WEMBLEY — Tottenham Hotspur against Borussia Dortmund was one of the most eagerly anticipated games in the UEFA Champions League group stage.
It delivered. Big time.
[ RECAP: Spurs 3-1 BVB ]
Three stunning goals were scored inside the opening 15 minutes with Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane netting after driving runs, then Andriy Yarmolenko curling in a beauty at the other end. Dortmund had a goal incorrectly chalked out for offside and then Kane grabbed a second and Tottenham’s third in the second half to finish off the German side as Spurs won 3-1.
USMNT youngster Christian Pulisic caused havoc on Dortmund’s left and might have had a goal before half time but it was ruled out for offside, somewhat controversially.
These two teams epitomize the value of bringing through young, hungry players in a high-pressing system and the result was a pulsating clash.
Here’s what we learned at a lively Wembley.
KANE’S POWER UNSTOPPABLE
Harry Kane was at his very best on Wednesday as he scored twice to fire Spurs to victory, their first this season at Wembley as they got their UCL campaign off to a flier.
Kane, 24, has only played in four UEFA Champions League games in his career but he has now scored four goals as the England international proved he belongs on Europe’s biggest stage.
He epitomized Spurs’ endeavor to put right last seasons Champions League exit at the group stage as he chased, bullied and battered Dortmund’s makeshift backline.
Kane smelt blood and his first goal summed up his display. He bundled over two Dortmund players when the odds were stacked against him, then raced through on goal and hammered home at the near post.
His penchant to score goals of any kind saw him then calmly drill home with his left foot in the second half to seal victory and Kane is well and truly up and running in September with six goals in four appearances for club and country. He could have had a hat trick as he dragged another effort but the local lad was given a standing ovation late on as he was substituted.
The reigning two-time Premier League Golden Boot winner looks hungrier than ever.
ABSORBING, ATTRACTIVE ENCOUNTER
The only other time Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund have played one another was back in 2016 as Spurs were demolished 5-1 on aggregate in the Europa League Round of 16.
Spurs were completely outclassed on that occasion but Wednesday’s win proved how far they have come.
Since then Spurs have largely kept all of their important players plus invested wisely in the likes of Davinson Sanchez, Serge Aurier and Heung-min Son, while Dortmund have lost stars such as Ousmane Dembele, Mats Hummels, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ilkay Gundogan.
It showed, but Dortmund were well in this game up until the 60th minute when Kane made it 3-1.
As you can see from above, the first 45 minutes was largely dominated by Dortmund as they possessed the ball and forced Spurs to sit back. Mauricio Pochettino‘s men were patient and showed maturity to allow Dortmund to have the ball and were dangerous on the break. There really wasn’t much in this game.
Dortmund scored a perfectly legitimate equalizer through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang just before Spurs made it 3-1 and had they made it 2-2, Spurs could hardly have complained.
This was an energetic, pulsating clash to watch as two of Europe’s most exciting teams collided.
With Real Madrid in Group H alongside them they will likely battle it out for second spot. With Dortmund having several defensive injuries for this game, the return leg in November at the Westfalenstadion will be a similarly lively, even and absorbing encounter.
PULISIC DOES EVERYTHING BUT SCORE
The kid just always has a way of making you shake your head in disbelief.
In the first half Christian Pulisic, just a week shy of his 19th birthday, tore Tottenham apart on multiple occasions as he found space between Serge Aurier and Toby Alderweireld.
Cutting in off the left the USMNT star produced a strong display, creating a chance for Aubameyang which was brilliantly cleared and then Pulisic couldn’t quite get on the end of a cross from Aubameyang to score himself.
He did score right on the break but it was disallowed for offside and he was a constant menace on the left flank. In the second half Aurier got more of a grip on him and Pulisic’s crosses were a little off but he was still dangerous.
With Ousmane Dembele sold to Barcelona, Pulisic now has a regular starting spot in Dortmund’s team and he is playing like a seasoned pro despite the fact this is only at the start of his second full season as a first-team player.
The Pulisic hype train left the station a long, long time ago but it continues to gather momentum, and passengers, each time he steps up to the big occasion. He did himself proud, once again, even though Dortmund lost.