Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel believes Mauricio Pochettino has stamped a German style on Tottenham as the teams prepare to do battle in the Europa League last 16 on Thursday.
Dortmund became renowned for their speed, intensity and high-pressing game under Jurgen Klopp and now Spurs are reaping the rewards of a similar method under Pochettino.
Tottenham are gunning for their first English league title since 1961 while Dortmund are themselves enjoying an excellent season in Germany, where they also sit second, five points behind Bayern Munich.
Both teams are considered one of the favourites to win the Europa League and Tuchel was full of praise for Pochettino, who will be taking charge of his 100th Spurs game at the Westfalenstadion.
“You can clearly see his imprint,” Tuchel said. “Tottenham are physical but also have the technique and the speed.
“They’ve got a very complete game and can switch between pressing high in the opponents’ half and deep in their own half.
“We can see a lot of elements from German football – the early ball recoveries, the compactness, the way they defend, and also the way their outstanding attacking players are included in that defending.
“That is unique in English football. I am convinced they can stand every pace because English football has again become faster.”
Dortmund have not lost at home in the Bundesliga all season and Tuchel’s side have scored 59 goals in their 25 games so far.
Spurs, however, with the best goal difference in the Barclays Premier League, have found an impressive blend of attacking verve and resilience too, with Tuchel admitting his players will have to adapt to their opponents’ pressing game.
“They’ve got the best goal difference in England,” he said. “They can play with intensity and be compact in defence. And they have got outstanding individuals.
“[We need] to find free spaces as soon as possible. Can we evade their pressing and Gegenpressing? We have to get the ball into the opposing half with high precision but without risks. We want to get the upper hand during the matches.”
Dortmund became one of the most feared teams in Europe under Klopp, reaching the Champions League final in 2013, but Tuchel has reinvigorated the German side after Klopp’s turbulent final season at the club.
“Things happened because they happened and the group that we are,” Tuchel said. “During pre-season we developed it. It became our style.
“The style is always transforming, week after week, month after month. I believe what we see is the talent of the players and the certain something between the players. I am proud to be the coach here.”
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