The Europa League round of 16 draw has thrown up a series of intriguing ties, but Thursday's clash between Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham Hotspur is one of the most interesting. These teams are both eminently watchable outfits coached by two of the most talented young tacticians in Europe, and the upshot will hopefully be a thoroughly entertaining first leg at the Westfalenstadion.
Dortmund head in as slight favourites: they've not only got a slightly stronger squad but they've also not lost a single match this calendar year. They've only failed to win twice in every game they've played this side of Christmas. As for Spurs, they've hit a slightly rocky patch of form at an inopportune moment, and have won just two of their last five. Still, they may feel liberated away from the pressures of their Premier League title push, and certainly shouldn't be discounted.
Key player: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund)
Since the departure of Robert Lewandowski to Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich a couple of seasons ago, Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has stepped up and filled his teammate's boots superbly. The Gabonese international has scored 33 goals in 35 games in all competitions so far this season, matching a blistering pace with some deadly finishing. He's one of the most prized assets in European football at the moment, and could well make the difference in this tie.
Key matchup: Spurs' counter-attack vs. Dortmund's defence
Playing away from home with a slightly weakened team, it's likely that Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino will set his side up to play on the counter-attack. That could well prove to be the way forward, with wingers Son Heung-min and Erik Lamela both having the speed and skill necessary to prove lethal in such a system. It'll be up to Dortmund's full-backs -- likely Łukasz Piszczek and Marcel Schmelzer -- to try and keep them at bay.
Borussia Dortmund injuries and suspensions
Out: Sokratis Papastathopoulos (muscle). In doubt: None.
Tottenham Hotspur injuries and suspensions
Out: Clinton N'Jie, Jan Vertonghen (knee); Dele Alli (suspended); Danny Rose (calf); Eric Dier (rested). In doubt: None.
Dortmund's only absentee is Greek international defender Sokratis, who won't recover from a minor muscular problem in time to be involved.
Spurs' list of unavailable players is a little longer: chief among their absentees are injured centre-back Vertonghen and suspended midfielder Alli. Full-back Rose is suffering with a minor calf problem and won't be risked, while anchorman Dier is being rested.
Match date/time: Thursday, 1 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. local
Venue: Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany
TV: FOX Sports 2 (U.S. - English); ESPN Deportes (U.S. - Spanish); beIN Sports (Canada); BT Sport 2 (U.K.)
Online: FOX Soccer 2GO, FOX Sports GO (U.S.); beIN Sports Connect (Canada); BT Sport live streaming (U.K.)