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Spurs Odyssey Champions League Preview - Spurs v Borussia Dortmund, 13.09.17

See the current injury list for all Premier League Teams
All the Spurs Stats you could hope for here! THFC6061 Sports Stats


Spurs' record in Europe:-
The official crest of Tottenham Hotspur
 
U.E.F.A Champions League
 
 P  W   D   L   F - A
18  7   4   7  31 - 25
 
European Cup
P   W   D   L   F - A
8   4   1   3  21 - 13
 
(Semi-Finalists 1962)
 
European Cup Winners Cup
 
P   W   D   L   F - A
33  20  5   8  65 - 34
 
(Winners 1963)
 
UEFA Cup/Europa League
 P    W   D   L   F - A
140  78  36  26  276-121 
 
(Winners 1972, 1984
 Finalists 1974)
 The club logo of Borussia Dortmund 
Total
P    W   D   L   F - A
199 109 46  44  393-193

Here it comes - our first big test!

According to my records, this will be our 200th competitive match in European competition, and we will seeking our 110th win. I have to admit that in the process of accumulating this record, I must have missed several matches (I have not included the Inter-Toto cup), as the total does not tally with the excellent THFC 6061 statistics site.

Whatever the true figure, it is an indisputable fact that Spurs need to perform considerably better than they did in their last European game, when they drew at home to K.A.A.Gent in February. Because of that game, Dele Alli will not be available to Spurs in their first three games. Gent beat us 3-2 on aggregate, having won their home leg 1-0, but in the next round they were thrashed 5-2 at home by their compatriots Racing Genk. Spurs under-achieved against a moderate side which has failed to win a game this season, and which got kicked out of this year's Europa League by a similarly moderate Austrian side. On Sunday Gent drew at home to their conquerors of last season - Racing Genk. Incidentally, our crowd for that home match (80,465) became a Europa League record, but we won't be beating the Champions League record tomorrow night!

Of course, Spurs also need considerable improvement here against a team which convincingly knocked us out of the 15/16 Europa League. Have a look at the Spurs teams which played the away leg which we lost 3-0, and the home match, which was at least a close defeat.

In Germany we included Kevin Wimmer, Ryan Mason, Tom Carroll, Josh Onomah and Nacer Chadli in a team selection which astounded many Spurs fans. At home Wimmer, Mason and Chadli got the nod again, but our team was stronger. Mauricio Pochettino's priority in both our last two seasons was to maintain the challenge for the Premier League. It can surely be said that the arrival of Davinson Sanchez (Europa League finalist last season), Serge Aurier and Fernando Llorente strengthens our squad in its ability to compete both at home and in Europe this season.

One of our tormentors when we met Dortmund was striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who scored the opening goal in the away match, and both Dortmund's goals in the 2-1 home defeat. Aubameyang remains a goal machine for the German club, and had scored in 8 consecutive games for his club until they drew 0-0 away to Freiburg on Saturday. Dortmund are top of the early Bundesliga table with seven points from three games, leading only on goal difference from two other clubs.

It is arguable that Spurs are a stronger team than when we last met, whilst the German side will be weaker, not helped by injuries suffered on Saturday to defenders Marc Bartra and Marcel Schmelzer, neither of whom travel for this game. Neven Subotic, who did play against us in March 2016 might yet travel in time for kick-off, but he is reported to be suffering an illness. Last season Subotic played only for Dortmund's second team, or on loan to FC Koln. Marco Reus, who starred against us, and in many games for Dortmund, suffered a nasty knee injury in the DFB Pokal Final in May, and is not likely to return until November.

Manchester United's Henrich Mkhitaryan impressed against us for Borussia Dortmund in the Spring of 2016, but of course he was transferred in summer that year. This year the Germans lost another star player Ousmane Dembele, who arrived after we played this team, and who has now gone to Barcelona for a massive fee after the Spanish club sold Neymar to PSG. After that Dortmund bought Ukrainian International Andriy Yarmolenko, who has only made a late substitute appearance for his new club last Saturday.

Borussia Dortmund are now managed by Dutch-born Peter Bosz, who managed our own Davinson Sanchez at Ajax last season, so Sanchez has shared some thoughts and ideas with Mauricio Pochettino.

There can be no doubt that our two games against BVB will be the deciding factor regarding who qualifies for the last 16 from Group H. One assumes that Champions Real Madrid will win the group (not that anybody should concede that as a fact), and that whoever comes off the better of us and Dortmund will join the Spaniards in the blue riband European tournamment in the New Year. As such, I think it is essential that we win tomorrow, and get a better goal difference overall than the German side.

Our squad news is as predicted, with Dele Alli suspended, and Wanyama, Rose, Nkoudou and Lamela still on the injured list. Maurico now has to "manage the minutes" with seven games to be played between now and the end of September. Dembele is an obvious starter tomorrow, along with Eriksen, both of whom played less than 90 minutes on Saturday. Serge Aurier - a player with expereience at this level - might make a full debut at right back. How the team lines up, and in which formation remains in question, but Harry Kane is bound to start, and I fancy we will see something of Fernando Llorente.

I am looking forward to another Wembley night and the Champions League atmosphere with the theme, and the decor around the stadium. No doubt, Spurs will be wearing their all-white kit, supplied this year by Nike. You might like to Grab some offers on Spurs Merchandise here.

I think we will squeeze this game, and I am going for a 2-1 win, on the basis that goal machine Aubameyang is bound to score, but I hope we retain the excellent style and form shown at Goodison Park on Saturday to outscore the visitors.

Match referee Gianluca Rocchi was in charge for our "home" game last season at Wembley against Monaco, when we drew what was then a record Spurs crowd of 85,011 but lost the match 2-1 with Monaco's goals scored by Bernardo Silva and Lemar. Signor Rocchi is a prominent UEFA and FIFA referee and was in charge of the European Super Cup game last month when Real Madrid beat Man Utd 2-1.

"It was Twenty Years ago today!" - the world mourned Princess Diana. I mourned my beloved father.

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