Tottenham continue their Champions League campaign when Borussia Dortmund visit Wembley in the last-16 first leg on Wednesday.
Here Football Paradise looks at Spurs’ talking points ahead of the game.
Rose’s fitness a thorn in Spurs’ side
Tottenham will be without an out-and-out left-back as Danny Rose has been deemed not fit enough to start so it looks as if centre-back Jan Vertonghen will have to play there. That is more than likely going to see him up against Jadon Sancho, who has been giving Bundesliga defenders nightmares all season. How the 31-year-old, who is not known for his explosive pace, is going to get on against the teenager is a fascinating battle and could be one of the keys to the outcome of the game.
Kane still not able
Mauricio Pochettino called it from an early point, but there was still a sliver of hope that Harry Kane might have been fit enough to make the bench for Tottenham given his recovery from an ankle injury has gone better than expected. Kane is back in training and looked to be moving well on social media videos he has posted over the last couple of weeks, though when he did not appear during the 15-minute open session at Hotspur Way on Tuesday morning the writing was on the wall. Dele Alli, who is also back in training, is not fit enough either, but both are expected to make it for the second leg.
Son Heung-min has stepped into the limelight in the absence of Kane and Alli and Spurs will again be looking to him at Wembley. The South Korean has bagged 10 goals in his last 11 matches, including three in three which has helped Spurs to nine Premier League points. Son, who used to play in the Bundesliga for Bayer Leverkusen, has happy memories of playing Dortmund. He scored in both matches against them in last season’s Champions League group stages as part of a run of eight goals in 10 matches against the German side, and he particularly terrorised them at Wembley last season. Spurs will be desperate for more of the same.
Boss Pochettino has openly admitted that playing at Wembley is beginning to have a negative impact on his side as the wait for their new stadium to open goes on. They have won their last three games there, not in exactly convincing fashion, but attendances have dwindled with just 29,000 fans turning up for the recent midweek win over Watford. Pochettino and Jan Vertonghen have both produced rallying cries in attempt to get the fans to produce an atmosphere that can inspire the team and that will be important as Spurs will want to take a positive result to Dortmund for next month’s second leg.
Going one better
There was a sense that Spurs blew it last season when they lost to Juventus in the last 16. They had negotiated their way to top spot in a group stage containing Real Madrid and Dortmund and then brought a 2-2 draw back from Juventus in the first leg before conceding two goals in three minutes in the second leg to crash out. On paper this appears an easier tie for Spurs to navigate than the Juve one, though it is also undoubtedly a much sterner test than when facing Dortmund last year. Spurs are yet to win a home knockout game in the Champions League, having drawn against Inter Milan and lost to Juve in previous attempts, so Wednesday would be a good place to start.
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