Pochettino decided to rest the main bulk of his key players last week and the gamble didn’t pay off as they were completely outclassed by a superior Dortmund outfit. The big names returned for Spurs on the weekend as they eased to a 2-0 victory over Villa to maintain their title challenge so we wouldn’t be surprised if they fielded another weakened given the unlikelihood of their progression to the last-eight. Dortmund also won on the weekend to remain second in the Bundesliga and are one of the form teams in Europe, having not lost in 13 matches since the winter break while winning 11 times.
Spurs’ Europa League home record since 2012/13 is an impressive W16-D4-L1. The only defeat came against Benfica and although they’ve beaten the likes of Fiorentina, Monaco and Inter many of the wins were against much weaker opposition than the Germans. We have Dortmund currently ranked at the 8th best team in Europe and Tottenham’s record against sides ranked in the top-12 since 2010/11 in European competitions is W1-D2-L5. Six of these matches saw at least three goals while five had four or more. Furthermore, 17 of their last 20 home games in Europe, regardless of opposition, have had three or more goals as both teams have scored in 15.
Dortmund have been full of goals this season but they’ve also added a solidity at the back since returning from their break as they’ve conceded just three times in 13 matches. They certainly don’t look like a team that is about to lose by at least three goals here and while they are pushing Bayern hard at the top of the Bundesliga they surely feel the cups (they are also in the semis of the DFB Pokal and likely to face Bayern in the final) are their best chance of silverware this term. In the past 12 months they’ve played 27 away games and have scored in 25 so if Spurs go all-out attack we’d certainly expect Dortmund to score, and then the home side would need at least five. There is some positive news for home fans in the record of German teams on English soil. Since the start of the 1999/00 season German sides have won just seven of 53 trips to English sides in either the Europa or Champions League while losing 37 times. That includes defeat in the last seven such matches, with Bayern losing twice in that time and Dortmund once.
While Spurs are expected to rotate their squad Dortmund should be close to full strength and the key attackers, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang and Reus are all likely to start. That certainly pushes this tie towards Dortmund but given they don’t need to win the game their current price looks too short. Instead we prefer the goals markets for a bet. In the past 10 years 58% of the 80 second legs at this stage have seen at least three goals and when the aforementioned trio have all started in the Bundesliga this season 10 of Dortmund’s 15 matches have had at least four goals, compared to four of 11 when at least one of the players was missing. So we expect the trend of second legs seeing plenty of goals to continue.
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