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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Spurs v Leipzig, 19.02.20

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Spurs' record in Europe:-
The official crest of Tottenham Hotspur
U.E.F.A Champions League
 
 P  W   D   L   F - A
43 19   9  15  82 - 64

(Finalists 2019)
 
European Cup
P   W   D   L   F - A
8   4   1   3  21 - 13
 
(Semi-Finalists 1962)
 
European Cup Winners Cup
 
P   W   D   L   F - A
33  20  5   8  65 - 34
 
(Winners 1963)
 
UEFA Cup/Europa League
 P    W   D   L   F - A
140  78  36  26  276-121 
 
(Winners 1972, 1984
 Finalists 1974)
The club logo of RB Leipzig
Total
P    W   D   L   F - A
224 121 51  52  444-232

Champions League Group B

                   P  W  D  L  F-A  GD  Pts
1. Bayern Munich   6  6  0  0 24-5 +19  18
2. Spurs           6  3  1  2 18-14 +4  10 
3. Olympiacos      6  1  1  4  8-14 -6   4     
4. Crvena zvezda   6  1  0  5  3-20 -17  3

Champions League Group G

                   P  W  D  L  F-A  GD  Pts
1. RB Leipzig      6  3  2  1 10-8  +2  11
2. Lyon            6  2  2  2  9-8  +1   8 
3. Benfica         6  2  1  3 10-11 -1   7     
4. Zenit           6  2  1  3  7- 9 -2   7
      

Who is going to step up to the plate for Spurs?

The news that Son Heung-min suffered a fracture to his arm during Sunday's game at Villa Park could not have come at a worse time with this tough Champions League match plus Saturday's crunch game at Stamford Bridge on our immediate horizon.

The question is - who is going to step up to the plate for Spurs who are will now be missing their two top scorers for the forseeable future? Lucas Moura and Dele Alli are next on the Spurs scorechart with 8 goals apiece in all games. Erik Lamela faces another late assessment and with Troy Parrott seemingly not quite good enough in Jose Mourinho's eyes the next few games will see us needing Lucas, Dele, Steven Bergwijn, Gedson and Lo Celso at the top of their game able to fill the front four places with perhaps Lamela and Sessegnon helping out at times. At least Jose does still have some options. Let's hope we can avoid more debilitating absences.

The full name of RB Leipzig is "RasenBallsport Leipzig". The club was only founded in 2009 by the Red Bull company, who purchased the playing rights of a fifth tier side - SSV Markranstadt - with the intention of rising to the Bundesliga within 8 years. That objective was achieved in time for the 2016/17 season when the meteoric rise was confirmed by the club finishing as runners-up to the mighty Bayern Munich. They were 15 points behind but it was enough to entitle them to their first season of Champions League football in 2017/18.

Leipzig finished third in their Champions League group behind Besiktas and Porto in 2017. They made it to the Europa League quarter-finals, beating Napoli on the way. In their second Bundesliga season, Leipzig finished sixth and had to be satisfied with entry to the Europa League. They finished third in their group behind Salzburg and Celtic.

Last season Leipzig finished third in the Bundesliga behind Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, earning a second Champions League season. As you can see in the table above, they topped their group which was pretty tight with runners-up Lyon, Benfica and Zenit St. Petersburg all separated by just one point. Leipzig beat Zenit at home and away, and also beat Benfica away, but drew with the Portuguese side at home. They only managed to get one point off Lyon.

Leipzig's two goals away to Benfica certainly kick-started their campaign and both goals were scored by 23 year old Timo Werner who has amassed 70 goals in 115 Bundesliga games for the club. Werner has 29 senior caps for Germany and has scored 11 times in those games. He is currently behind only Lewandowski in this season's Bundesliga scoring charts with 20 goals to Lewandowski's 23. Neither of them scored of course in the recent 0-0 draw between the two sides, who currently lie first and second in the league.

Werner hasn't scored in his last five appearances though, one of which was half an hour as substitute in a cup game that Leipzig lost.

When the draw for this round was made Leipzig topped their league, and they only lost their place to Bayern after recent results which include two defeats to Eintracht Frankfurt (one in a cup match) and draws against Borussia Monchengladbach and of course Bayern. On Saturday Leipzig beat Werder Bremen 3-0. Werder Bremen were our first Champions League (proper) opponents in September 2014, but they are currently in the Bundesliga relegation zone. Leipzig will clearly be formidable opponents.

Werner is by far and away Leipzig's leading scorer with 25 goals in all competitions this season. Austrian Marcel Sabitzer (who plays anywhere across the attack) is behind Werner with 7 league goals and 12 in all competitions. Sabitzer is the captain and likes a shot from outside the area, including free kicks. Look out too for wingman Christopher Nkunku and right back Lukas Klostermann. Leipzig will be missing centre-back Dayot Upameecano for this game through suspension. He is an important player for the German side. 21-year-old Dani Olmo was signed in January from Dinamo Zagreb and has already made three appearances for his new side.

Familiar names in the Leipzig squad include Ademola Lookman who was signed from Everton at the beginning of the season. Lookman has made just two starts for Leipzig so far this season. Angelino was recently signed on loan from Manchester City. He has made three appearances all of which have lasted the full 90 minutes. Goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi is a Hungarian International who spent several years on Liverpool's books until 2013, but never made a first team appearance, spending some time on loan at lower level clubs. Gulacsi was on the bench for some Liverpool games, including three matches against Spurs between 2008 and 2013.

Southampton manager Ralf Hasenhuttl was Leipzig's manager for two seasons until May 2018. Their current manager is Julian Nagelsmann (32) who had four seasons at TSG Hoffenheim where he had some Champions League experience. After this draw was made the Leipzig coach said:- "Spurs is a very nice and exciting! It is a top team in Europe, in a fantastic city, with world stars who have experienced a lot. Of course it won't be easy. But we are really looking forward to it - especially the stadium."

I'd love to predict a Spurs win, and you'd love that too, but somehow I think Leipzig are going to be returning to Germany with an advantage. Perhaps it will be a draw, leaving the tie on a knife-edge for the return leg on March 10th

This will be the sixth time referee Cuneyt Cakir has been in charge of a Spurs game. He wasn't very popular with Spurs Odyssey voters when Borussia Dortmund beat us 3-0 in the Europa League in March 2016, but we loved him (and VAR of course) on April 17th last year at The Etihad!. Mr Cakir had the same assistant referees that night too.

"Ten Years After" - Spurs Odyssey reviews the season in which we first qualified for the Champions League. On 21st February, 2010 we beat Wigan 3-0 away. The scorers were Defoe and Pavlyuchenko (2).

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