Five steps Tottenham must follow to beat Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League
Borussia Dortmund may have been one of the most exciting teams to watch in Europe over the last few years, but for Spurs fans heading to Wembley on Wednesday there are a few straws – albeit small – for them to clutch to as their side look to win their Champions League Group H opener.
After all, the Bundesliga leaders are not the team they once were, are they? Let’s investigate.
Dembélé’s departure weakens Dortmund attack
The Bundesliga side may have trousered almost £100 million after selling winger Ousmane Dembélé to Barcelona, but at what cost to their own ambitions? Dembélé, who spent just one season with Dortmund, played a key role in the German side’s progression to the Champions League quarter-finals last season while racking up 20 assists in all competitions and bagging himself 10 goals.
Little wonder, then, that the teenager was handed his international debut by France manager Didier Deschamps last year before Barça came knocking.
Given that Dortmund are struggling to create as many chances this term, then one conclusion may be that Dembélé’s departure has weakened Bosz’s side which may offer Mauricio Pochettino some small crumbs of comfort ahead of Wednesday night’s match.
Dortmund’s frontline – statistically – appears to be waning
During their goalless draw away to Freiburg at the weekend, Peter Bosz’s side managed just three shots on target against their 10-man hosts. In addition to this statistic, Dortmund are also taking more shots from distance compared with last season.
More worrying for Dortmund, though, is that their expected goals (xG) ratio has plummeted from 0.14xG last season to just 0.08xG this term with the suggestion being that they are less dangerous at going forward than in previous years, no doubt a knock-on effect of Dembélé’s departure.
Dortmund hit with early injury crisis
Dortmund, who remain unbeaten this season in all competitions, were forced to leave Marcel Schmelzer behind in Westphalia after their captain was stretchered at the weekend having suffered an ankle ligament injury. Likewise, Bosz will be without another defender Marc Bartra who has not travelled to London thanks to a groin injury.
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A third defender, Neven Subotic who has yet to play this season, fell ill on Tuesday and is expected to miss out as are Julian Weigl (ankle), André Schürrle (thigh), Sebastian Rode (knock), Erik Durm (hip) and Raphael Guerreiro (foot). Finally – and perhaps most crucially – Marco Reus continues to recover from knee surgery and will miss tonight’s game which will come as a huge boost for Spurs supporters.
Dortmund have a terrible record at Wembley
There are few clubs with a worse record at Wembley Stadium than Tottenham who have won just one game in 11 appearances over the last nine years. Other than Dortmund, that is. That’s right Spurs fans, Dortmund have a 100 per cent loss record at the national stadium.
Admittedly the German side has played just once at Wembley and that happened to be in a European Cup final after they first managed to dispatch Real Madrid in the last four, but let’s not let these small matters cloud our judgement, eh Spurs fans?