2017 UCL Picks: BVB or Spurs in Group Stage Opener?

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Tottenham (+146) vs Dortmund (+210), Draw (+270)

We can safely assume that Real Madrid will advance from the Group Stage of the 2017-18 Champions League, so that leaves just one qualification spot for Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham Hotspur to fight over in Group H. The two teams meet for their Group-Stage opener at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday, September 13th.

Dortmund is off to a good start this season. They’ve had two comfortable rounds in the Bundesliga, beating Wolfsburg 3-0 and Hertha 2-0, and their prospects are promising under new manager Peter Bosz.

The summer transfer period was a stressful time for the club, with rumors surrounding star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and youngster Ousmane Dembélé forcing a move to Barcelona. But in the end, it wasn’t so bad. They managed to retain Aubameyang and let Dembélé go for a cool €105 million (probably far more than he’s worth).

There’s a lot for Dortmund to be hopeful for. Mario Götze, who struggled with health and weight issues all last season, is finally back on track and ready to start again for his childhood club. Meanwhile, American wunderkind Christian Pulisic is blossoming into one of the top players in the league.

It’s not all good news. Marco Reus is still injured and probably won’t be back until next year, while André Schürrle isn’t likely to be match-fit for the Spurs clash. The chances defender Raphaël Guerreiro recovers in time are looking slim, as well.

Unlike Dortmund, Tottenham have had a mediocre start to their domestic season, beating Newcastle (2-0), losing to Chelsea (1-2), and drawing against Burnley (1-1). If you’re familiar with the Spurs of last season, then you probably know what to expect for this season. Tottenham didn’t make any noteworthy signings over the summer and they’ve found an eerily similar replacement for departed defender Kyle Walker in the form of Kyle Walker-Peters.

Spurs will be without Danny Rose and Érik Lamela due to injury, and Dele Alli is still serving a UEFA suspension. That leaves quite a few gaps in the starting lineup. Dortmund’s high-tempo, high-pressure style of play is always entertaining to watch. With the Spurs’ backline diminished due to injuries and transfers, they will have some trouble defending against all the German pressure. At +210 and rolling, the road team offers better value. 

Pick: Dortmund (+210)