Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League matchup between Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund will be a battle between which team can overcome injuries to star attacking players.
The glamour of the game has been slightly diminished, as Tottenham will be without Harry Kane and Dele Alli while Dortmund are without Marco Reus and Paco Alcacer. Tottenham will then once more lean on Christian Eriksen and Heung-Min Son, while Christian Pulisic is likely to start for Dortmund, with Thomas Delaney providing the engine in midfield.
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One reason for some hope in this match in Tottenham circles is the recent struggles of Dortmund’s defense. The club has allowed six goals in its last two games, including coughing up a 3-0 lead over the weekend against Hoffenheim. While Fernando Llorente could be contained, it may be up to Son to use his creativity and dribbling ability to break through the Dortmund backline, or have Eriksen find him breaking the lines.
Of course, one of the players to watch is Pulisic, who is in England for the first time since completing his record-setting $73 million transfer to Chelsea. The U.S. Men’s National Team star has often started in Champions League and cup matches, even over Jaden Sancho, though it’s possible that Sancho could start in coach Lucien Favre’s 4-3-3 back in his homeland.
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With Pulisic, even though he’s not been at his best, he injects speed and a dynamism that will challenge Eric Dier in midfield and whoever suits up at outside back for Tottenham, especially if Jan Vertonghen deputizes at left back.
Elsewhere, Real Madrid flies north to face Ajax, with stars Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt hoping to make a big impression at the Johan Cruyff ArenA. Ajax, however, is coming off two defeats in its last three games, including a 1-0 loss last weekend to Heracles, while Real Madrid has won four of its last five as it surges up the table.
Vinicius Jr. has been a revelation the past few months and now he gets a chance to show off his speed and dribbling ability in the Champions League, and Real Madrid is coming off a huge confidence-boosting win at Atletico Madrid, where the side’s defense held strong against an Atleti side looking for a season-defining win.