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How Tottenham Hotspur rated as they beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1 in the Champions League

Rob Meech

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Harry Kane scored twice as Tottenham Hotspur opened their Champions League account at the first time of asking with a 3-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund. Goals from Son Heung-min and Kane – both of whom beat visiting keeper Roman Burki at his near post – sandwiched Andriy Yarmolenko’s superb curling strike in a pulsating opening 20 minutes.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a stunning goal incorrectly chalked off for offside in the second half, before Kane added his second of the evening to give Spurs a two-goal cushion. Some gloss was taken off the win when Jan Vertonghen was shown a red card in injury time, but the result surely ended the Wembley hoodoo.

Here’s how Mauricio Pochettino‘s men rated as they took down Dortmund in Group H. 

Hugo Lloris  Powerless to keep out Yarmolenko’s sumptuous long-range equaliser, the Frenchman had to be on his toes several times to hare off his line and clear the ball. Produced a top-class save to deny Aubameyang’s snapshot. 8

Serge Aurier – Preferred to Kieran Trippier, the newcomer’s transition has been seamless since joining from Paris Saint-Germain in the transfer window. His pace is frightening and delivery is excellent. Looks to be an astute signing. 8

Ben Davies – Like Aurier, Davies overlapped well and got forward whenever possible to help in attack. However, this sometimes left his team-mates exposed, particularly in the first half, as Dortmund looked to exploit the space he had left. 6

Jan Vertonghen – Vital touch to take the ball away from Aubameyang who had looked poised to make it 2-2. Sent off after receiving a second yellow card in stoppage time for a suspected elbow. Looked harsh but will result in a one-match ban. 6

Davinson Sanchez – Has settled in very well at the heart of Spurs’ three-man central defence and had to be alert at all times against a potent Dortmund attack. His pace helped to get him out of trouble when caught slightly out of position. 7

Toby Alderweireld – Always a calming and authoritative figure in the Tottenham defence, the Belgian had a busy evening but coped admirably. An attacking threat from set-pieces, too. A class act. 7

Eric Dier – Booked in the first half for a studs-up challenge and had a tough task in stemming the influence of Dortmund playmaker Christian Pulisic. Shielded the defence well and marshalled Pulisic better in the second period. 6

Mousa Dembele – Had been doubtful for this match as Pochettino continues to manage his return to fitness and struggled to stamp his authority on the game as Dortmund dominated midfield battle. Not his best performance by any means. 6

Christian Eriksen – A quiet first half by his high standards as Dortmund enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, but the midfield schemer’s influence grew as the tie progressed. He underlined his vision by freeing Kane to bag his second of the evening. 7

Son Heung-min  Handed an opportunity in light of Dele Alli’s suspension and justified Pochettino’s faith by opening the scoring with a fine strike from a tight angle. Spurned a presentable chance in the second half to add to his tally but his link-up play was excellent. 8

Harry Kane Restored Spurs’ lead with a near carbon-copy of Son’s goal, for which he provided the assist, when he fired home from a tight angle with powerful left-footed strike. Added his second to make it 3-1 with another pinpoint finish. September has been much kinder to Kane than August was. 9

Subs

Moussa Sissoko – Introduced for Son and made one surging run in injury time. 6

Fernando Llorente – Came on as a late substitute for Kane to make his debut for the club. N/a

Rob is a freelance writer, specialising in football, who previously worked as a sports journalist at the Dorset Echo. A long-standing AFC Bournemouth supporter, Rob can often be found on the terraces at the Vitality Stadium. Follow him on Twitter - @RobMeech

Borussia Dortmund

A move to Borussia Dortmund would be ideal for exiled Simon Mignolet

The Belgian goalkeeper has fallen behind Lorius Karius in the Anfield pecking order.

Max Cohen

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Photo: Getty Images

Without a league appearance for Liverpool since New Year’s Day, Simon Mignolet has been completely frozen out at Anfield after inconsistent performances.

Recent reports in The Sun have linked the Belgian goalkeeper with a transfer to Borussia Dortmund, a move that would perfectly suit the 30-year-old in a bid to rejuvenate his career.

The former Liverpool number one has split time with Lorius Karius after the German joined the Reds in the summer of 2016, but seems to have been finally supplanted as the first choice goalkeeper this winter.

The tipping point perhaps came in Liverpool’s 3-3 draw with Arsenal in late December. Mignolet made a number of high-profile errors at the Emirates, most notably failing to deal with Granit Xhaka’s speculative long-range strike.

During his horror show against Arsenal, the Belgian earned an abysmal WhoScored rating of 4.88. He made just two Premier League appearances after that match before Karius took over between the sticks.

(Photo by Paul Ellis/Getty Images)

It now seems clear that the Belgian’s time at Anfield has come to an end after five years at the club.

With the Reds constantly linked with the continent’s top goalkeepers such as Alisson Becker, as reported earlier by the Mirror, Mignolet will find himself well down the pecking order at Liverpool.

A move to the Westfalenstadion would be a tremendous opportunity for Mignolet to ply his trade at one of the biggest clubs in Europe, with Champions League football and an adulating fan base on offer.

The 30-year-old still has many productive years left in his career, and can still provide some moments of world-class quality in goal.

A transfer to Borussia Dortmund would grant Mignolet first-team football and a chance to impress at the highest level of European football.

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Borussia Dortmund

Three talking points as Tottenham secured top spot with a Champions League win over Borussia Dortmund

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Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham ensured that they progressed to the Champions League knock-out stages as Group H winners after coming from behind to see off Borussia Dortmund in Germany on Tuesday night.

Dortmund – who were reliant on Real Madrid dropping points at Cypriot minnows APOEL Nicosia in the evening’s other fixture to stand any chance of progressing to the last 16 – took the early advantage when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang finished smartly from Andriy Yarmolenko’s clever flick.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side nearly crafted an equaliser before the break, only for both Christian Eriksen and Eric Dier to be denied in the space of a few minutes after superb work by ‘keeper Roman Burki.

But it didn’t take long for the visitors to draw level in the second-half, with Harry Kane afforded too much space on the edge of the box as he arrowed an effort into the corner with his first real chance.

Son Heung-min’s effort 15 minutes from time, a fine curling finish after tenacious work from Dele Alli, then sealed the turnaround and condemned the hosts to a shock early Champions League exit.

Tottenham bounce back after derby disappointment

After Saturday’s harrowing and disappointing defeat to old foes Arsenal, manager Mauricio Pochettino summed up Tuesday’s performance perfectly by labelling it as the ‘perfect reaction’.

It is hard to disagree with the Argentinian either, with his side displaying far more grit, determination and character at the Westfalenstadion to forget about their Premier League defeat and come from behind to beat a strong Borussia Dortmund outfit, securing their surprise status as Group H winners.

It seemed like they were suffering a North London derby hangover of sorts when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fired the hosts in front on the half-hour mark, but Spurs dug deep and showed that they are aiming to do more than just make up the numbers in the Champions League this campaign.

All of a sudden they burst into life after the break, with Harry Kane and Dele Alli – who were both anonymous at the Gunners – getting involved more and causing problems for a tiring home defence.

It was the former who levelled things up when Kane’s neat low drive found the back of the net, signalling his sixth Champions League goal in five appearances this season, whilst Alli was influential in assisting both goals, seeing off two Dortmund defenders before laying off to Son Heung-min for his winner.

It wasn’t a match that needed to be won, considering Tottenham had already secured their safe passage into the knock-out stages, but the manner of victory will no doubt send out a message across Europe.

Dortmund’s decline ends in Champions League exit

Yet, whilst Tottenham will be buoyant and nervously await the draw for the last 16 next month, Borussia Dortmund will be reflecting on where things went wrong after a dismal European outing this season.

Despite having a number of world-class individuals in their ranks – Aubameyang, Shinji Kagawa, the young Christian Pulisic, Mario Gotze and the injured Marco Reus are all part of the squad at the disposal of manager Peter Bosz – it’s been a stuttering season both in Europe and domestically too.

Their inability to beat Cypriot minnows APOEL Nicosia across two matches all-but put an end to any aspirations of knock-out football, and it seems that the Europa League will now be their next destination.

Add this to their woeful Bundesliga form of late, losing four of their last five matches and drawing the other one to leave them nine points adrift of the top of the table, and warning signs are now flashing.

It’s all a stark contrast to 2013, the year that the German side fell narrowly short in the Champions League final, and it’s clear for all to see that something is fundamentally not right just four years on.

The fact that Aubameyang – who was left out of the Dortmund squad for their Bundesliga defeat at Stuttgart last week after being sanctioned by Bosz – barely celebrated a sublime goal tells its own story of the club’s affairs, and it seems that the head coach could be walking on a very fine tightrope.

Pochettino’s conundrum after Aurier impresses

One thing that was clear from Pochettino’s team selection on Tuesday, other than the clear fact that he was looking for a quick response to the Arsenal defeat by selecting a strong side, was that summer signing Serge Aurier seems to be the preferred right-back option for the Champions League this season.

The £24 million man may have garnered a reputation for being a bit erratic but, contrary to some of his rash moments this season, he played with an element of maturity and care on Tuesday evening.

He certainly warranted his selection at Dortmund, always offering an outlet on the right-wing and constantly finding himself with a wealth of space to run into behind their captain Marcel Schmelzer.

Aurier’s delivery was generally accurate too, forcing the Dortmund defence into last-ditch blocks inside their own area with Kane lurking, whilst he kept things compact alongside Davinson Sanchez at the back.

It would no doubt have hurt the Ivorian to have been omitted from the side for the mightily impressive win over Real Madrid after playing in Tottenham’s opening three European matches, but on Tuesday’s showing he’s laid down a marker for rival Kieran Trippier ahead of the knock-out stages.

Considering the question marks hanging over the head of boss Pochettino about whether Kyle Walker could be replaced it’s certainly not a bad dilemma to have, and a bit of healthy competition between two viable wide options could prove key for Tottenham as the season goes on.

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Analysing Tottenham striker Harry Kane’s two-goal heroics against Borussia Dortmund

Rob Meech

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Harry Kane

Much had been written about Harry Kane’s barren August, in which he failed to score. However, the drought is well and truly over now September has arrived. Since finding the net for England during the international break, the 24-year-old has rediscovered his scoring boots in spectacular fashion.

His brace against Borussia Dortmund in Tottenham Hotspur‘s opening Champions League Group H clash was as impressive as it was timely, providing his side with the perfect start to their European adventure and banishing the Wembley Stadium hoodoo.

It’s no secret that Tottenham are heavily reliant on Kane (perhaps overly so) to be their chief attacking threat, but he rarely lets them down. Manager Mauricio Pochettino will be relieved that his star man is back to his best.

The England striker had a hand in all three of their goals against Dortmund, setting up Son Heung-min for the first before netting either side of half-time to ensure Spurs sent home their supporters happy.

Both goals underlined Kane’s natural ability as a finisher, which has earned him the Premier League’s Golden Boot trophy in the previous two seasons. His first was a carbon copy of Son’s, cutting in from the left and unleashing a rasping drive that beat Roman Burki at his near post.

Perhaps the Dortmund keeper’s positioning was questionable, but such was the power and pinpoint accuracy of Kane’s strike that it would have taken some stopping wherever he had been stationed.

Although Dortmund looked vulnerable at the back, their attacking prowess had caused Spurs problems all night and a 2-1 lead seemed precarious. So Kane’s second of the night was mightily important because it effectively killed off the game.

After being put through by Cristian Eriksen, Kane still had work to do to create enough space to get his shot away. Once again, the accuracy was such that it left Burki with little chance of preventing it from nestling in the back of the net.

Kane could have completed his hat-trick before he was substituted to a rapturous reception from the Wembley faithful, but the damage had been done. Everyone knows Kane likes to shoot from all areas of the pitch, but opponents seem powerless to stop him.

His two goals from four efforts – as well as an assist – represented an excellent night’s work for a man who has grown in stature to become one of the most prolific strikers in Europe. Kane will remain fundamental to Spurs’ hopes of honours this season, both domestically and in Europe.

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