Tottenham will seek inspiration from the Club Brugge class of 1987 as they attempt to overturn a 3-0 deficit in their Europa League last-16 tie against Borussia Dortmund at White Hart Lane on Thursday.
Only once have Dortmund failed to progress in a European tie having won the first leg at home, with Club Brugge proving their nemesis in the UEFA Cup in the 1987-88 season.
On that occasion, the Belgian club progressed 5-3 after extra-time to shock Dortmund, but it would take a huge leap of faith to suggest Tottenham can emulate that feat and make it to the quarter-finals.
Dortmund were irresistible in the first encounter at Signal Iduna Park, with Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and a Marco Reus brace doing the damage, and if anything the scoreline was flattering to Spurs.
Moreover, Dortmund have yet to be lose in 2016 and were equally impressive in a 2-0 win against Mainz in the Bundesliga on Sunday, which was overshadowed by the death of a spectator in the ground following a heart attack.
Head coach Thomas Tuchel is delighted with how Dortmund have coped with a hectic fixture list.
“I certainly had my concerns before the Mainz match because they are such an athletic outfit,” he told Dortmund’s official website.
“We have been producing outstanding performances for weeks now. To dominate and defeat Mainz in the manner we did and in their current form was more than I could have asked for.”
Spurs’ defeat in the first leg was their biggest in 137 UEFA Cup and Europa League matches and was part of a three-match winless run in all competitions.
Boss Mauricio Pochettino drew criticism for making a raft of changes in the first leg, but the Argentine – whose side are second in the Premier League – was vindicated somewhat as Spurs beat rock-bottom Aston Villa on Sunday to keep their title ambitions on track.
And full-back Kyle Walker hopes the 2-0 win can prove the catalyst for a big finish this season.
“Hopefully we can kick-start the season again and keep going,” he told Tottenham’s official website.
“It’s down to us, every game and we know we have enough quality in the dressing room, home or away.”
Tottenham, unbeaten in nine European home games, remain without Jan Vertonghen and Clinton N’Jie (both knee), while Ilkay Gundogan and Sven Bender (both foot) are doubts for the visitors.
Key Opta stats:
– Dortmund have not conceded in 327 minutes of European competition.
– Erik Lamela has racked up four goals in his last two Europa League starts, with both matches taking place at home and Spurs winning by a three goal margin.
– Dortmund have not lost on their travels since December in all competitions (W5 D1), keeping clean sheets in each of the last three.
– Only one side in Europa League history has overturned a 3-0 loss in the first leg of a knockout tie (Valencia v Basel in the quarter final in 2013-14, winning 5-3 on aggregate after extra time).
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