Marco Reus’s second-half brace means Borussia Dortmund will take a three-goal cushion to north London after the German team emphatically beat Tottenham 3-0 in the first leg of the sides’ UEFA Europa League round of 16 tie.
Buoyed by a rocking atmosphere, Dortmund took control of proceedings almost immediately. Gonzalo Castro shot over after just six minutes, before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang volleyed Marcel Schmelzer’s cross over the bar soon afterwards. That same duo combined for a deserved Dortmund opener on the half-hour mark, Aubameyang rising highest to meet Schmelzer’s inch-perfect cross and head past Hugo Lloris.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan almost added a second before the interval, although the Armenian’s long-range effort deflected wide. Dortmund remained on top in the second period and might have doubled the lead within five minutes of the restart when Castro struck the post from a tight angle.
Soon afterwards the Bundesliga outfit did extend their advantage, Reus volleying home emphatically from close range after Neven Subotić’s flick. Reus was soon at it again, collecting Castro’s dink over the top and hammering past Lloris to round off a brilliant Dortmund display and give Thomas Tuchel’s men a comfortable cushion to take to London.
The Weigl show
Julian Weigl has deservedly received plenty of praise this season, and the 20-year-old demonstrated exactly why in a brilliant showing. Weigl was crucial to Dortmund’s domination in both attack and defence. The young midfielder was involved in most of his team’s best forward moves and swept up confidently when dropping deeper.
While Reus’s goals will grab the headlines, Aubameyang’s all-round game was one of the decisive factors on the night. The Gabon international had already figured in several flowing moves prior to his breakthrough goal, and could have added an assist when Castro rattled the upright from his clever through ball in the second period.
Tuchel wins tactical tussle
There was much pre-match discussion about the tactical battle between Dortmund’s Tuchel and Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino, but it was the German coach who easily held sway. Dortmund were outstanding from the first whistle – pressing high, attacking at pace and leaving Spurs no breathing space. That the Bundesliga side scored three, and might well have had more, against the Premier League’s strongest defence tells the whole story.