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Borussia Dortmund vs Tottenham a few quick thoughts

  • A disappointing night in Germany as Borussia Dortmund breezed past Tottenham in the first leg of the Europa League Round of 16 tie
  • Mauricio Pochettino rung the changes and with that has made clear that winning the Premier League is the main priority this season
  • But a 3-0 defeat wouldn’t have been what he expected going into last night’s game, a result that almost makes the 2nd leg a dead rubber
  • Spurs started the brighter in the first 5 minutes
  • But from there on in it was wave after wave of Dorrtmund pressure
  • Erik Durm nearly put the home side in front but his shot from an angled pass went narrowily wide
  • Henrikh Mkhitaryan arrowed a fantastic effort from outside the box which bought an equally fantastic save from Hugo Lloris, although a great save it could only be parried and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang slotted home the rebound
  • Dortmund thought there were in front but luckily Tottenham were saved by the Assistant Referee on the near side
  • But that was about as good as Tottenham’s night got
  • Aubameyang finally getting his just rewards for his first half endeavour as he headed from a left wing cross. He was no match for Ben Davies in an aerial duel and his well placed header left Hugo Lloris rooted to the spot
  • First Blood Dortmund and now it was a case of Spurs having to make sure they were only 1-0 down at Half Time
  • That objective was achieved and Mauricio Pochettino then had the chance to regroup and hopefully turn the game’s momentum to at least a more even keel.
  • Spurs looked a bit more lively after the break and may well feel aggrieved that they didn’t get a Penalty after Heung-Min Son was hauled down by Sven Bender. It looked a clear cut decision but the Referee was having none of it. Strangely the Spurs player didn’t make much of it themselves but from the replays they will count themselves unfortunate not to be given the chance to level the game
  • Dortmund continued to show their dominance and on the hour made it 2-0 thanks to Marco Reus.
  • Tottenham failed to clear their lines from a corner and Reus was on hand to volley the ball past Lloris after a Neven Subotic header
  • Now it was about damage limitation for Spurs as they couldn’t afford to concede another
  • Harry Kane was bought onto try and snatch a late away goal to change the landscape of the tie
  • But then Dortmund delivered the hammer blow, a second for Reus and you would imagine that goal has already put the tie out of reach and all but ended Tottenham’s European advantage
  • Now time for the inquest. You can perhaps understand why Pochettino has made the decision to rest key players but it was always going to be a risky strategy against a top class Dortmund side
  • Dortmund are a Champions League calibre side and are only in this competition due to having a bad 2014/15 campaign. So it was never going to be an easy game
  • But you feel that Spurs would have to play the strongest side to give them the best possible chance
  • Maybe it’s a measure of how far Spurs still need to climb to be regarded as a top calibre European side, although we have made massive strides in a short space of time there is still a fair way to go if we want to compete with the best
  • But Football fans have short memories and if we beat Aston Villa on Sunday then the decision to rest players becomes a wise one.
  • I know it’s Aston Villa but I still don’t think you can take anything for granted. With a 5 point gap to chase down, every win is going to be absolutely vital if we are to win the League
  • Also you have to remember that winning the Europa League gets you into the Champions League next season, a reward that we nearly have anyway. So you would have to think why risk your Premier League campaign for the second tier European competition
  • I guess it’s the whole what would you rather have – Champions League qualification or an actual trophy arguement
  • Let’s make it clear though Pochettino hasn’t set out to throw the game, he’s made a decision on the basis of having full confidence in his squad. It’s just perhaps a decision which has backfired.
  • More than anything you have to feel sorry for 3,000 or so travelling fans who went out to Dortmund expecting at least a bit more of a contest
  • It’s going to have to be one hell of a European night at White Hart Lane next Thursday to overturn this deficit

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