Champions League match preview: RB Leipzig vs Tottenham Hotspur
If Tottenham do turn this around, credit must be given to captain Hugo Lloris, whose performance in the first leg prevented the tie from being a foregone conclusion.
Julian Nagelsmann’s side outmanoeuvred Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham tactically and physically in the first leg. For all their dominance, they could only come away with a one-goal lead. The narrow margin will give Spurs hope of another Champions League miracle.
The English side faced similar odds going into the semi-finals last season. Things did not start well as they quickly found themselves 2-0 down on the night. Tottenham rallied in the second half to complete the unlikeliest of comebacks as we went through on away goals.
There is no reason why we cannot do it again, even if Leipzig do prove to be a much more formidable opposition than Ajax. In Nagelsmann, they also possess one of the best young coaches and will be ready for the task.
Tottenham come into the game after a series of poor results where the club has now won in the last five games. Leipzig is a hard place to go to and Spurs will have to be at their best.
As the matches against Schalke and Lyon have shown, Leipzig can be beaten and it is not a foregone conclusion by any means. The first goal could set the trend of things to follow and hopefully, a turnaround here will sow the seeds for another memorable run.
Tottenham will be without long-term absentees Harry Kane, Son Heung-Min Son and Moussa Sissoko. Tanguy Ndombele is likely to be dropped after his display at Burnley, with Eric Dier returning to midfield after a couple of assured performances.
Aurier and Davies were rested at Turf Moor and should return to the line-up. Steven Bergwijn looked to be nursing a slight knock and could make way for Erik Lamela. Ryan Sessegnon is also ruled out for the game as Mourinho is once again likely to start Dele Alli up front.
Leipzig skipper Willi Orban will not be in contention due to a knee injury while Kevin Kampl, Ibrahima Konate and Timo Werner are all carrying knocks. The latter is expected to shake it off in time for the clash but won’t be a surprise to see him start from the bench either. Dayot Upamecano, who missed the first leg due to suspension, is available and looks likely to start.
Hugo Lloris, Serge Aurier, Toby Alderweireld, Davinson Sanchez, Ben Davies, Harry Winks, Eric Dier, Giovani Lo Celso, Erik Lamela, Lucas Moura, Dele Alli.
Peter Gulacsi, Lukas Klostermann, Dayot Upamecano, Marcel Halstenberg, Tyler Adams, Konrad Laimer, Marcel Sabitzer, Angeliño, Timo Werner, Patrik Schick, Christopher Nkunku.
Players to watch
The man of the match in the first-leg. The tie would have been over if not for the Spurs captain. He was at hand to deny Timo Werner and Patrik Schick as the Germans ran amok at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium.
He was a wall in goal and it took a penalty to beat him. Tottenham cannot afford to concede a goal here and will once again look to their captain to be the inspiration.
He will have his work cut out against a marauding German attack egged on by a baying crowd. Lloris has shown time and time again as to why he is one of the world’s best and will have to prove it here once again.
The lynchpin of the Leipzig defence. The 21-year-old is one of Europe’s best young defenders and will provide Spurs with a formidable challenge.
He missed the first-leg due to suspension and yet, Spurs could not find a way through a stoic German defence. Their job will be made much harder now given Upamecano’s skill and ability.
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A towering presence, the French colossus would have provided a challenge for Kane and Son, let alone the makeshift attack Mourinho will have to put up. Possessing speed, strength, and stamina, Upamecano will play an important role in helping the Germans keep the Spurs attack at bay.
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