More than a few eyebrows were raised as Tottenham Hotspur put Borussia Dortmund to the sword in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie.
With Harry Kane and Dele Alli both absent, Mauricio Pochettino’s side was expected to find the going tough against a team that sits three points clear of Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga.
However, with Son Heung Min in scintillating form, Spurs cruised to a 3-0 win and are now comfortable favourites to progress to the quarter finals.
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After a goalless opening half, Son found the net just two minutes into the second period as he converted a pinpoint cross from Jan Vertonghen who excelled throughout playing from wide.
Vertonghen doubled the advantage on 83 minutes, before Fernando Llorente put the icing on the cake by nodding home a corner from Christian Eriksen.
Spurs were good value for the win as they registered 15 shots on goal to Dortmund’s 6, and shaded the possession with 53%.
Admittedly, the German side were missing stars of their own but they were still expected to provide a stern test at Wembley.
Pochettino was particularly pleased with his side’s efforts in the second half and he heaped praise on an “unbelievable squad”.
“In the first half we played a little – not nervously – but not with the confidence. The second half was very, very good,” he said afterwards.
“We spoke about our defensive positions and changed things a little. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
“I wanted to take the best decision to perform in the best way. It was a fantastic game.”
Kane returned to training this week and is well on his way back from an ankle injury sustained against Manchester United in January.
Indeed, his seven-game absence could come to an end as soon as this weekend’s Premier League game away to Burnley.
“He did everything to try to recover and of course the injury that he suffered is tough to recover from,” said Pochettino of the star striker.
“We’re so happy that in the last ten days he was fantastic, back in training again, and he can be available again. It’s going to be a massive impact for everyone [when he returns].”
Alli, meanwhile, is yet to return to full training but could still play a big role in the business end of the season once his hamstring injury clears up.
A Champions League win over a quality side like Dortmund will give Spurs and their supporters a lift with the Premier League title not beyond their reach.
They currently sit in third spot, five points behind Manchester City and Liverpool, but they have a game in hand on the former and the latter face a difficult trip to Manchester United on Sunday.
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January saw Spurs exit both domestic competitions in the space of four days, however their Premier League form has been strong; they head to Turf Moor this weekend on the back of four straight victories.
Speculation still surrounds Pochettino’s future at the club but with one foot in the last the eight of the Champions League, a potential league title race, and the return of two star players, it’s all about making the most of the present.