Tottenham's Champions League group - Who are their opponents?
Tottenham have established themselves as a top-six side and this will be their second successive season in the Champions League. They were knocked out last season in the group stages, but they were drawn in a tough group. This season, it is imperative that they make it through to the knockout stages if they are to be seen as a top club in Europe, but the draw hasn’t made it easy. Here is the lowdown on the three teams they will be playing in the group stage:
They are the most decorated club when it comes to the European Cup and are currently the most feared team on the continent after winning the last two Champions Leagues. It is difficult not to see them getting to the latter stages of the competition again.
These two fixtures will have an extra line of narrative to them. Gareth Bale and Luka Modric will be facing their former club for the first time since leaving, which will make for two interesting encounters.
Although Tottenham have come a long way under Mauricio Pochettino, they will struggle to compete with Real Madrid. They aren’t at the Spanish club’s level yet, but it will be a good litmus test of where they are as a team.
The German club are going through a transition period after changing their manager during the summer. Peter Bosz will look to get the team playing good football as his Ajax side did and the two matches against Tottenham should be interesting for the neutral. The Dutchman showed that he can effectively manage European ties, as his Ajax team got to the Europa League final last season.
Dortmund may be going through transition, but they have a lot of talented players in their squad. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Marco Reus and Christian Pulisic will be leading the attack, which will worry the Tottenham defence. They have more pedigree at this level and that gives them a slight advantage, but they are a team that Spurs could get the better of.
The Cypriot team have dominated their national league for a number of years, as they have won ten of the last 15 championships. They managed to reach the group stages with a 2-0 aggregate win over Slavia Prague and this will be the fourth time in their history that they have made this stage of the competition. Their best performance in the Champions League came in 2011/12 when they managed to reach the quarter-finals before losing to Real Madrid.
Tottenham need to be wary of them as they have nothing to lose and have had success in European competition before. Last season, they shocked the world to knock Bilbao out of the Europa League to reach the last 16 of the competition. Spurs should take six points of them, but they can’t afford to underestimate the Cypriot team.
Verdict – Tough draw
They have been handed the toughest draw of the five English clubs, but all hope isn’t lost for them. The two matches against Borussia Dortmund are key. If they manage to take four points from the German side, they will have a great chance of qualifying for the knockout rounds. The games against Real Madrid will tell us a lot about where this Tottenham team are in their development, but it will be tough to take a positive result from either match.
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