Axel Witsel’s comments ahead of Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League clash with Tottenham Hotspur have come back to haunt him.
The 30-year-old Belgium international had some strong choice of words about the Premier League, saying that it was surrounded with “media hype” and that there was not much of a difference in quality when compared with the Bundesliga.
“I do not think the Premier League is better than the Bundesliga on the whole,” he told Sportbuzzer.
“It’s all about the media hype. Many more people in the world see the Premier League on TV because it is almost everywhere receivable.
“For historical reasons, the international media are more geared to England than to Germany, Italy or France. But I do not see any serious difference in the quality of football.”
Well, those words didn’t age well, did they now?
The German club suffered a 3-0 defeat to Spurs in the first leg of their Champions League tie.
Despite the absence of Harry Kane and Dele Alli through injuries, Mauricio Pochettino’s men put on a strong showing at Wembley Stadium.
Son Heung-min opened the scoring in the second half, leaving Jan Vertonghen to double their lead late on and Fernando Llorente, who came off the bench, to seal the victory when he scored Spurs’ third of the match.
Witsel, who has his own wigs being sold on the club’s official website (no, seriously, they’re amazing), was right when he said that Spurs would be tough opposition for the current Bundesliga leaders.
“I know some of the players like my Belgian compatriots Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld,” he explained.
“Tottenham are a strong team, they are rightly in the top flight of the Premier League. It will be exciting games between Dortmund and the Spurs, the odds are in my view at 50-50.”
The second leg will be played at the Westfalenstadion on 5th March, with Spurs holding a comfortable aggregate lead over their opponents.
Following on from the match, the Spurs boss praised his side’s excellent performance in the second half.
“It was a fantastic second half. The first half was difficult. It was a difficult game from the beginning. It was difficult to find what the best position was in both directions,” Pochettino told BT Sport.
“When we had the ball we struggled to play in the way we wanted to play. The team started to feel comfortable, then we scored. And afterwards, we played with more confidence.
“In the first half, we played a little — not nervously — but not with the confidence. The second half was very, very good.
“We spoke about our defensive positions and changed things a little. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I wanted to take the best decision to perform in the best way. It was a fantastic game.
“Always when we play this competition and against a good side like Dortmund it is very difficult. There is still work to do.
“We have a lot of talented players. We have an unbelievable squad. I am happy with all the players. The only problem is that we can only play 11 and not 22.”
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Featured Image Credit: PA