the midfield with his passing and interceptions, Weigl is tipped to be Germany's next big star, with Joachim Low a keen admirer of the youngster.

As for Eriksen, fresh off his man of the match display against Ireland for Denmark, he will be hoping to replicate his form for his club as they hope to progress to the top the group. The outcome of the match could rest on this key battle, as the two can control any game on their day. 

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Kane vs Aubameyang

The most obvious key battle of the match. Harry Kane has been on top form this season and will be hoping to add to his impressive tally for the year. For Aubameyang, as mentioned earlier the Gabon striker has been in somewhat of a drought and will be hoping to break his duck against the London club, but it will not be easy against a Spurs defence who has only conceded two goals in Europe this season. 

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Team News

Borussia Dortmund

Turkish defender Omar Toprak is a doubt for the Germans after picking up an injury. Apart from that, der BVB are full strength, with the obvious exception of Reus, Lukasz Piszczek and Erik Durm. 

Tottenham Hotspur

Midfielder Victor Wanyama is still out for a while, with Pochettino unsure of the return date. Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld will also be missing for the rest of the year due to injury.


Predicted Line Ups

Borussia Dortmund (4-1-2-2-1): Burki/ Bartra, Sokratis, Zagadou, Schmelzer/ Weigl/ Castro, Gotze/ Yarmolenko, Philipp/ Aubameyang.

Tottenham Hotspur (3-4-2-1): Lloris/ Sanchez, Alderweireld, Vertonghen/ Trippier, Winks, Dier, Rose/ Alli, Eriksen/ Kane.


Prediction

A misfiring Dortmund side will be low in confidence coming into the game, and with the defense still in disarray Spurs will go to Germany gunning for all three points. A 2-1 victory for the away side is on the cards, with der BVB continuing their struggles in Europe, and Spurs further demonstrating why they should be taken serious in this years competition. 

Borussia Dortmund 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur

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