PARIS: Brilliant Borussia Dortmund have one foot in the quarterfinals of the Europa League after sweeping aside Tottenham Hotspur with a 3-0 win in their last 16, first leg on Thursday (Friday in Manila).
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put the Bundesliga side ahead in the first half and Marco Reus netted twice in the second half at the Signal Iduna Park to leave Spurs with a mountain to climb in next week’s return in north London.
This was a clash between the second-placed team in Germany and the second-placed side in the Premier League, although Tottenham’s chances of competing evenly with their formidable opponents were not helped by coach Mauricio Pochettino’s decision to rotate his squad.
For his 100th game in charge, Pochettino made seven changes to the team that drew 2-2 with Arsenal last weekend as Harry Kane, Kyle Walker, Erik Lamela and Mousa Dembele were left on the bench and Dele Alli was suspended.
Teenager Joshua Onomah was among those handed a start against a Dortmund side near full strength, although Ilkay Gundogan was missing with a foot injury.
Thomas Tuchel’s side are five points adrift of Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga, the same distance that separates Spurs from Leicester City at the top of the Premier League.
But Dortmund showed the greater desire to keep progressing in Europe, with Aubameyang following in to score after Hugo Lloris blocked a fine Henrikh Mkhitaryan volley early on only for the offside flag to cut short the celebrations.
However, the rapid Gabon international forward did get the breakthrough on the half-hour mark, rising above Ben Davies to head home a Marcel Schmelzer cross from the left.
Tottenham were simply never at the races, and Gonzalo Castro hit the post from a tight angle in the 51st minute after Aubame¬yang had lifted the ball over Lloris.
Dortmund struck again on the hour mark, substitute Neven Su¬bo¬tic heading on a Castro cross for Germany star Reus to lash home on the volley at the back post.
And they appeared to have the tie sewn up as Reus scored his second of the evening with 20 minutes remaining, stroking past Lloris from close range after superb build-up play involving Aubameyang and Castro.
Elsewhere, holders Sevilla drew 0-0 away to Basel in Switzerland and ended the game with 10 men following the late sending-off of midfielder Steven N’Zonzi.
Shakhtar Donetsk, UEFA Cup winners in 2009, are in a strong position after beating Anderlecht 3-1 in Ukraine.
Taison and Olexandr Kucher struck in the first period for Shakhtar and Eduardo added a third late on after Frank Acheampong pulled one back for the Belgians.
Fenerbahce have the edge against Portuguese side Braga following a 1-0 win in Istanbul given to them by a late Mehmet Topal goal.
Later, old foes Liverpool and Man¬chester United meet at Anfield in the first ever encounter of the clubs in European competition.
Athletic Bilbao and Valencia clash in an all-Spanish tie, while Villarreal host Bayer Leverkusen and Lazio visit the Czech capital to take on Sparta Prague.