With the absence of injured playmaker Marco Reus, Borussia Dortmund will face Tottenham in the Champions League without their best player, Germany legend Lothar Matthaeus said Tuesday.
Reus has scored 17 goals and created 11 more for the Bundesliga leaders this season, but a thigh strain will keep him out of the last 16, first leg against Spurs at Wembley.
“Now he’s also going to be missing for the important game against Tottenham – that won’t make it any easier,” said former Germany captain Matthaeus, now a Sky pundit.
“The third-best team in the Premier League against the best in the Bundesliga. I see the chances as 50/50.
“In Marco Reus, Dortmund are missing their best player.“
However, it is not just Reus who will be missing against Spurs.
Right-back Lukasz Piszczek is out with a heel injury, stand-in centre-back Julian Weigl has flu and striker Paco Alcacer is sidelined by a shoulder injury.
Dortmund head coach Lucien Favre is struggling with the effects of flu and England winger Jadon Sancho forgot his passport, forcing a red-faced dash home to retreive the document before making the flight to London.
“Yes, we have a few dropped out, but we won’t be going there just to wave,” said Dortmund’s director of sport Michael Zorc.
Reus injured his thigh last Tuesday while drilling home a direct free-kick against Werder Bremen, but Dortmund lost on penalties as the German Cup tie finished 3-3 after extra time.
Spurs are also without big names of their own as England forwards Harry Kane and Dele Alli are injured.
Matthaeus says Dortmund’s 3-3 draw at home to Hoffenheim on Saturday showed how much they miss Reus’ influence and organisation.
In his absence, Sancho, 18, already a full England international, has taken over playmaking duties and was outstanding in scoring a goal, setting up two more and hitting the post against Hoffenheim before Dortmund leaked three late goals.
“He (Reus) is the one who instills respect until the very end and has a controlling hand on the whole Dortmund game,” added Matthaeus.
“They have also won games without him and were 3-0 ahead on Saturday.“
Matthaeus says Saturday’s draw will have given hope to defending champions Bayern Munich, who closed the gap in the Bundesliga table to five points behind Dortmund with a 3-1 home win against Schalke on Saturday.
“The points Dortmund lost will have given Bayern a push, they’d have been inspired.”