Unwanted dilemma for Mauricio Pochettino ahead of Tottenham Hotspur’s Champions League Group H clash with Borussia Dortmund
PUBLISHED: 13:00 21 November 2017
PA Wire/PA Images
Spurs may have rested players at the Westfalenstadion with league games to come against West Brom and Leicester City, but probably can’t after Saturday
Mauricio Pochettino has an unwanted dilemma ahead of Tottenham Hotspur’s penultimate Champions League Group H match.
Spurs are in Germany and set to take on Borussia Dortmund tonight with the visitors knowing three points will secure top spot.
Last week, I wrote about how the Lilywhites could afford to rotate their squad for this clash in the Westfalenstadion.
This was because with a final group game at home to APOEL, Spurs were all, but assured of top spot as long as they won just one of their final two fixtures.
However, the thought of resting players and focusing fully on playing the big guns in the north London derby was mentioned before the disappointing defeat on Saturday.
Decisions went against Tottenham, but at the end of the day they were second best to Arsenal for much of the contest.
The Gunners deserved their victory and so now Pochettino has to think about how he treats this match tonight.
Where as before the weekend Spurs may have rested the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Jan Vertonghen as they worked their way back from recent injuries, now all three could play.
Tottenham can’t afford to treat this Dortmund game lightly and need to respond after the frustration of Saturday.
A positive for Spurs is the form of their German hosts, who have struggled badly since their 3-1 defeat at Wembley.
Dortmund did see off Magdeburg 5-0 in the cup last month, but that is their only competitive victory since September 30.
Peter Bosz’s side have lost recent important league fixtures to Stuttgart, Bayern Munich, Hannover 96 and Red Bull Leipzig.
They’ve also failed to defeat APOEL in their recent double-header with the Cypriot club and on Saturday they host arch-rivals Schalke, so there is no doubt the Dortmund players will have that key match in their minds.
Nevertheless, the encounter under the arch in September was closer than the two-goal swing for Tottenham suggests.
It was a tight game and certain decisions went Spurs’ way, but if Pochettino’s men want to get back on track, they’ll have to make their own luck by returning to their best tonight.