Tottenham Hotspur make the daunting trip to Borussia Dortmund on Thursday evening, for the first leg of their blockbuster Europa League round-of-16 tie with the Bundesliga giants.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side may have been hoping for a more favourable draw as they look to balance their continental commitments with their tilt at the Premier League title.
Dortmund, who drew 0-0 with Bayern Munich on Saturday while Spurs shared the points with Arsenal in a thrilling North London derby, are arguably the favourites to lift the trophy.
Tottenham’s task in Germany will be made even harder by the absence of the suspended Dele Alli. CaughtOffside looks at how Pochettino could line up without the teenage prodigy.
Tottenham player ratings v Arsenal: Kane steals the show but 8/10 midfielder MOTM in eventful derby
Chelsea encouraged by talks with representatives of Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino
Tottenham will finally sign Saido Berahino this summer after deal agreed in principle with West Brom
GK: Hugo Lloris
Softly beaten for Alexis Sanchez’s derby equaliser. The Spurs captain may find that he is busier than usual against Dortmund’s dangerous attack at Westfalenstadion.
RB: Kyle Walker
As per Pochettino’s rotation policy, it would be Kieran Trippier’s turn at right-back, but Walker’s extra pace could be valuable in combating Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Aston Villa are Tottenham’s opponents at the weekend, and this would be a better use of Walker.
CB: Toby Alderweireld
One of the Premier League’s best centre-backs will go head-to-head with one of Europe’s most prolific forwards. Aubameyang has 29 goals in 33 appearances this campaign.
CB: Kevin Wimmer
Wimmer has a 2-1 victory over Dortmund under his belt from his time at Cologne last season.
LB: Ben Davies
Pochettino will rotate at left-back because Danny Rose, who had to be substituted for Davies late on at White Hart Lane, has not travelled, as Tottenham’s Twitter account confirms.
CM: Tom Carroll
Tottenham’s Twitter account adds that Eric Dier has also been left behind. Pochettino may feel that the holding midfielder needs a rest, and so Tom Carroll is in line for a recall.
CM: Mousa Dembele
The Belgian midfielder returned from a three-game absence with a man-of-the-match performance against Arsenal. Could be Tottenham’s key player with Alli missing from midfield.
AMR: Son Heung-Min
Has underwhelmed in his recent Premier League performances. Tottenham fans will hope that familiar opposition will prompt an improvement from the signing from Bayer Leverkusen.
AMC: Ryan Mason
Alli’s shoes are big ones to fill. Pochettino may opt for the more industrious Mason, who scored against Fiorentina in the last round, rather than a genuine attacking midfielder.
AML: Christian Eriksen
Extra creative and goalscoring responsibility falls upon the Danish playmaker because of Alli’s absence. He has one goal and one assist in six Europa League games this term.
ST: Harry Kane
The striker was left out of the starting lineup for both of the ties against Fiorentina, but Pochettino will surely want his main man leading the line rather than Nacer Chadli.
Tony Pulis reveals why Tottenham starlet Alex Pritchard is not playing for West Brom
UEFA bends rules to do Manchester United favour ahead of Europa League tie with Liverpool
Transfer talk: Vardy valued at £30m, Spurs to pay £6m less for English striker