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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Spurs v Olympiacos, 26.11.19

This season's away game - Matchday 1 - Olympiacos 2 Spurs 2
Preview of Olympiacos v Spurs 18.09.19
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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
42 19   9  14  81 - 61

(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 Olympiacos
P    W   D   L   F - A
223 121 51  51  443-229

Champions League Group B

                   P  W  D  L  F-A  GD  Pts
1. Bayern Munich   4  4  0  0 15-4 +11  12
2. Spurs           4  2  1  1 13-9  +4   7 
3. Crvena zvezda   4  1  0  3  3-13 -10  3
4. Olympiacos      4  0  1  3  5-10 -5   1      

Let's secure that qualification tomorrow!

When did Spurs last have a manager whose first home game was in European competition? Both Mauricio Pochettino and Jose Mourinho began their Spurs careers with away games against West Ham. Both games were won, by one goal. In 2014, Mauricio's second game was a European match, but it was away in Cyprus against Limassol. That was a Europa League play-off match and probably the last game where Spurs Odyssey has not carried an eye-witness report, as I found there was absolutely no TV coverage and regretted my decision not to travel. Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane scored our goals in a 2-1 win.

It is interesting to note that one of the post-match survey comments made read:- "Kane's not my favourite player, but he can be effective and always tries. One or two decent moments" Harry went on to score 31 goals for his club that season, and of course, has never looked back, reaching third place in our all-time scorers' list with his goal on Saturday at the London Stadium. Harry also scored in our 3-0 home win against Limassol for good measure.

Infamously, Martin Jol's last game in charge was a home European match against Getafe. Now that was surreal. Famously, of course, Keith Burkinshaw's last game in charge was a European match - none other than the 1984 UEFA Cup Final! Juande Ramos's last game was also in Europe - away to Udinese - and was far less prestigious!

The fact is that Jose Mourinho is the first Spurs manager whose first game at home will be in European Competition. Not just any old competition of course, but one that he has won twice before with Porto and Inter. He's won plenty of other trophies too, including other European wins such as the 2017 Europa League with Manchester United. We can all bet on him being ultra keen to add to his winning CV with Spurs this season.

An interesting piece of trivia I spotted today is that our match referee tomorrow Georgi Kabakov (from Bulgaria) was in charge of Jose's last Champions League game with Manchester United last December when United lost 2-1 away to Valencia. Mr Kabakov has not refereed a Spurs first team game before, although he was in the middle at Hotspur Way for our Champions Youth League quarter-final when we lost at home to Porto in March 2018. Spurs lost that game and Mr. Kabakov saw fit to book three of our players; two of the Porto side, AND sent off George Marsh late in added time for a second bookable offence. There were four yellow cards in that Valencia-United game, and I see that this referee has sent off three players in his last four games, so both teams need to be wary, I suggest.

This sport is wonderful for those who love trivia and statistics, and I hope I don't bore you too much, but Spurs-Mourinho-Champions League-Porto- Kabakov is less than six degrees of separation, isn't it? Here's one more piece of trivia for you then. Defending European Cup-Winners' Cup holders West Ham played against Olympiacos in the second round of the 1965/66 season's competition. The "Hammers" reached the semi-final, but were beaten at home and away by Borussia Dortmund.

Spurs can and should secure their path to the Round of 16 in this game, but mathematically, with nothing to lose, Olympiacos would fancy their chances if they won tomorrow, with a home game against Crvena zvezda to follow. A draw would be enough for Spurs assuming Bayern win or draw in Belgrade.

Olympiacos are neck and neck with PAOK at the top of their domestic league. The two sides are level on points. Olympiacos drew away to Panionios on Saturday and have won just two of their last six games. Two of those matches were the head-to-head defeats against Bayern. The one point Olympiacos have gained so far in Group B was in the home game against Spurs in September, when we threw away a two goal lead. We must hope that such events become rarer under the new management.

The Spurs team news seems to suggest that both Jan Vertonghen and Tanguy Ndombele will be in the reckoning, but I understand they may still be subject to late assessments. Ben Davies is definitely out, still awaiting full assessment following his injury against West Ham when he had to be replaced by Danny Rose. No doubt Rose will step in tomorrow. Erik Lamela, Michel vorm and Hugo Lloris are definite absentees.

Will we see many differences in Jose's team after Saturday? Wait and see is the answer. However, a performance replicating our first hour against the "Hammers" should ensure the result we all want, and I'll go for a 2-0 win. It's just a shame that Spurs do not seem to be able to sell all their tickets for this game, but we should still see a decent crowd. I'll be there!

"Ten Years After" - Spurs Odyssey reviews the season in which we first qualified for the Champions League. 22nd November, 2009 - A momentous day for none other than ex-Hammer Jermain Defoe as he scored 5 goals in our 9-1 win over Wigan!

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