20 Nov Borussia Dortmund v Tottenham talking points
Tottenham will go through to the Champions League last 16 as group winners if they can beat Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.
Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at five talking points ahead of the clash at Signal Iduna Park.
Rose back in the fold
Leaving Danny Rose out of the squad to face Arsenal on Saturday was a bold move by Mauricio Pochettino, not least because he must have known the controversy it would cause. His explanation was that Rose’s afternoon was better spent regaining fitness than sitting on the bench at the Emirates, which, if true, would suggest the defender is in line to start against Dortmund. He has travelled to Germany and trained with the squad on Monday night. On the other flank, Serge Aurier is likely to be rotated in for Kieran Trippier and the Ivorian has much to prove after an erratic start at Spurs. Going forward Aurier has been fine. In the other direction, he is still to convince.
Win to top the group
Tottenham’s head-to-head superiority over Real Madrid means even if the Spanish giants win both of their remaining matches, Spurs need just one victory to top the group. Beating Apoel Nicosia at home would appear the easiest route to that goal but they would surely prefer not to carry the pressure of needing a win at Wembley in their final group-stage fixture. The benefits of finishing top may be even greater this season given four English sides currently occupy those spots, making the chances of drawing the likes of Barcelona and Paris St German even higher.
Alli to be given a break?
It is not unusual for judgement on Dele Alli to swing from one extreme to the other and Pochettino is always keen to stress inconsistency is natural for a 21-year-old. But it is also true that Alli was particularly poor against Arsenal on Saturday, with question marks still surrounding his fitness after he pulled out of this month’s England squad with a hamstring strain. Pochettino has tended to keep faith with Alli through the midfielder’s less spectacular spells and it should not be forgotten he scored twice against Real Madrid only three weeks ago. But if Alli’s fitness also needs recovering, this may be one he sits out.
All change since these teams last met
Spurs may still be reeling from Saturday’s humbling against north London rivals Arsenal, and their chances of winning the Premier League now look slim, but this fixture offers a timely chance to recognise the remarkable progress they have made under Pochettino. When they last played in Dortmund in the Europa League two seasons ago, Tottenham were the underdogs, even though Pochettino fielded a weakened team that were roundly beaten 3-0. Now, they come in expecting victory and with their qualification to the Champions League last 16 guaranteed.
Bosz under pressure
Three consecutive defeats in the league and five matches without a win have left Dortmund manager Peter Bosz on the brink, with reports in Germany suggesting he is close to losing his job. Their poor run of form has left Dortmund sitting fifth in the Bundesliga table, nine points behind Bayern Munich with only 12 games played. The Champions League has offered little chance for respite. Dortmund are yet to register a victory in Group H and anything but a win on Tuesday will end their hopes of reaching the knockout stages. Bosz is in desperate need of a response.