It’s a big game. Tottenham Hotspur are hosting Borussia Dortmund today in the Champions League knock-out stages, knowing that they need a very good result to give themselves a chance to advance to the next round. Dortmund is a formidable opponent at the Signal Iduna, and while Spurs will likely have Harry Kane and Dele Alli back in time for the away leg on March 5, the last thing they want to do is go to Germany needing to chase a lead.
Dortmund are missing four players from their usual starting XI, including their top two leading scorers Marco Reus and Paco Alcacer. Dortmund have only lost once all season, but they have dropped points in each of their past three matches. This will be a challenge for them, too. They do, however, have Christian Pulisic, Mario Götze, and Jadon Sancho, and that’s enough to be worried. Spurs will need to put in a stout defensive performance and be clinical with their chances going forward to get a positive result at Wembley today.
How will Tottenham line up against Dortmund?
Mauricio Pochettino loves the Champions League, and he will put out his strongest team possible to face the Bundesliga leaders. However, his hands are still slightly tied by injuries.
It would seem prudent to consider a back three against Dortmund’s front line of Christian Pulisic, Jadon Sancho, and Mario Götze, but the injuries to Ben Davies and Danny Rose complicate matters. Pochettino has already strongly hinted that we will see Jan Vertonghen pushed wide to left back like what we saw against Newcastle at the weekend. That means Spurs will likely start with a back four, though there’s the option of bringing in Juan Foyth and switching formations, possibly in the second half.
In the absence of Harry Kane and Dele Alli, Spurs have had success using a midfield diamond, and my guess is we will see more of the same. If Eric Dier is deemed 90 minutes match fit, he will play with Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko ahead of him and Christian Eriksen at the 10. However, if Dier starts on the bench (which is perhaps more likely), we could see Winks drop to the base of the diamond, Eriksen slot into central midfield, and Erik Lamela at the 10. Either way, my guess is we will see a front two of Son Heung-Min and Lucas Moura as Pochettino tries to run at a dinged up Dortmund back line with gobs of pace.
The good news is that Spurs’ bench will give Pochettino options to mix it up if things go pear shaped. Spurs are adaptable and can change formations as needed, and there will be players like Foyth, Kieran Trippier, Fernando Llorente, and Victor Wanyama on the bench depending on how the match goes.
That’s my prediction of Tottenham’s starting lineup today against Dortmund. What’s yours?