Tottenham v Borussia Dortmund – Talking Points

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Tottenham will be hoping to make an early statement in the Champions League when they host Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.

Here, we take a look at five talking points ahead of the match at Wembley.

Time for Tottenham to step up

Tottenham’s sustained challenge for the Premier League title last season was not replicated in Europe, where they failed to qualify from a kind group before flopping out of the Europa League knock-out stage at the first hurdle.

Pochettino admitted his side had found the additional physical and mental demands too severe and it remains to be seen whether his current squad is deep or mature enough this time around. They have it all to prove.

Wembley curse looms large

Key to Tottenham’s struggles in Europe last year was their form at Wembley, where they lost both of their first two home matches to Bayer Leverkusen and Monaco.

A victory over CSKA Moscow proved too little too late while this season, defeat to Chelsea and a draw against Burnley has only increased concerns about Spurs’ form under the arch.

The atmosphere is not the problem, particularly on these European nights, and even the team’s performances have been encouraging. Results must surely follow.

Tough group offers little room for errors

If last year’s group was relatively friendly in Champions League terms, there is an obvious top and bottom to Tottenham’s draw this time, with Real Madrid clear favourites and APOEL rank outsiders to qualify from Group H.

In between, Spurs and Dortmund may be left scrapping it out for second place and this opening game gives the victors a chance to lay down an early marker. Dortmund may be happy with a point away from home; Tottenham should be gunning for all three.

Aurier and Sanchez set for starts

Serge Aurier will be jostling with Kieran Trippier for the starting spot this season and after Trippier was given the nod at Everton on Saturday, Aurier may be handed his debut against Dortmund.

The Ivorian will add power and penetration down the right flank but his defensive discipline will also be scrutinised, particularly if Christian Pulisic starts for Dortmund down the left.

Another summer signing Davinson Sanchez is expected to start in a back three against his former manager, Peter Bosz, who left Ajax for Dortmund in the summer.

Dortmund facing injury crisis

Bosz could be without up to nine players as Neven Subotic fell ill and became the latest fitness concern on Tuesday.

Also expected to miss out are captain Marcel Schmelzer (ankle), Marc Bartra (groin), Julian Weigl (ankle), Andre Schurrle (thigh), Sebastian Rode (knock) and Erik Durm (hip), while Raphael Guerreiro and Marco Reus are recovering from foot and knee operations respectively.

Tottenham are without the suspended Dele Alli but even so, look in far better shape.

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