Weblog: The football punter

Spurs could be pushed at the Signal Iduna Park

BT Sport 2, 8pm Tuesday

Tottenham have one foot in the Champions League quarter-finals but they may be made to sweat before overcoming Borussia Dortmund.

It looks simple enough for Spurs as they head to Signal Iduna Park with a 3-0 first-leg advantage after a devastating second-half performance at Wembley three weeks ago. One away goal will surely be enough to take the last-16 tie away from the German hosts.

However, Dortmund are likely to hit Tottenham with their full might early and could at least grab a half-time lead against opponents who will be looking to manage the tie rather than push for victory.

Tottenham have been behind at the break in their home games against Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal this season and went 2-0 down away to Chelsea in a Carabao Cup semi-final when they unsuccessfully tried to protect a 1-0 first-leg advantage.

Spurs also trailed at the interval in both their group-stage encounters against Barcelona, and Mauricio Pochettino's team, who have taken only one point from their last three league outings, are arguably in their worst form this season.

No visiting team have won at Dortmund this term but the good news for Spurs is they don't need to win and they have goals in them, particularly with Harry Kane back to full fitness.

Dortmund, who have seen their nine-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga whittled down to just goal difference by Bayern Munich, are on a run of only two clean sheets in 12 games. Friday's 2-1 defeat at Augsburg also made it 13 goals conceded in their last six games.

Lucien Favre's men, however, have won 13 of their 15 home games in all competitions this term, and that includes a success over Bayern and a thumping 4-0 triumph over Atletico Madrid in the group stage.

Dortmund have never managed to overturn a 3-0 deficit from the first leg of a European tie, but they went close in 2014 when beating Real Madrid 2-0 at home after losing 3-0 at the Bernabeu.

On that occasion Dortmund pinged the lids and were 2-0 up at the break with Marco Reus scoring both goals. His absence from the trip to Wembley was a huge factor in Dortmund's disappointing display but the talismanic skipper returned to action on Friday.

Reus and Jadon Sancho give Dortmund a sniff, particularly as the hosts have scored at least twice in all 12 of their Bundesliga home games, but the atmosphere inside one of the most intimidating arenas in world football is likely to fall flat if Spurs score.

Therefore a bet on Dortmund to take the early initiative feels like a more sensible punt.

Dortmund to win the first half

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Match in Focus


Kazakhstan v Scotland

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Key stats
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Expert verdict
Nearly 21 years have passed since the Tartan Army last followed Scotland to a major international tournament.However, there is a quiet confidence that the Scots can end that barren run. The Kazakhs are ranked 77 places below Scotland and have won only three of their last 40 major tournament qualifiers.