Tottenham Hotspur vs Bayer Leverkusen: Match preview and predicted line-ups
The last Champions League tie between these two was only two weeks ago – a 0-0 draw in Leverkusen’s Bay Arena. This will be Spurs’ second Champions League tie at Wembley Stadium, and they will be aiming to go one better than their debut 1-2 defeat to Monaco, as victory against the German side will make qualification for the knockout stages of the Europa League at least seem a formality, but will also be one step closer to Champions League knockout stages.
Leverkusen are floundering in 10th position in the Bundesliga, and will want the Champions League to provide a positive distraction from average domestic form. The only previous meeting between the two sides, before October’s 0-0 stalemate, came in the UEFA Cup in 2006 when Spurs triumphed by a goal to nil. Mauricio Pochettino will want to continue Spurs’ undefeated record against the side from the Ruhr, to help escape Group E, which many fans of the North London side expect as a minimum.
Spurs find themselves in 5th position in the Premier League, but are only three points off of the summit, due to the congested nature of the upper echelons of English football. Despite this, Spurs will rue some points dropped such as a 0-0 draw away at Bournemouth and a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane against Leicester. These results (as well as the corresponding fixture in Leverkusen) convey the reliance of the Lilywhites on the goals of Harry Kane.
As alluded to above, Leverkusen have not exactly set the world alight so far this season. Roger Schmidt’s side won three and lost four of eight Bundesliga fixtures, as well as losing in the second round of the German Cup to third division side Sportfreunde Lotte, who last year were playing in the regionalised German fourth tier. Three draws from three Champions League matches epitomises the mediocre nature of their start to this campaign. However, with players in their side such as Javier Hernandez, Stefan Kiesling and Hakan Calhanoglu the German side will always present a threat going forward, and now with the Champions League arguably the top priority for Schmidt, expect Leverkusen to come out swinging.
Predicted line ups
Tottenham Hotspur predicted line up:
Bayer Leverkusen predicted line up:
Suspensions and injuries
It has been reported that Toby Alderweireld and Harry Kane are ‘close’ to returning to the first XI fold for Spurs. Pochettino admitted it is touch and go whether the duo are fit enough to feature against Leverkusen, so if in doubt, expect the Argentine to air on the side of caution and not rush back two of his star players.
Leverkusen will be without skipper Lars Bender through injury and first-choice centre-backs Jonathan Tah and Omer Toprak are both struggling with match fitness.
This is a fixture between two evenly matched sides, and ‘home’ advantage may well be the deciding factor. Spurs will be keen not to lose again at Wembley following the slip up against Monaco, and considering they fought for a hard earned point in Leverkusen, they know they can go toe to toe with the Germans. Whilst a point would be on the face of it a good result for Leverkusen, the more ambitious fans will want three points to alleviate pressure in the Group E table. Our prediction Spurs to win 2-1.
Featured image: All rights reserved by Mase
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