Dortmund and Tottenham set to collide in the Europa League | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 10.03.2016
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Dortmund and Tottenham set to collide in the Europa League

It is Germany against England once again, this time with two teams who have never faced each other in European competition. Thomas Tuchel's BVB and Tottenham Hotspur have more similarities than you might expect.

As he wooed the traveling media with his English-language skills at Wednesday's pre-match press conference, Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel noted that under the guidance of Mauricio Pochettino, Tottenham, his team's opponents in Thursday's Europa League round-of-16 match, play a very "German style."

"You can clearly see his imprint. Tottenham are physical but also have the technique and the speed," Tuchel explained in German and occasionally English, as he avoided the need for a translator, to the apparent delight of the members of the English press in the room.

"They've got a very complete game and can switch between pressing high in the opponents' half and deep in their own half. We see a lot of elements from German football - the early ball recoveries, the compactness, the way they defend, and also the outstanding attacking players are included in that defending."

Fußball English Premier League Bournemouth - Tottenham Hotspur Harry Kane

Harry Kane could be England's top striker at Euro 2016

Tottenham's Harry Kane (20 goals) and Christian Eriksen (seven goals, 10 assists) in all competitions, have been Spurs' attacking stars this season. Both are almost certain to start at the Signal Iduna Park on Thursday night.

"That is unique in English football. I am convinced they can stand every pace because English football has again become faster," Tuchel said.

Similar seasons

In terms of their positions in their respective domestic leagues, the two sides, which have yet to face each other in professional European competition, project a virtual mirror image of each other. Dortmund trail Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga by five points and Tottenham trail Leicester City at the top of the Premier League by the same margin.

Tuchel praised the North London club for their impressive form this season, with Spurs' goal difference being the best in the Premier League.

"They can play with intensity and are able to be compact in defense," he said. "And they have many outstanding individual players.”

Dortmund will be looking to attack from the get go on Thursday evening, hoping to take an advantage from the first leg into next week's fixture at White Hart Lane, where Tottenham are undefeated against German opposition.

Fussball Bundesliga 25. Spieltag Borussia Dortmund gegen FC Bayern Muenchen

Thomas Tuchel had kind words for Tottenham

Tuchel's side have been relentless going forward in the Europa League this season, producing the most shots on target (59) and off target (58), as well as hitting the crossbar more times than any team (9).

While form often goes out the window in European ties, it is worth noting that Dortmund remain unbeaten in the 11 matches they have played in 2016. Spurs, on the other hand, have lost two of their last five matches, including an FA Cup defeat at home to Crystal Palace.

One of Spurs' stars this season, Dele Alli, will miss the first leg through suspension, while Jan Vertonghen, Danny Rose and Eric Dier have not made the trip. Despite returning to training on Wednesday, Sokratis will not feature for Dortmund, but his injury is Tuchel's only roster concern.

Fußball Bundesliga Bayer Leverkusen - Borrussia Mönchengladbach

A match made in heaven, reunited

Leverkusen still looking to kick-start 2016

Suffering through an injury crisis that began at the start of the calendar year, as well as a dip in domestic form and a touchline ban for head coach Roger Schmidt, Bayer Leverkusen could do with some good news to help reinvigorate their campaign.

And long before Thursday's late kick off of their last-16 match against Villarreal in Spain, there was some good news for Leverkusen. Javier Hernandez and Stefan Kiessling, both of whom missed last weekend's 3-3 draw at Augsburg in the Bundesliga, are both fit to play. However the likes of Ömer Toprak, Jonathan Tah and Kyriakos Papadopoulos remain out, leaving Schmidt struggling to string together a solid defensive lineup.

"It will be difficult against a defensively strong team, but we want to score an away goal," Schmidt told reporters at the pre-match press conference on Wednesday. "They will be two very intense and probably close matches. We intend to continue to grow."

It has been a dream season thus far for Leverkusen's Spanish opponents, with the "yellow submarine" sitting fourth in La Liga, below the top trio of Barcelona, Real and Atletico Madrid. An eight-point cushion between them and fifth-placed Sevilla could allow them to spread their wings in the Europa League, with Champions League qualification through league position looking likely.