Tottenham Hotspur go into the second leg of their Europa League tie with Borussia Dortmund with almost no chance of advancing to the quarter-finals of the competition.
Spurs lost 3-0 in Germany, leaving them with an uphill battle, and the North London club will not be expected to turn the result around.
An early goal from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, which was the Gabon international striker’s 33rd of the season, set Thomas Tuchel’s side on course for victory at Signal Iduna Park. But two further goals from Marco Reus all but killed the tie as a contest.
The Premier League title challengers will still hope to turn things around, but are most likely playing for pride. Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is most probably wishing that he didn’t pick a second-string side in Dortmund. Harry Kane was on the bench, while Eric Dier was left in England. Central midfielder Dele Alli also missed the game through suspension, while the Argentine once again rotated his full-backs.
However, Tottenham are looking to win their first top flight title in 55 years and with Pochettino looking to close the gap on current Premier League leaders Leicester City, it is clear that the ex-Southampton boss has made winning the title his main priority. But after Sunday’s win over Aston Villa, Spurs will go into the game with a little more confidence.
Pochettino has confirmed that it is highly likely that Christian Eriksen and ex-Fulham midfielder Mousa Dembele will be rested. The duo missed training on Wednesday and it appears that Pochettino would rather not risk the midfielders worsening their respective injuries.
One bit of good news for Spurs fans is that Jan Vertonghen and Clinton Njie have returned to light training after recovering from knee injuries.
Meanwhile, Dortmund, who have not conceded in 327 minutes of European football, have left some key players back in Western Germany. Ilkay Gundogan and Sven Bender, the German internationals, have not travelled to White Hart Lane with the squad.
Full-back Erik Durm is a doubt after picking up a knock against Mainz at the weekend, while the prolific Aubameyang could be rested ahead of Dortmund’s Bundesliga trip to Augsburg on Sunday.
League Position: Tottenham Hotspur – 2nd (Premier League – 58 pts); Borussia Dortmund – 2nd (Bundesliga – 61 pts)
Previous Meeting: Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Tottenham Hotspur (March 10, 2016)
Form: Tottenham – WWLDLW; Borussia Dortmund – WWWDWW
Key Men: Tottenham – Dele Alli; Borussia Dortmund – Marco Reus
Shoot Says: Tottenham 1-1 Borussia Dortmund