CAN Spurs pull off an unlikely comeback when Dortmund arrive in town on Thursday night? Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) examines the best bets on offer.
Tottenham v Dortmund | Thursday 20.05 | BT Sport 1
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino caused widespread consternation when opting to field a second string side in Dortmund last week, clearly prioritising Spurs’ Premier League fixture with no-hopers Aston Villa.
The Lilywhites comfortably dispatched the league’s bottom side on Sunday but many Spurs supporters were understandably frustrated and upset by the selection in Germany. Even Dortmund fans and German media outlets were left scratching their heads over Pochettino’s decision.
Why would you allow your side to progress to the latter stages of a continental competition, only to effectively raise the white flag when the going got tough?
Sure, Tottenham have a chance at landing their first top-tier title since 1961 but if they don’t manage to overhaul Leicester – there’s still a five-point gap with only eight games to play – surely Poch will admit he was probably wrong, right?
Now I’m no mind reader but it looks highly likely that the Argentine will again ring the changes on Thursday night with another crucial clash against Bournemouth to follow. With a significant 3-0 deficit from the first leg, the tie is effectively over as a contest.
Spurs were totally overrun from the first whistle at Signal Iduna Park last week and were probably a touch fortunate to escape with only a 3-0 defeat. Only one side in Europa League history (Valencia in 2014) have overturned a 3-0 first leg deficit in the knockout rounds so 33/1 quotes on the Lilywhites progressing look way off.
The capital club can boast a strong W16-D4-L1 record at White Hart Lane in this competition since 2012/13 but I’ve no interest in Tottenham here.
The Premier League is arguably at its weakest point in recent years and the pre-match odds reflect that with the Bundesliga’s second-best marked up as 6/5 favourites to seal their route to the quarter-finals with a win.
Thomas Tuchel’s troops have been awesome since the winter break and have managed to combine outstanding defensive efficiency alongside their lightning-quick counter-attacks. BVB have W11-D2-L0 since Christmas, recorded 10 clean sheets, including shipping just one goal in nine.
Having a fearsome front three of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Marco Reus and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to lead the offence always gives the Black & Yellows a major shout but I’m still unwilling to invest in 6/5 quotes here considering the circumstances surrounding the tie now.
With absolutely no need to chase victory, backing BVB seems a dangerous ploy, to me. In the last-32, Dortmund were 2-0 leaders before heading to Porto to extend their aggregate advantage to 3-0. However, the Black & Yellows managed just one shot-on-target with an own goal in their favour the decider in Portugal.
The visitors have proven their worth as outright competition favourites and of course they could run away with this once more. But I’d be far more comfortable with a goal-based bet knowing Spurs won’t want to disappoint supporters again.
A huge 17 of Spurs’ last 20 when welcoming European opposition have featured Over 2.5 Goals with both sides scoring in 15. Dortmund have only failed to net in two of their last 27 away fixtures and when Aubameyang, Reus and Mkhitaryan have started this season, 10 of their 15 matches produced four or more goals.
With that in mind, I’ll have a small interest in the even-money from Stan James that both teams score alongside Over 2.5 Goals.
Tottenham v Dortmund – Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score (1/1 Stan James)
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