Tottenham Hotspur travel to Borussia Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday aiming to complete a job they started three weeks ago at Wembley Stadium.
Spurs beat the Bundesliga leaders 3-0 in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 meeting, making the London club heavy favourites to progress to the quarter-finals.
Although Tottenham have one foot in the next round, there are two men who could yet have a say in which side progresses.
Mauricio Pochettino, who guided his side to triumph in last summer’s International Champions Cup, will be hoping versatile forward Heung-min Son will be on form once again against BVB, having scored in the first leg and boasting a prolific record against Dortmund during his time in Germany with Bayer Leverkusen.
And Dortmund boss Lucien Favre will be counting on his inspirational captain, Marco Reus, to carry the fight to Spurs and inspire his crop of gifted charges to a spectacular comeback.
Son has been outstanding for Spurs this season. With 16 goals from just 35 games in all competitions this term, the South Korean star is only two goals shy of equalling his tally for the entirety of last season, in which he made 53 appearances.
The 26-year-old has also proven an adept provider, contributing six assists.
Son arrived at Spurs from Leverkusen in the summer of 2015 and took time to settle in the Premier League, seen primarily as a back-up to the more established attacking players at the club.
However, there is little doubt that Son is now considered one of Tottenham’s most important men, someone Pochettino can rely on to perform in various positions, no matter the opposition.
Comfortable on either wing, as a No.10 or further forward as a central striker deputising for Harry Kane, Son delivers.
And it was Son who got the ball rolling against Dortmund at Wembley last month, opening the scoring early in the second half. With Kane out injured, the former Bundesliga star led the line for Spurs, partnered in attack by Lucas Moura.
Kane’s absence dealt a blow to Tottenham’s hopes of overcoming BVB, but Son’s performance ensured the England captain was not missed.
His goal was his ninth in 11 career appearances against Dortmund, having scored twice previously against the Black and Yellows for Spurs in the Champions League and five times in six Bundesliga meetings during his time in Germany with Hamburg and Leverkusen.
Kane has since returned from injury, meaning Son is likely to occupy a deeper starting position in the second leg. But his form and history of being a thorn in Dortmund’s side means Son will once again be Tottenham’s best bet for securing a safe passage through to the quarter-finals.
Stood in Tottenham’s way is a youthful and vibrant Dortmund side, coached by Favre and led on the pitch by 29-year-old captain Marco Reus.
Many of Dortmund’s exciting youngsters, such as Jacob Bruun Larsen and USMNT standout Christian Pulisic, thrilled audiences during the 2018 International Champions Cup, but there is little doubt that Reus is the key man.
The German international has long been considered one of Europe’s finest attacking talents, but injuries have too often prevented the former Borussia Mönchengladbach star from showcasing his skills consistency at the highest level.
He has enjoyed a clean bill of health this season, though, and has been the central figure in BVB’s ascent to the summit of the Bundesliga.
With 13 league goals from 20 starts this term, Reus has already produced his most productive campaign in front of goal since 2013/14 and is on course to eclipse his career-high 18 Bundesliga goals from 2011/12 with Gladbach.
Stationed centrally as a No.10, the fact the mountain of injuries the German has endured throughout his career may have robbed him of some of his speed and agility is counteracted by the pace and energy of colleagues such as Jadon Sancho and Bruun Larsen.
Reus is the man who links it all together in the final third, the filter through whom all BVB attacks pass and are refined. Capable of finding the corner of the goal from any angle or range and with either foot, as well and being able to unlock defences with one-touch combinations and through-balls, Reus is the man most capable of rescuing Dortmund from their deficit against Spurs.
Whether it’s Son securing a sure thing or Reus to the rescue, both players have the chance to reassert their status among the game’s most effective attacking players on Tuesday.
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