Thursday, January 19, 2017

Prediction: Bayer Leverkusen vs Tottenham

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 4/6

Bookmaker: Bet365

It has been a mixed start to the UEFA Champions League season for Bayer Leverkusen and Tottenham Hotspur who go head to head on Tuesday in Germany looking to land three points that would help them make a significant step forwardtowards clinching the spot in the knockout stages of the Europe’s elite competition.

Bayer Leverkusen

Rodger Schmidt’s team have made an inconsistent start to their domestic season so far, having recorded only four wins in ten matches across competitions since late August. Their morale-boosting win over Borussia Dortmund just before the international break was supposed to serve as a huge incentive for the team to go forward and improve, but Leverkusen succumbed to same old habits as they have been dealt a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Werder Bremen in a first game after the break, thus continuing the inconsistent ride that saw them fail to notch back-to-back wins so far in the season. Despite their mixed start to the season, Leverkusen are an accomplished European side and will be looking to grab more than a point against Spurs. Schmidt’s men have opened their European account with consecutive draws – 2-2 draw against CSKA Moscow and 1-1 at Monaco – and possible three points would be a great incentive in the highly-competitive Group E. Beating the in-form Tottenham will be easier said than done, more so knowing that Bundesliga side are struggling with injuries.

Team News

Joel Pohjanpalo’s metatarsal fracture will keep him out of contention for about ten weeks, while Karim Bellarabi is another long-term injury with his adductor surgery.

Lars Bender is suffering from an illness, while Vladlen Urchenko is yet to start a single game this season due to fibula fracture.

Tottenham

Mauricio Pochettino’s side is facing a daunting run of fixtures over the next couple of weeks, but Europe’s elite competition is one of the priorities for the Premier League club and Spurs are expected to go full strength against their German rivals. After the disappointing start to the UEFA Premier League season in which they lost to Monaco 2-1 and then won at CSKA Moscow, the Spurs have no other choice but to attack if they want to keep their chances of making a progression alive. Pochettino’s team have been enjoying a successful five-match winning spell prior to the international break, but the Spurs have been forced to settle for a 1-1 draw at West Brom last time out. The Baggies proved to be a tough nut to crack as Pochettino’s men were force to chase the result until the very dying moments of the game. Alli’s 89th-minute equaliser saved Tottenham an embarrassment in the weekend’s Premier League match and Spurs are keep to get back to winning ways. Tottenham are an exciting team to watch and Pochettino will surely urge his men to uphold the reputation they worked hard to create over the last 12 months or so.

Team News

Pocchetino could choose to shuffle his deck a bit, with Eric Dier holding out for a central defensive role in the new 4-1-4-1 system.

Toby Alderweireld is out of the game with a knee injury and will be replaced by Kevin Wimmer, while Mousa Dembele is expected to be left out of the squad as Pochettino is eager to save him for the challenges that are yet to come.

Key Aspects to Consider

  • Tottenham lost only one game this entire season
  • Spurs won 3 of their last 5 matches on the road this term
  • Leverkusen are unbeaten at home since March 2016
  • Bundesliga side kept a clean sheet in only 2 of their last 10 matches
  • Spurs beat Leverkusen in Germany in Europa League in 2006

Conclusion

Tottenham Hotspur might be in better form at the moment, but Mauricio Pochettino is expect to adopt a cautious approach for his team’s trip to Germany. Faced with a busy schedule he might choose to rest some of his first-team members, which might give a chance to out-of-form hosts, who will be relying on former Manchester United forward Javier Hernandez to get the result they need.

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 4/6

Bookmaker: Bet365

Bookmaker: Bet365

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