Verdict: Over 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 4/5
The Champions League returns to Wembley on Wednesday evening as increasingly familiar foes Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund go head-to-head for the fifth time in three years.
While much was made about the absence of the likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli, Tottenham have done an impressive job of keeping up the momentum. Picking up a 3-1 win over Leicester on Sunday and sitting just five points adrift of the leading pack in the Premier League, Mauricio Pochettino will believe his side are a title dark horse. Even though Spurs might be enjoying a three-match winning run, Wednesday’s hosts will know they must improve on their recent defensive issues. Tottenham have now recorded just one clean sheet in their last seven matches across all competitions and among the 16 sides remaining in the Champions League, they were the only one to post a negative goal difference in this season’s group stage. Although Pochettino will be more than aware of the defensive issues going on in North London, Spurs will be excited by the ongoing form of South Korean winger Heung-Min Son. Once again finding the net against the Foxes over the weekend, the 26-year-old now has three goals in his last three appearances.
Tottenham will hand a fitness test to Danny Rose ahead of kick-off. Rose suffered a wound to his shin in Sunday’s win over Leicester and will be assessed.
Harry Kane (ankle), Dele Alli (hamstring) and Ben Davies (groin) are all injured but Eric Dier (virus) and Erik Lamela (back spasm) are fit.
As for the visitors, while Borussia Dortmund might still hold a five-point buffer over bitter rivals Bayern Munich in the race for the Bundesliga crown, Lucien Favre’s side have hit a minor blip. Throwing away a 3-0 lead over the weekend and picking up just a point against Hoffenheim, the German side have now failed to win any of their last three outings. Along with traveling to Wembley without the likes of attacking talisman Marco Reus, the former Nice boss will know the importance of improving on BVB’s own defensive issues. Now shipping six goals in just their last two appearances, Dortmund have also managed to record just two clean sheets in their last 10 Champions League matches away from Signal-Iduna-Park. Looking to put behind them the disappointment of losing both their two previous encounters with Spurs in last year’s group stage, Favre will be hoping for Raphael Guerreiro to carry on his European tally. The Portuguese international has scored four of Borussia Dortmund’s last five goals in the Champions League.
Talisman Marco Reus will be unavailable after injuring his thigh in their Cup defeat to Werder Bremen last week.
Dortmund will also be unable to call upon the trio of Łukasz Piszczek (muscle injury) , Paco Alcácer (shoulder), and Julian Weigl (illness).
Key Factors to Consider
- All four of the previous meetings between the two sides have seen over 2.5 goals.
- Tottenham won their two previous encounters with Dortmund in the Champions League; this came in last season’s group stages (3-1 at Wembley, 2-1 at the Signal Iduna Park).
- Spurs winger Heung-Min Son has three goals in his last three appearances.
- No team has scored more goals in the last 15 minutes of Champions League games this season than Borussia Dortmund (five). Their bench has also been the most clinical with five goals coming from substitutes.
- Eight of Tottenham’s nine goals in the Champions League this season have come in the second half (89%).
On paper, it has all the making of a game that should produce plenty of chances at both ends. Given both Dortmund and Spurs’ recent defensive issues, coupled with the high scoring encounters in the four previous meetings between the two sides, we’re backing a similar outcome on Wednesday night.
Verdict: Over 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 4/5
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