RB Leipzig vs Tottenham Hotspur
Red Bull Arena, Leipzig
Wednesday, 10-03-2020 @11pm
Ref: Carlos Del Cerro (Spa)
Tottenham Hotspurs will have to perform extremely well so as to overturn a 1-0 deficit away to RB Leipzig when the two sides face off on Tuesday in the return leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie.
Jose Mourinho’s side were second best three weeks ago as they lost to a Timo Werner second half in the first leg at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Julian Nagelsmann does not have any fresh injury concerns to contend with On Tuesday, the RB Leipzig boss will likely be without four first-team players in the worst case scenario.
The good news, though, is that Timo Werner is expected to be fit to start after picking up a knock in the goalless draw with Wolfsburg this past weekend. As for those who could miss out for Leipzig, Ibrahima Konate (hamstring) and Willi Orban (knee) are surely unavailable, while Ethan Ampadu (back) and Kevin Kampl (ankle) are major doubts.
The 3-4-3 formation and its variants have been the go-to setups for Nagelsmann lately and the RB Leipzig manager should line up with a similar system against Tottenham. Peter Gulacsi is the obvious choice in goal for the hosts.
In front of him, the back three should once again feature Dayot Upamecano, Marcel Halstenberg and Lukas Klostermann. Manchester City loanee Angelino has made quite an impression since making the move to Leipzig and will take his place as the left wing-back. On the opposite flank, Nordi Mukiele is a certain starter.
Konrad Laimer will be tasked with curbing the flows of the Tottenham attacks through the middle of the park and will be partnered by Marcel Sabitzer. Sabitzer, who will don the captain’s armband for RB Leipzig, will have the responsibility to pull the strings in midfield.
Werner will undoubtedly be the man in spotlight for Leipzig. The German international will play off Patrik Schick, with Christopher Nkunku completing the numbers in the final third. Nkunku’s change of pace will be the X-Factor for the hosts, with Werner charged with being clinical in front of goal.
Jose Mourinho has been crippled by a spate of injuries to key players over the last couple of months and the situation has hardly improved for him ahead of the trip to take on RB Leipzig. On Tuesday, the Tottenham Hotspur manager will be without as many as six first-team players.
The latest player to be sidelined is Steven Bergwijn, who sustained an ankle injury against Burnley this past weekend. The Dutch international will be unavailable for a considerable period and has joined Son Heung-min (arm), Moussa Sissoko (knee) and Harry Kane (hamstring) in the treatment room, while Ben Davies (hamstring) and Juan Foyth (thigh) are ruled out as well.
The absence of Davies means Japhet Tanganga will be stationed in the left-back slot, with Serge Aurier starting on the opposite flank. Toby Alderweireld and Davinsion Sanchez will pair up at the heart of the defence, which will provide cover to Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris in goal.
The injuries restrict Mourinho’s options in midfield and attack, especially with Tanguy Ndombele unlikely to be picked after coming under criticism from the Tottenham manager last week. Harry Winks and Eric Dier are, therefore, certain picks in the midfield double pivot, with Giovani Lo Celso starting in the advanced midfield role.
Dele Alli led the line for Tottenham this past weekend and should do so once again when Spurs pay RB Leipzig a visit for the Champions League Round of 16 second leg. Finally, Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura pick themselves as the two wide men for Tottenham.
Tottenham are the first English side to visit RB Leipzig in a competitive match. Spurs have only lost one of their five away Champions League games in Germany (W2 D2), although that defeat came this season at Bayern Munich in the group stage. They have been eliminated from eight of their last 10 major Uefa European knockout ties after losing the first leg, although they overturned a deficit the last time this happened against Ajax in last season’s Champions League semi-final. Four of RB Leipzig’s past five Champions League goals have been penalties, including each of the past three. Only one team has ever scored more than four penalties in a single Champions League campaign – Barcelona in 2011-12 (five). All three of Spurs’ Champions League defeats this season have been against German teams (two against Bayern Munich, one against RB Leipzig). Only one team has ever lost more than three in a single campaign all against teams of the same nation, with Leeds United falling to all five of their defeats in 2000-01 against Spanish opponents. RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner is yet to find the net in six home Champions League appearances, attempting 22 shots without success. In away games Werner has scored seven goals from 14 shots. He has scored more Champions League goals without scoring at home than any other player in the competition’s history. Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann, 32, is the youngest manager to take charge of a Champions League knockout match. The youngest to progress from a knockout tie is Didier Deschamps, then 35, in 2003-04 with Monaco.
The other game on Tuesday
-Valencia vs Atalanta