Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping to take his side’s good form and confidence into the Europa League last-16 first-leg against Borussia Dortmund on Thursday night.
Spurs came from a goal down to draw 2-2 against 10-man Arsenal at the weekend, but they were disappointed to only secure a point at White Hart Lane as they look to win the Premier League title for the first time in their history.
But a point against their North London rivals showed that there was no lasting effects from their midweek defeat to West Ham United. Before those two London derbies, Spurs had gained maximum points from their previous two league outings.
Pochettino’s side overcame Fiorentina 4-1 on aggregate in the last-32 after putting on a stellar display against the Italian side. But Dortmund will be a totally different challenge.
In fact, many Spurs fans will think that this is the toughest tie they could have possibly got. Like the North London club, Thomas Tuchel’s side are second in their domestic league, and although they have little chance of catching Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, they are still full of confidence.
Dortmund have a reliable and formidable front three of Marco Reus, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The latter has registered 29 goals in 33 appearances this season and Spurs will find it difficult to keep the trio quiet.
The German giants are unbeaten in 11 games in all competitions – with nine of those being wins – and are yet to lose at home this term. So it is clear that Pochettino’s side will need to be at their best if they are to overcome their opponents.
Spurs boss Pochettino will be without some key players at Signal Iduna Park. England international midfielder Dele Alli, who has made a huge impact since his move from Milton Keynes Dons, is suspended for the first-leg.
He will be a big loss for Spurs as the central midfielder has been one of the most creative players in the side this season.
Another central midfielder who has not travelled to Germany is Eric Dier. Tottenham have decided to rest the former Sporting Lisbon man, while left-back Danny Rose will be missing as he felt cramp in his calf in the latter stages of Saturday’s Premier League draw with Arsenal.
Belgium international defender Jan Vertonghen remains sidelined with a knee injury, while summer signing Clinton Njie has a similar injury which rules him out.
Opposing manager Tuchel, meanwhile, has no new injury concerns.
League Positions: Borussia Dortmund – 2nd (Bundesliga – 58 pts); Tottenham – 2nd (Premier League – 55 pts)
Previous Meeting: This is the first competitive fixture between Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham
Form: Borussia Dortmund – WWWWWD; Tottenham – DLWWLD
Key Men: Borussia Dortmund – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang; Tottenham – Harry Kane
Shoot Says: Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Tottenham