Borussia Dortmund underlined their status as Europa League favourites with a masterclass show against a largely second-string Tottenham Hotspur, winning their last-16 first leg clash 3-0 on Thursday 10 March.
Marco Reus scored twice in the second half, after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had given Dortmund a 30th-minute lead, to hand the German side an emphatic advantage ahead of next week's return leg in north London.
The match in Dortmund promised to be an exciting fixture featuring the second-place sides in the Bundesliga and the Premier League. Some of the gloss was taken off the clash, however, when Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino chose to make seven changes to the side that had played in the Premier League, clearly with one eye on their domestic title challenge.
The game also promised to pit two of Europe's leading marksmen against each other, a spectacle that was denied for the majority of the tie as Spurs left leading scorer Harry Kane on the bench until late in the second half. That left Dortmund's Aubameyang as the leading attraction and the Gabon striker, who has scored 22 times in the Bundesliga this season, lived up to his billing.
He had a goal disallowed for offside before breaking the deadlock by heading a Marcel Schmelzer cross accurately past keeper Hugo Lloris and into the bottom corner. Meanwhile Pochettino tried to take some positives from what was a heavy defeat.
"Well, I think that it was a good experience but to play in the next level, you compete with a team like Borussia Dortmund, it is a test for you," he said at a news conference after the match, before going on to compare the standard of the match with the bigger European cup competition, the Champions League. "It is good to feel how a game in the Champions League is. And this is a team we need to take this experience from as a positive thing.
"The players are very sad. That is normal. But in the same way, we need to take some positive things. We have a big challenge for us next Sunday again Aston Villa (13 March). We are in a position in the table in the Premier League, a very good position to try to give our best. It's true that today was difficult for us but we need to be positive."