RB Leipzig v Tottenham Hotspur 10th March, Tuesday, at the Red Bull Arena, Germany
After the last couple of days I’ve given up predicting, but I am hoping for the best.
We head to RB Leipzig in the Champions League in the hope of overturning a 1-0 deficit from the first leg of the last-16 tie.
Timo Werner scored the only goal, from a penalty, thus giving Leipzig an advantage ahead of the second leg. This means we have a lot of work to do in the second leg if we want to progress to the quarter-final stage of the competition.
Leipzig are third in the Bundesliga with 50 points from their 25 matches, they are unbeaten in their last six games in all competitions but were held by Wolfsburg in the league on Saturday, probably because their minds are on other things.
This is the first time that the German side had faced us in any competition and indeed the first time that they had locked horns with English opposition.
The Germany side finished three points clear at the top of Group G to progress to this stage, and they have now won six of their 13 Champions League matches. That said, the German team have won just one of their last four home European games, which is a record that will hand us confidence.
Tottenham will enter the game off the back of a five-game winless run, suffering four defeats across three separate competitions in the process. We did, however, pick up a point when we faced Burnley on Saturday. We are now eighth in the domestic league—seven points off the top four.
Spurs twice lost to Bayern Munich in the group stages of this season’s Champions League but still comfortably qualified for the knockout stage. They reached the 2019 European Cup final after beating Borussia Dortmund, Manchester City and Ajax in the latter stages before losing out to Liverpool.
With the problems we’ve got I can’t see us progressing to the final, even if we beat our opponents in Germany, but saying that, in football, anything is possible.
Ibrahima Konate and Kevin Kampl are still unavailable for Leipzig through injury, but Willi Orban made the bench against Wolfsburg on Saturday having recovered from knee surgery. Centre-back Dayot Upamecano missed the first leg through suspension but should start on Tuesday as on-loan Chelsea defender Ethan Ampadu is struggling with a back problem.
Kane and Son remain on the sidelines, while Moussa Sissoko is still on the treatment table following a knee operation. Juan Foyth could potentially return as he battles back from a groin problem, though, while Steven Bergwijn is expected to shake off a knock and will probably play.
Lucas Moura, Harry Winks, Serge Aurier and Giovani Lo Celso started on the bench against Burnley on Saturday but should all return, while Erik Lamela could keep his spot in a wide area.
Leipzig possible starting lineup:
Gulacsi; Klostermann, Upamecano, Halstenberg; Mukiele, Laimer, Sabitzer, Angelino; Werner, Schick, Nkunku
Tottenham possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Aurier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Bergwijn, Winks, Lo Celso, Lamela; Alli, Lucas
We are undoubtedly able to turn things around, but it is challenging to imagine that we will get the result that we need due to our absences in the final third of the field. All I will say, remember Ajax when we were written off by the football critics. They said it was theirs for the taking; instead, it was us that went to the final.