Champions League: Borussia Dortmund hoping for return to form against Tottenham | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 12.02.2019
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Champions League: Borussia Dortmund hoping for return to form against Tottenham

Borussia Dortmund take on Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League round of 16. A recent dip in form and a handful of injuries has given the tie a whole new dynamic, with BVB's European dreams hanging in the balance.

The form exhibited by Borussia Dortmund during the first half of the 2018-19 season is beginning to fade, if the last three games they played in all competitions is anything to go by.

A draw against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga, a penalty shootout loss against Werder Bremen in the German Cup and, most recently, another draw against Hoffenheim mean the Black and Yellows have now gone three matches without a win for the first time this season. The Bundesliga leaders have also conceded six goals in their last three games.

But is this sudden slip in form a reason to worry for Lucien Favre's men heading into the Champions league last 16 tie against Tottenham Hotspur?

Last weekend's league game against Hoffenheim has Dortmund fans worried because what looked like a routine three points turned into points shared after Dortmund conceded three goals in the final 25 minutes. Such a performance couldn't come at a worse time for Favre's side, especially with Tottenham comfortably winning their last three games despite the absence of their two attacking stars Harry Kane and Dele Alli (both are likely to miss both legs of the round of 16 tie due to injury).

- Analysis: Defense will decide Borussia Dortmund's fate

Fußball Champions League Tottenham Hotspur - Borussia Dortmund (Reuters/D. Staples)

Harry Kane put Dortmund to the sword last season but the Englishman is out injured this time around

Heading to Wembley for the second season in a row, Dortmund will be without their own star, captain Marco Reus, and there is concern that Lukasz Piszczeck might also miss out. Center back Dan-Axel Zagadou could feature on Wednesday after he stepped up his recovery by playing 60 minutes in a reserve match. Manuel Akanji and Leonardo Balerdi are still recovering from injuries.

Mauricio Pochettino's men should not underestimate their visitors purely based on the injury situation though. This is a Dortmund team that hammered Atletico Madrid on their way to the top of Group A, condemning Diego Simeone to his heaviest defeat as a coach, and boast a lightning quick attack. Even without Reus, this team still has Jadon Sancho to lead the line on his return to his home city, plus the unstoppable Paco Alcacer off the bench.

Fußball Bundesliga | 21. Spieltag | Borussia Dortmund - TSG Hoffenheim | Torjubel vermeintliches 1:0 (Reuters/L. Kuegeler)

Teenager Jadon Sancho returns to his home city of London

Neither of those two were involved in previous meetings between the two sides. Dortmund and Spurs most recently met during the Champions League group stage of 2017-18, with the North Londoners twice emerging the victors after sealing a 3-1 win at home and managing a 2-1 away victory. The season before that the pair met in the Europa League round of 16, with Dortmund beating Tottenham 5-1 on aggregate.

For Spurs, in the absence of Harry Kane, all eyes will be on Son Heung-min. The South Korean captain will shoulder the responsibility of scoring the goals, and the 26-year-old has been instrumental for Spurs since returning to the squad from the Asian Cup.

The midfield will certainly be one area to watch. The creative Christian Eriksen with his through balls is one player Dortmund will have to keep an eye on, and Axel Witsel's experience will vital in the center of the park if BVB are to make life difficult for Spurs. 

Considering the attacking strength of both sides, concentration on defense might prove to be the key.

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