Borussia Dortmund (+120) at Tottenham (+240), Draw (+260)
What was expected to be one of the best matchups in the Europa League Round of 16 started in disappointing fashion when Borussia Dortmund trounced Tottenham, 3-0, in Germany. Now Spurs will need to pull off a comeback for the ages when the squads meet in the second leg at White Hart Lane today (3:05 PM Eastern).
Tottenham’s performance last week was beyond embarrassing. Everyone expected Spurs to come out aggressive and give Dortmund some problems. Instead, manager Mauricio Pochettino decided play on the defensive, yet his team still surrendered three goals.
Some experts believe that Tottenham are prioritizing the Premier League (where they trail league-leading Leicester by five points) at the expense of the Europa League. While that might be true, they have a good enough roster to compete in both tournaments. Or at least they did. There aren’t many rosters in the world that are capable of coming back from 3-0 down against a team as solid as Dortmund.
Tottenham will have to win by the same 3-0 scoreline just to send the game to extra time. If Dortmund can manage an away goal, Tottenham would have to win by four in order to advance.
It’s no secret that Dortmund are chasing the Europa League title with vim and vigor. They’re having a great season in the Bundesliga, as well, sitting second in the table (61 points), but it’s going to be extremely difficult to catch Bayern Munich (66 points) since the Bavarians show no signs of slowing down. That makes the Europa League their best best for a trophy.
Dortmund have the luxury of being able to play multiple styles. They defend extremely well (averaging less than one GPG in the Bundesliga) and have a strong counterattack, but they also showed in the first leg that they can take the game to the opposition. That’s thanks in large part to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang; the Gabonese striker is one of the fastest players on the planet and always a threat in the open field.
Paired with playmaker Marco Reus, who netted both goals in the first leg, the Germans will be hard to keep off the board.
Tottenham will try to storm Borussia Dortmund in the first few minutes, and they might get a goal that gives them some hope. However, they won’t be able to keep high-scoring Dortmund quiet all game.
Pick: Draw (+260).
(Photo credit: Ultraslansi [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)