Date: 20th November 2017 at 1:54pm
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I do not expect that too many minds will be on our surrender on Saturday. But I do hope that dreams of an historic achievement, one where credibility and hope can be regained is.

Our Opponents, a laughing stock?

Dortmund have slipped, one time brief leaders of the Bundesliga, there is now talk of a ‘crisis` according to Bild.

Bild say that Dortmund are in danger of turning into the Bundesliga`s ‘laughing stock` after only getting one point out of their last five league games. My German colleagues tells me that injuries, a change in tactics brought about by an uncertain panicking coach who lost faith after we beat them 3-1 have all combined to change a positive atmosphere around the club to one where it`s rapidly becoming more of a debate about how long the coach Peter Bosz can cling on to his job.

Dortmund did put in a credible performance against the league leaders and are said to be regaining their rhythm and have re-found their pressing dynamic style with its quick slick accurate passing and movement.

So assuming that their more recent downturn in form after we beat them at Wembley is likely to continue would be a big mistake. Both us and Dortund have contrived to lose 3 out of the last 5 games and both have also looked lacklustre and drained in the process.

To even have a chance of qualifying,Dortmund need to win and win well, I expect them to be motivated and back to their best and that means they`re going to be a stern test for us. Aubameyang is also back, and he’s as talismanic for them as Kane is for us.

Dortmund had suspended the striker for the Bundesliga game on Friday against VfB Stuttgart after he arrived too late for the final training session before the match.

What about us. Champions league or Premier League form?

Given our form, I suspect that a draw is the best most Spurs fans expectations can stretch to after coming off a bitter defeat to our North London neighbors.

If we win in Dortmund, we secure top spot, an achievement which when the draw was announced looked extremely unlikely, so much so that most pundits called it the ‘group of death’ – at least as far as Tottenham are concerned. Far from dying and being booted out early we’ve done a great job and (so far) shown we belong in the Champions league, as opposed to our last campaign where we proved conclusively, we didn’t.

We`re out of the league cup and by most peoples reckoning (and mine) we`ve got no hope of winning the Premier League; that fantasy (for those that held it) has now been well and truly crushed. This leaves us with an effort we can make in the FA Cup (my last best hope for silverware this season) or miraculously winning the Champions League.

Those that believe we can win the Champions league only have to have a quick chat with the fairies at the bottom of the garden to get a reality check, the fairies won`t hold back, nor will the hob Goblins or the gnomes that live in the Wood; country folk they maybe, but they know their football.

Who will start?

Poch will most likely put our best foot forward and that for me means starting Sanchez, Dier and Vert as the three at the back with Aurier and Rose working the outside channels. The issue is who starts in midfield?

Personally I wouldn`t even have Dembele on the bench let alone start, but I have a feeling Poch will do just that. Winks will start and he`ll play his normal excellent game.

Then of course it will be every ballerinas dream partner (he`s got to dance better than he can play), namely Sissoko. He`s a big lump and he will magnificently get in their way (and ours) and run at them, which at full pace can frighten anyone. Of course if they see the ball at his feet at the same time, they`ll just stop chasing,point and laugh as we all cry when he skies it or passes it six feet behind someone who can do actually do something with it., I guess if lightening can strike twice he night bumble, stumble and make something happen., if he does I do hope the scouts for any Turkish club are watching and send home reports of a rampaging warrior with a great touch, if they do, we might just get our money back – I still get laughing phone calls from barcode supporters. They don’t say anything, just laugh and laugh.

That leaves us to drag on a knackered Eriksen 9 (should be fitter for his rest and relaxation on Saturday), a strapped up trier in Harry and the non-trier Alli the illusionist (he looks like he can play, talks like he can play, but fails to play except when he wants) to break away and nick a goal.

Chances are we`ll soak up the pressure and Lloris will find his backbone again and put in a credible performance rather than one where standing still and falling backwards counts as being part of a goalkeepers repertoire.

As I said, the best my expectations can muster is a hard fought draw, but wouldn`t a win pick us (me) up and restore the faith?

And additional; bit long winded, but well worth the read:

Borussia Dortmund 1-3 Spurs (U19 UYL) – report from Brackel

Posted on 21 November 2017 – 15:00
A sparkling first half performance secured a deserved 3-1 win at Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday afternoon and means we will progress in the UEFA Youth League.

We’re guaranteed a place in the top two of the group after this excellent result. Real Madrid can only draw level with us but we have the better head-to-head record, having beaten the Spanish side at Hotspur Way.

The next phase of the competition will see the eight group winners progress straight to the round of 16 while the eight runners-up will go into the play-offs. First up, though, a final group match against APOEL on December 6.

Dortmund simply couldn’t handle our front four of Kazaiah Sterling, Samuel Shashoua, Marcus Edwards and Paris Maghoma as we created chance after chance with a display of slick, attacking football at BVB’s Brackel Training Centre.

Even better, the team responded so well when a couple of incidents went against them – goalkeeper Brandon Austin unfortunately allowing Emre Aydeinel’s 30-yarder to slip home for 2-1 and then, having dominated, Edwards missing a penalty.

The players didn’t allow that to get into their heads collectively and grabbed the key third goal before the break, a lovely curler from Sterling joining earlier strikes from Shashoua – involved in everything in that first half – and Jaden Brown.



We’d already gone close when Shashoua was denied by Luca Unbehaun in the BVB goal on five minutes and the opener wasn’t too far away. Shashoua made no mistake this time after TJ Eyoma and Edwards presented him with a golden chance six yards out, Shashoua’s finish clinical, low into the corner.


Oliver Skipp rattled the crossbar from 25 yards on 16 minutes and two minutes later it was 2-0. Shashoua was involved again, this time picking up the ball on the left from Japhet Tanganga, his cross found Brown up in support and the finish was sublime, a side-step to lose his man before planting his shot across Unbehaun.


A goal completely against the run of play. The home side had possession 30 yards out when Aydinel decided to try his luck. It was a well-struck shot that Austin looked to have covered as he claimed diving to his right, only to lose control of the ball on landing and he could do nothing as it crawled over the line.


Undeterred, we picked up where we left off before the goal and were awarded a penalty when Edwards was tripped by Patrick Osterhage. Edwards struck the spot-kick well but Unbehaun guessed right and palmed away.


The nature of Dortmund’s goal and the penalty saved could have destabilised the team but having none of it, we continued to press forward and were rewarded with a third goal before the break. This started with a lovely pass between two BVB players centrally by Maghoma – on his first start in the competition – to release Shashoua. He helped the ball on to Sterling on the left side of the box and the striker waited his time before pinging a curler across Unbehaun into the far corner.


As expected, BVB looked to get on the front foot at the start of the second half, but we were always in control and had a number of opportunities on the counter-attack that came to nothing. At the other end, Anargyros Kampetsis headed wide on 52 minutes and Tanganga blocked well when Kampetsis had a sight of goal, but that was about it.


Having been kept relatively quiet – certainly in comparison to the first half – we carved out three quickfire chances. Sterling’s curler looked destined for the corner before Unbehaun touched wide and the goalkeeper did well to tip over Maghoma’s chip as he peddled back towards his goal. From the corner, Unbehaun was there again to grasp Tanganga’s header.


Borussia Dortmund kept going and finally opened us up on 80 minutes as substitute Huseyin Bulut played Kampetsis through on goal but the striker rolled past Austin and the post.


“I thought in the first half we were at another level really. The lads were a credit to what we’re trying to do. I didn’t think Dortmund could really handle us with the quality we had, especially in the attacking third. When we went forward we had devastating pace and had the quality to carve chances out, so it was really good to be fair. They obviously sat off and at times on the break we pulled them all over the place. We showed individual brilliance and the pace and the skill at times was frightening.

“Credit to Brandon Austin as well. He came off a mistake which happens, he picked himself up and came through the game, after that we missed a penalty, they came at us a little bit at 2-1 but the lads always felt there were other chances there and it was good resilience and character at times. We showed a lot today.

“In the second half we saw it out, managed the game. They had one big chance, us as well, the keeper pulled off a couple of big saves but I felt we managed the game in a real professional, adult way which is something we often talk about. You look at the games so far – we’ve got one game left but other than APOEL away the results have been pretty good. We’ve done really well and we should be proud. We’ve got a young side as well – we had four Under-17s on the pitch towards the end of the game today so it was really pleasing.”


Borussia Dortmund (4-3-3): Unbehaun, Bruun Larsen (c), Killian, Pieper, Wanner, Osterhage, Kopacz, Sancho, Kampetsis, Aydinel, Ibrahim (Bulut 70). Substitutes (not used): Missner, Schwermann, Schell, Hawryluk, Pena-Zauner, Jano.

Spurs (4-2-3-1): Austin, Eyoma (Hinds 85), Tanganga, Lyons-Foster, Brown, Marsh, Skipp, S Shashoua (Bowden 89), P Maghoma, Edwards (c, Roles 73), Sterling. Substitutes (not used): De Bie, Reynolds, Griffiths, Richards.

Goals: Spurs – Shashoua 8, Brown 18, Sterling 44; Borussia Dortmund – Aydinel 31.

Yellow cards: Borussia Dortmund – Osterhage 90; Spurs – Tanganga 85, Austin 90+3.

Referee: Sandro Scharer (Switzerland).

Our final group match sees APOEL of Cyprus visit Hotspur Way on December 6 while Borussia Dortmund travel to Real Madrid. It’s back to domestic action on Saturday, though, as the Under-23s head to Manchester City and the Under-18s visit Arsenal.

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33 Replies to “Champions league Preview v Dortmund.”

  • This could be a bit of a dilemma for Poch. The objective from here is to win the group. The benefits of winning the group are: playing the runners-up from another group, the 2nd leg is at home and Real Madrid will have to play the winners of another group, thus one of the better teams gets knocked out. But we can win the group just by beating Apoel. So do we put all our eggs in one basket and concentrate on just beating them? The away leg in Dortmund was always going to be very tough and physically very demanding. Three days after a NLD – and a demoralising and energy sapping one at that – it’s a very big ask to go toe-to-toe with Dortmund. Even if we were to get a draw we would still have to beat Apoel at home (assuming Real Madrid beat Apoel this week). For me, the game on Saturday against West Brom is far more important and that’s where our focus should be. It’s absolutely crucial that we win that game. Our team on Saturday against Arsenal already looked fatigued and with question marks about the fitness of many of our players, I would definitely play a weakened team tomorrow night. Surely we can feel confident about wrapping the group up at home to Apoel in a couple of weeks? We really do need to maintain our place in the top 4 and there are a lot of games coming up in quick succession, so we need our key players as fit and ready as possible.

  • I’d advise lots of rotation for this game. Several players could use some rest. Start with Llorente & Son, maybe give Lamela a game, etc. If those players get something from the game, great. If not, we will can still secure top spot at Wembley against APOEL.

  • Assuming that we can or will beat Apoel is for me an absolute non-starter; that is simply tempting fate one time too many, that could easily be a right old ‘Spursy’ banana skin. Sorry, go for the win in Dortmund, pull it off and come back feeling like top class winners and then hammer West Brom…

  • Spursex, even if we saved it for Apoel and failed to win, then at least we’d still qualify from the group. If qualification from the group was at stake I’d probably take a slightly stance. However, the idea that our first team as it stands right now can win in Dortmund and hammer West Brom seems fanciful to me.

  • I think it’s time we started planning life without Dembele. Have him on the bench and to help close out games. We need to start being fluid in the final 3rd, for that I’d like Winks as a regular starter. We need to be very careful with a strapped up Kane as the alternatives are non-existent. Son to play AS a striker in this one, Dele to bring his A game and Eriksen to get over the Denmark party hangover. I’d want us to use this game to continue gaining experience v the Europe’s elite and help us handle the knock-out stages better. Far too many players are turning it on in one game followed by an indifferent showing in the next. Poch needs to get some consistency out of this lot, attitude, mentality and energy wise. Far too many players have a lot to say in the media, but can’t deliver on the stage where it matters the most. Let’s try to win the group. COYS!

  • I’m just worried about a quick succession of games for players like Eriksen. I think resting him might be better in the long run.

  • Absolutely rest some players but unfortunately Lamela cannot play as he is not in the CL squad.
    I would rest Kane, Alli, Eriksen & one of the central defenders even if that means we play a back four. I agree with Gary, th tough schedule we have had has fatigued the squad and the premier league games coming up are far more important (we have Leicester next Tuesday as well as West Brom on Saturday).

  • For Dortmund, I would throw in Foyth alongside Sanchez and Vertonghen whilst playing Aurier and Rose as the wing-backs. That allows Dier to move up into midfield alongside Winks. I would then play Nkoudou, Alli and Son as the front 3. We will concede possession to the Germans but with the pacy wing backs and front 3 we can still damage them on the counter-attack whilst taking the opportunity to rest a few players.

  • Sorry muttley, far too big a game for Foyth, he’s far too inexperienced and frankly I’m not yet sure that he’s good/strong/big enough to be an effective CB, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him pushed into the DM/holding role as he develops.

  • Spursex, loved the article but disagree regarding Foyth. This game is not as important as West Brom and Leicester and provides a chance to see some of the youngsters. Foyth looked good to me, albeit at fault for one of the Hammers goals which was a bit of a lucky rebound anyway. He seems to read the game well, be confident on the ball and picks a pass well. OK, he may not be ready for the CL but he was on the bench on Saturday and may have been called to action. Dier has lacked concentration all season whether in MF or CB. He switches off at crucial moments and plays a suicide pass or has the ball nicked off him so I cannot see it as taking much of a risk to play a real CB in his place. At present I’m not sure Dier actually rates a place in CM either as practically everything he does is negative and when he does pass forward it is usually more of a shot than a pass, but I guess options are limited. However he is knackered after the England games and the NLD so I would leave him out, together with Kane because in spite of what he says he is obviously worried about his injury and was poor on Saturday. Alli can be left out on form grounds quite happily. I would play our young RB, KWP and Gregoriou (?) who is supposed to be a fast wide player of some talent and Llorente and Son up front. Although Llorente has been poor so far, he did make an excellent chance for Son towards the end of the game with a headed pass, but Son missed it. In reality, I expect Poch to drag out the same old team, knackered or not and would not be surprised to see us heavily beaten anyway, so why not experiment a bit?

  • Spursex …. I was chatting to the Goblins and Fairies at the bottom of my garden last night. It seems that my Goblins and Fairies are far more optimistic than yours. According to my ?Garden? friends, your lot were kicked out of the tribe years ago when it was discovered that their favourite colour was red, and they actually preferred cricket to football. I think you need to do some gardening, mate!

  • Also …. the way I see it is that the Dortmund result doesn’t matter as long as we beat Apoel at home, and if we can’t do that we don’t deserve to top the group in any case. So, although I expect a resounding victory, somewhere in the region of 0-3 as predicted by my local Goblins and Fairies, any other result doesn’t seem much to worry about.

  • Spursex – I think our current position in the CL is far more comfortable than our position in the PL. In the CL we can afford to suffer one bad result and still have it all to play for at home against a weak team, or even 2 bad games and still be involved in the competition in 2018. We would have taken 2nd place in a heartbeat when the groups were announced, let’s be honest. Whereas in the PL, one bad result will most likely put us out of the top 4, and likely 6th behind Arsenal and Liverpool. While there are still many games to play for in the PL too, I just think it’s a dangerous place mentally, and certainly a bad trend. Anytime we are in the top 4, we have the position and the pressure is on the others to bridge the gap. Being on the outside looking in can be deflating if the team(s) above you don’t drop points.

  • BS …. You’re not wrong but there are far too many games left in the PL to worry about our position yet. We just need to stay around that 2 points average. We do have a string of easier (?) games coming up and other teams around us will be playing each other. As they say at ‘Football Anonymous’ …. One game at a time, sweet Tottenham!

  • Geof, I’ve conformed with my bottom of the garden community, and sadly they still keep coming up with the same refrain; ‘we have more hope of catching the early worm than we do winning the CL!’ That said, do love a good T20 or test match :-0

  • Geof – we are also about the enter the busiest period of the year, when games in the PL come every 3 days and the potential to drop points because of fatigue is higher. For the others, but for us too. And some of our rivals have far deeper squads, so we are in theory already at a disadvantage. I certainly hope MP’s staff is looking at it differently than one game at a time, and managing his squad’s overall energy levels over a period of several days/weeks.

  • Please make sure you all make ONE entry into the competition for tonight’s game that will appear on the Front page shortly!! 🙂

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