Tottenham host Borussia Dortmund within the first leg of the Champions League’s spherical of 16 on Tuesday, with followers of each groups and neutrals alike trying ahead to what must be a blockbusting tie.
Dortmund are high of the Bundesliga again in Germany, whereas Spurs are holding their very own with Manchester Metropolis and Liverpool on the summit of the Premier League.
Either side are taking part in some slick stuff in 2018/19 and this tie ought to have all of the substances for a particular two video games.
Forward of the primary one at Wembley Stadium, we select three speaking factors.
SANCHO IN SHOP WINDOW
His staff could be stepping out because the away facet at Wembley on Wednesday night time, however Jadon Sancho will probably really feel very a lot at dwelling.
For the 18-year-old Englishman will probably be solely his second time trotting out on the Wembley turf, having performed there when successful his second England cap final November in opposition to the USA.
However the teenager was born simply 12 miles away in Camberwell and grew up even nearer in Kennington, although he’s now shining 385 miles away in a unique nation.
He’s the poster boy for a brand new phenomenon of younger English gamers deciding to insurgent in opposition to the stockpiling of younger abilities by the large golf equipment – Chelsea and Manchester Metropolis amongst them – and opening a door for Premier League proteges trying as a substitute to Europe to launch their careers.
The one factor inflicting extra waves than his resolution to show his again on Pep Guardiola’s revolution, after being omitted from Metropolis’s 2017 pre-season tour squad as a consequence of a dispute over assurances of taking part in time, is his blistering begin to Bundesliga life.
An £8million transfer was adopted by a ripple – one objective in 12 outings for the senior facet final time period. This season he has created a thunderstorm with a deluge of objectives and assists (seven and 9 in 28 video games) as Dortmund have surged to the highest of the desk.
He’s making the most of a courageous resolution to take an opportunity overseas – a path only a few earlier than him have trodden. He’s being rewarded and although he signed a four-year deal conserving him on the Westfalenstadion till 2022 only a 12 months after becoming a member of the membership, he’ll very a lot be within the store window at Wembley.
DO DUO HAVE DEPTH TO COPE?
Managing a number of competitions approaching the enterprise finish of a season is a ability even essentially the most adroit managers discover tough to grasp.
Whereas Actual Madrid have been the masters of Europe in current seasons, their La Liga aspirations have nosedived. That has allowed everlasting rivals Barcelona to dominate domestically, albeit to the detriment of their continental goals.
With that in thoughts, each Mauricio Pochettino and Lucien Favre would possibly effectively be conflicted because the Champions League returns. Do they rejoice or have reservations?
The final 16 has thrown up some scrumptious treats, however that is among the many tastiest, with each groups possessing wealthy attacking abilities and taking part in some scintillating stuff this season – all of which factors to an enthralling two legs.
Each managers and units of followers will really feel assured that development is possible. However what ideas the scales for Pochettino and Favre? How a lot do they danger their possibilities of dueling for home honours within the face of European glory?
For Dortmund, the danger is larger. After successful back-to-back Bundesliga titles from 2010-12, the Westphalian giants have fallen by the wayside in current 12 months. They’ve didn’t problem the would possibly of Bayern Munich within the final six seasons, with the Bavarians placing collectively their greatest ever run of successive title successes.
The Black and Yellows are at the moment 5 factors forward with 13 video games to go.
Spurs are technically additionally in a Premier League title tussle – they too are 5 factors off the lead – however are supreme underdogs in a scrap with Manchester Metropolis and Liverpool.
Does that give the north Londoners the sting right here? Probably. However with each side steeped in attacking custom, it must be completely entertaining.
SURPRISE PACKAGES PLAYING SCINTILLATING STUFF
Either side are blessed with an abundance of attacking riches and are having fun with effective seasons, staying true to entertaining traditions.
There is no such thing as a shock right here. What’s shocking nevertheless is that each are embroiled within the race for the title of their respective nations.
Dortmund’s as soon as burgeoning development has lengthy been stymied by the dominance of Bayern. Assisted by their willingness – or maybe reluctant acceptance of permitting high abilities (chief amongst them Robert Lewandowski and Mats Hummels) to go away for the Allianz Enviornment – the Bavarian behemoths’ grip on German soccer has solely tightened.
Spurs in the meantime are additionally victims of stereotype. They nonetheless dwell within the shadow of north London neighbours Arsenal regardless of the very fact a 22-year curse of ending under the Gunners – coined St Totteringham’s Day by Arsenal followers – was ended with 2016-17’s runners-up putting as their rivals didn’t qualify for the Champions League underneath Arsene Wenger for the primary time.
Nonetheless, although they repeated the feat final season (Spurs cemented third as Arsenal sank to sixth), the failure to win a significant trophy – it’s now simply two paltry League Cup triumphs for Spurs within the 28 years for the reason that FA Cup was hoisted – is gnawing away. At the same time as Wenger ran the Gunners into the bottom, they nonetheless lifted a record-breaking 13th FA Cup in 2016/17.
Regardless of years of damage, nevertheless, it’s onerous to argue with the model of soccer being performed by each side.
In Germany, BVB are blowing away Bayern in lots of classes – they’ve scored seven extra objectives for starters. Marco Reus, who’s in harm doubt for the primary leg, is joint second highest scorer with 13 alongside former team-mate Robert Lewandowski, whereas rejuvenated former Barcelona hitman Paco Alcacer is third on 12.
Ex-Metropolis starlet Sancho has taken the nation by storm since his sensational change, the teenager tyro has 9 assists – joint most with Munich’s Joshua Kimmich. Reus and Lukasz Piszczek (six) and are additionally inside the highest 10.
Sancho’s three dribbles per recreation can be essentially the most in Germany’s top-flight. In the meantime, Alex Witsel sits atop the league’s go completion standings with 93.2 per cent.
In England, Spurs are additionally conserving tempo with title favourites Liverpool and Metropolis.
Harry Kane, albeit injured, is the nation’s third highest scorer with 14. Son Heung-min joins him within the high 10 on 11 – each have been absent with harm or on worldwide responsibility for durations.
Christian Eriksen has 9 assists, only one behind Eden Hazard, whereas Harry Winks’ 91.Four per cent go completion is seventh greatest in England.