Have Tottenham got enough to defeat Leipzig?
It’s all been looking a bit gloomy around Tottenham Hotspur of late as they prepare to face RB Leipzig in the Champions League.
Eric Dier seeking out home fans in the stand, a manager reverting to his downbeat old self in press conferences and Harry Kane still sitting out injured….there have been a number of issues of late.
If Jose Mourinho can somehow instil a positive mindset in players, his beleaguered Tottenham squad may just realise that fourth place in the Premier League is still attainable and they’re currently still in Europe’s premier competition.
This week Spurs travel to Bundesliga title chasers RB Leipzig in the Champions League last-16 second leg. Whilst the first meeting was an insipid affair for the Lilywhites, the 1-0 scoreline in favour of the Germans means all is still very much to play for.
Of course, Leipzig are no pushovers. Previously considered naive on the big stage when making their European introduction in 2017, some big game performances have started to turn heads. Armed with a dynamic front line headed by Timo Werner, a run to the semi-finals of the Champions League may not be totally unrealistic, that’s if the football expert predictions are to be believed.
Spurs had keeper Hogo Lloris to thank during the two sides’ meeting at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with the Frenchman pulling out a string of impressive saves. However, even he wasn’t able to keep out a 58 minute Werner penalty.
Perhaps most telling in the match, and indeed ahead of their upcoming encounter, was the loss of big game player, Son Heung Min, to a broken arm.
The South Korean international has been superb for Spurs at important times over the last two years – arguably improving the side when depended on in Kane’s absence. His performances during last season’s Champions League run were testament to that.
“I’ve won everywhere I’ve been to, I’ll win at Tottenham too.”- Jose Mourinho said to me today. pic.twitter.com/4G1DY5CXHZ
— Oma Akatugba (@omaakatugba) March 9, 2020
Mourinho only had positive words to say about two players following the first-leg defeat, his keeper and midfielder Giovanni Lo Celso – who’s touch of class looked the only danger for Lepizig. Indeed the Argentine almost levelled the affair when his free-kick was impressively parried by Gulacsi.
With Tanguy Ndombele looking decidedly uninterested at times, the travelling support will be hoping for a big match performance from Lo Celso, especially with new acquisition Steven Bergwijn missing with an ankle injury.
As for Leipzig, Werner gave a great account of himself in London, even using the opportunity to reminders reported suitors Liverpool of his talents.
Operating largely on the flanks, the forward showed pace to burn, awareness and an incisive eye for goal. The German international was a constant threat for Spurs’ leggy back-line. If Lloris wasn’t on top form, Werner could have made the second leg a dead rubber.
With the striker putting himself in the shop window, you can almost count on a big performance in Germany and Tottenham will be hoping they have enough to nullify his efforts.
Leipzig followed their successful trip to London with a thumping 5-0 victory over Schalke.
Their Bundesliga title aspirations, however, were dealt a blow when succumbing to a 1-1 draw at Bayer Leverkusen the following game, before drawing 0-0 at Wolfsburg last weekend.
As for their Premier League opponents, Spurs are winless in four matches, failing to get the better of Burnley at the weekend.
Whilst many would love to see the Tottenham of 2019 turning in an Ajax-like performance, most don’t feel Mourinho has enough to inspire his injury-hit troops and are looking at a comfortable Leipzig victory.