Tottenham Hotspur completed a 4-0 aggregate win over Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday evening to progress to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
Spurs withstood heavy pressure at Westfalenstadion but came away from Germany with a 1-0 win, thanks to an early second-half goal from Harry Kane.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side’s victory means that their schedule after the international break now looks as follows:
Sunday 31 March: Gameweek 32 – Liverpool (a)
Wednesday 3 April: Possible Double Gameweek 32 fixture*
Sunday 7 April: Gameweek 33 – Brighton and Hove Albion (h)*
Tue/Wed 9/10 April: UEFA Champions League quarter-final, first leg
Saturday 13 April: Gameweek 34 – Huddersfield Town (h)
Tue/Wed 16/17 April: UEFA Champions League quarter-final, second leg
Saturday 20 April: Gameweek 35 – Manchester City (a)
Tue/Wed 23/24 April: Possible Double Gameweek 35 fixture*
Saturday 27 April: Gameweek 36 – West Ham United (h)
*This is dependant on Brighton’s progression in the FA Cup and the re-scheduling of the outstanding Premier League fixtures. Should the Seagulls make it through to the semi-finals of the FA Cup, then Spurs would have a Blank Gameweek 33. Spurs v Crystal Palace and Spurs v Brighton would then be the two postponed matches that could take place in Double Gameweeks 32 and 35, though Albion will very likely need a third Double Gameweek if they beat Millwall in the FA Cup quarter-finals – so their trip to Wembley could potentially be delayed further.
Given that it is sandwiched by the two legs of the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, Spurs’ home match against Huddersfield Town looks to be the fixture perhaps most at risk of rotation, should Pochettino feel the need to do so.
That would partly depend on Spurs’ situation in the Premier League, of course. Should the Lilywhites (who are surely out of the title race now) look well-placed for a Champions League qualification spot ahead of the chasing pack behind them, then Pochettino may decide to ring the changes (or, at least, manage key players’ game-time) for the visit of the Championship-bound Terriers in Gameweek 34.
Our Scout Notes article below focuses on the key events in Dortmund last night.
Borussia Dortmund 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur
- Goal: Harry Kane (£12.4m)
- Assist: Moussa Sissoko (£4.9m)
There are UEFA Champions League matches that can aid Fantasy managers with their pre-Gameweek preparations and then there are those ties that are to be viewed only in isolation.
Spurs’ 1-0 win over Borussia Dortmund last night largely fell into the latter category.
Save for an injury to Harry Winks (£5.5m), another goal for Harry Kane (£12.4m) and the 71st-minute substitution of Son Heung-min (£8.8m) that will potentially aid the Korean’s recovery ahead of the trip to Southampton, we probably didn’t learn a great deal from Tuesday night’s clash at Signal Iduna Park.
The match was attack versus defence for long periods, with Dortmund forced to come out on the front foot as they attempted to claw back a 3-0 deficit from the first leg at Wembley.
Pochettino’s set-up, a 5-3-2 that became a 5-4-1 after half an hour, was tailored to the occasion, too, as Spurs ceded possession and chances to their hosts and mounted only the occasional counter-attack.
We are likely to see a completely different match when Spurs visit St. Mary’s Stadium on Saturday but there were at least encouraging individual and collective displays from Pochettino’s troops in Dortmund after some indifferent performances over the last three Gameweeks.
Jan Vertonghen (£5.9m) was perhaps the pick of Spurs’ excellent back three alongside Davinson Sanchez (£5.8m) and Toby Alderweireld (£6.0m), while even Serge Aurier (£5.8m) and Ben Davies (£5.6m) turned in solid displays at full-back.
Hugo Lloris (£5.5m) was also dependable between the posts, making smart stops from Julian Weigl and Raphael Guerreiro as well as a cluster of other more routine saves as Dortmund ramped up the pressure.
The one-way traffic prompted a swift tactical reshuffle from Pochettino, with Son and Christian Eriksen (£9.3m) moved from their more central roles into wider positions in a bid to curb Dortmund’s play down the flanks.
The Spurs manager said of his changes:
After 15 minutes we changed the position of Son and Christian Eriksen and yes, we tried to provide the players on the pitch with more solutions and try to help. I think that worked well, we didn’t concede, of course, we conceded some chances, but the team always felt confident on the pitch.
Eriksen was, as he has been for some time, below his usual top levels in possession but worked hard for the cause, while Son put in a decent shift as he attempted to give Kane some support in attack. The South Korea international had one excellent opportunity in the first half but could only stab wide, before being sacrificed for Erik Lamela (£5.9m) in the final 20 minutes.
Goal-scoring opportunities were few and far between for Spurs, with Kane’s superbly taken 49th-minute strike the only shot that the visitors had on target.
It’s now three goals in four matches for Kane since his return from injury, with last night’s winner meaning the England forward is now Spurs’ all-time leading scorer in Europe.
I am so happy, you know very well my emotion with him. He is one of the best strikers in the world. The mentality and determination is fantastic. I want to congratulate him and I want to congratulate Hugo because it was his 100th clean sheet for Tottenham, that is a massive achievement too.
The Spurs manager shared his thoughts on the match as a whole, saying:
After the first leg, 3-0, you could see the risk Dortmund took during the game. Of course, when you have in your hands the possibility to be in the quarter-final, everyone believed that the job was done and it’s so dangerous. You need to take more responsibility and care about that. Dortmund had nothing to lose and played with freedom
After half an hour it was tough and then we started to play a little bit. We started the second half better and, of course, when we scored in the second half, the players feel that the game was over and we were going to be in the quarter-finals. Maybe we play deeper or gave Dortmund more possession but if you analyse the two legs, I think we fully deserve it.
The severity of Winks’ injury is yet to be determined but the player himself said:
We don’t know yet. I’ve had a bit of a problem the last four or five days. A problem with my hip and groin.
We’ll asses it today and see how bad it is, but nothing too serious.
Winks had missed the north London derby with that problem, while another player to be unavailable for that 1-1 draw with Arsenal, Eric Dier (£4.7m), returned as a second-half substitute last night after a bout of tonsillitis.
Dele Alli (£8.8m) wasn’t part of the Spurs squad in Germany but Pochettino had earlier expressed hope that the former MK Dons midfielder may be able to feature against Southampton in Gameweek 30, having returned to training.
Dele is close, we will see if it is possible to for Saturday to be involved with the team against Southampton.
Kieran Trippier (£6.1m) wasn’t part of the travelling party to Dortmund, meanwhile, with Pochettino saying the right-back was “so tired”.
Tottenham Hotspur XI (5-3-2): Lloris; Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies; Winks (Dier 55′), Eriksen (Rose 83′), Sissoko; Son (Lamela 71′), Kane.
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