SPURS AND REAL SEEK UCL PROGRESS
English and Spanish side favourites to progress after first leg advantage
After mixed results in back to back London derbies in the league, Tottenham return to the Champions League with a good chance of securing progress to the next round of the competition.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side take on German side Dortmund and travel to Germany for the second leg clash at the The Signal Iduna Park with a healthy 3-0 cushion gained in the first leg at Wembly.
Spurs go into the tie off the back of a hard fought draw at home to Arsenal in the North London derby on saturday and are looking to keep the competition’s record- No side has ever been eliminated after winning a Champions League home knockout game 3-0.
Heung Min-Son, Jan Vertonghen and Fernando Llorente secured Spurs the win in the first leg and puts Spurs on the brink of reaching the quarter finals for just the second time. The Lilly-Whites defeated Dortmund twice in the group stages last season.
“We have to be clever, we have to reach our total peak and we have to score the goals at the right moment. If they score it will be very difficult, but the whole team believes in themselves” said Pochettino ahead of the game.
Dortmund on the other hand need to do something they have never done before and turn around a 3-0 tie. They did come close to achieving that feat against Real Madrid back five years ago.
”Every game is different. The first leg is done and this is a different situation. We know we can score goals, but we have to play very cleverly. Of course the most important thing is to produce a top performance. Anything is possible. We know it’s tough but you never know” said Dortmund manager, Lucien Favre.
They had a poor preparation for this game losing 2-1 to Augsburg over the weekend and will need to draw on the support of the home fans and the famous “Yellow Wall” to see through a performance on a big night.
After losing twice in four days to rivals Barcelona in the clasico, Real Madrid need to get back to winning ways when they take on Ajax tonight at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The defending champions are 2-1 up from the first leg played in Amsterdam and will be eager to see off Ajax who have not progressed to a Champions League knockout stage in 22years.
They will be without captain Sergio Ramos who is suspended, something Ajax coach Erik ten Hag was quick to pin point as a possible chink in Real’s armor.
“Him being absent is not only a tactical loss for them but also a mental one. Our goal is clear and is same for every game- scoring goals. This is Ajax and we don’t care who we play, our intention will always be the same- dominate, score goals and win”, said Erik.
The Galacticos have won all seven games in all competitions against the Dutch team and have not been eliminated in the competition’s knockout stage since Juventus dumped them out in the semi-finals in 2015.
“We are going out to win as we always do. The team’s in good shape and they have a lot of experience and are relaxed about what people are saying”, said Real coach Santiago Solari ahead of the game.