Dortmund provide next test of Tottenham’s strength in depth

Tottenham Hotspur face yet another test of their progress under Mauricio Pochettino when they travel to face Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

Both teams have not had the best build up to this encounter, with the Germans currently on a five-match run without a Bundesliga win and Spurs still recovering from their 2-0 defeat to rivals Arsenal on Saturday.

The trip to Dortmund provides Pochettino with a chance to further examine his squad as a whole, with some significant changes expected from the side that lined up at the Emirates Stadium at the weekend.

As has been the case for the last couple of seasons, the Lilywhites’ wing-backs are interchangeable and it would not be a surprise to see Serge Aurier and Danny Rose come in for Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies respectively.

Harry Winks’ displays against Real Madrid earlier in the competition should see him restored to the starting XI, whilst there is the option to bring the likes of Son Heung-min and Fernando Llorente to bolster the attack.

The options at Pochettino’s disposal are a far cry from Tottenham’s last visit to Westfalenstadion, when the sides met for a Europa League last-32 tie in early 2016.

At the time, the North Londoners were chasing down Leicester City in the Premier League title race and this was reflected in the inexperienced line-up that the Argentine boss picked that day.

Dortmund ultimately triumphed 3-0 on the night against a team featuring players such as Josh Onomah, Ryan Mason and Tom Carroll.

That Pochettino can now go to the same opponents and rotate his options without weakening the side as a whole is testament to what he has built at Spurs over the intervening year-and-a-half.

Indeed, they travel to the 2013 Champions League finalists as Group H leaders having already qualified and can seal top spot by matching Madrid’s result against APOEL Nicosia.

After going unbeaten against Los Blancos in their two meetings it would be disappointing to then let Zinedine Zidane’s men off the hook by failing to dispatch a Dortmund outfit that need a victory to remain in with a chance of progressing to the knockout stages.

Finishing at the head of the group means it is likely that Tottenham will receive a favourable draw for the last-16 and with Manchester City already 11 points ahead of them in the Premier League, this represents the more realistic chance of silverware this season.

Whilst their domestic campaign has hit the buffers, Pochettino would still be able to look back on a successful term if he secured a top-four finish and reached the Champions League semi-finals.

The position of the two sides prior to kick-off is a marker of how far Spurs have come since they last met on German soil.

Now the challenge is to reinforce their credentials by seeing off Dortmund and cementing first place in Group H, a feat that few would have believed possible when the draw was made back in August.