Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino took a huge chance and threw a soft starting 11 in Germany to face Borussia Dortmund in the opening leg of their Europa League home and home. The make-shift lineup was punished as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opened the scoring and Marco Reus scored twice in the 3-0 rout.
The decision to rest his stars most likely made the return leg in London next week nothing more than a formality. It would take an epic rally for sure. Pochettino clearly decided to have his focus on the weekend match with Aston Villa and the English Premier League title chase. Tottenham did not put on the performance of a 2nd placed side. By the time Harry Kane, Lamela and Mousa Dembele entered the match Tottenham's fate was more than decided. They were dead and buried.
Dortmund delighted the home fans throughout the ninety minutes of play and truthfully Spurs were lucky the score was not much worse than the 3-0 final. Only the experience of defenders Toby Alderweireld and Kevin Wimmer kept the scoreline within any semblance of respectibility.
Next year Tottenham will have a Champions League spot and they will need to be able to negotiate the busy European schedule much better than they showed on Thursday in Germany.
Tottenham's heaviest defeat of the season leaves them a mountain to climb against a Dortmund team who must be considered one of the favourites to win the Europa League this season.
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino summed it up: "It is difficult to explain but it's a bad day and I'm disappointed with our performance. We did not play well. That is why we lost the game. We need to fight in the return leg next week. Three-nil is not a good result for us but we still need to keep working hard and try next Thursday."