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Tottenham Hotspur vs Borussia Dortmund : Match Preview & Key Battles

English side Tottenham Hotspur face German heavyweights Borussia Dortmund in their first match of the 2017-18 UEFA champions league campaign to be played at Wembley Stadium tonight.

The hosts will be looking to break the Wembley ‘curse’ which has seen them win none of their home games in the premier league so far this season and will be wary of an extremely energetic and dangerous Dortmund side that has all the tools to inflict serious damage on them if they show any complacency tonight. It’s also noteworthy that Dortmund have beaten Spurs in a European before, albeit being in the round of 16 in the 2015-16 Europa League courtesy of a 5-1 aggregate victory.

This match will be an out and out war bearing in mind that reigning champions Real Madrid are in the group as well so both teams will want to get off to a winning start to as maximize their chances of qualifying for the next round, so without further a due, here are some key duels that could determine the winner and or the loser of what’s expected to be an evenly contested encounter:

Toby Alderwiereld v Pierre-Emerick Aubumeyang-

The undisputed leader of the Tottenham defence, the 28 year old Belgian is one of, of not the, finest center halves in the premier league, and is renown for being a complete defender as he can not only distribute the ball from the back but he’s a tough adversary as well as he is reliable consistent and error free, not to mention that he’s also great in the air and has a strong character, and he will need to display all these traits tonight because in Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubumeyang, he will be facing the one of Europe’s most lethal marksmen.

The 6ft 2in center forward is extremely quick, strong, has great movement on and off the ball, is a ruthless finisher in and around the penalty area and is a staunch worker on and off the ball which means he doesn’t give the opposition defenders and goalkeepers a moments peace as he constantly harasses them when not in possession.

Dortmund are primarily a counter attacking side and if Spurs are to keep Die Schwarzgelben quiet, it’s clear that this is a battle that Alderwiereld has to win by all means.

Serge Aurier v Mario Götze-

Ivorian Serge Aurier will be in line to make his Tottenham debut tonight and the 24 year old will not be fazed in the least of the task at hand as he will be more than equal to the task.

A ferocious and athletic defender blessed with strength, stamina and maturity that is beyond his years, the 24 year old is capable of handling any challenge presented to him, and in Mario Götze, he will come up against not only one of his biggest challenges but one of the finest attacking midfielders of his generation.

Blessed with speed, close dribbling ability, a fine passing range and unparalleled intelligence on and off the ball, the German international will be a key man for Peter Bosz’s side tonight, and today’s outcome could be determined by whether ‘the bison’ can negate his influence on the game tonight.

Eric Dier v Shinji Kagawa-

With Kenyan midfield powerhouse Victor Wanyama out with a knee issue, Mauricio Pochettino will obviously look towards Englishman Eric Dier to hold the fort for the likes of Mousa Dembele and Christian Eriksen to Express themselves. Strong in the tackle, fearsome in the air, a good engine and a great ball carrier and distributor, the 23 year old will be tasked to disrupt any fluency that Dortmund will try conjure up, and that could and will mean keeping Japanese midfielder Shinji Kagawa quiet.

A quick, agile, technically and creatively gifted player, the Japanese international is an extremely versatile and composed attacking midfield player and given the time and the space, he can and will hurt the Lilly whites so the former Sporting Lisbon youth product will need to keep a close watch on him if his team are to get anything from tonight’s clash.

Christian Eriksen v Gonzalo Castro-

The 24 year old Danish international has gone from strength to strength for the last three or so seasons and is currently one of the premier league’s elite playmakers. Extremely deft with the ball at his feet, his unparalleled vision of how the game is going to unfold in the next moment and his dead ball expertise means that he’s able to dictate the tempo of Spurs’ play when on the ball, but standing in his way tonight will be German international Gonzalo Castro.

The 30 year old is a modern two way midfielder but his primary strength lies in his competent positioning, ability to break up play at close quarters and subsequently initiate attacks with the recycled possession from a deep midfield position with neat seamless passing will come in handy in today’s game but will need to be at his very best tonight if he’s to get the better of the Dane.

Harry Kane v Sokratis Papastathopoulos-

With Dele Alli suspended for the game, much of the attacking onus will now be on Harry Kane and the English international is more than equal to the task as he possesses good pace, strength both in the air and on the ground, excellent movement, a powerful shot from distance and a cold blooded ruthlessness in front of goal, traits that have seen him over the last two seasons develop into one of the most fearsome strikers in the premier league, but in his way tonight will be Greek center half Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

The 29 year old is a tough, fearless defender who is equally adept at playing the ball from the back as he is in dishing out bone shaking tackles as his average pass accuracy of 89% suggests, but he will have to be at his best to thwart the 24 year old as Dortmund’s chances of leaving London with something will largely depend on the Greek international’s performance in this duel.

Webster Mwangi


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