Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Breaking Down Tottenham Hotspur’s Chances In Europe This Season: Do They Have What It Takes?

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Anas Molla
An ageing teenager who apparently still likes Twenty One Pilots and HIMYM. Also fascinated by Greek and Egyptian mythology and history. Still waiting for my man Milos Raonic to win a Grand Slam.

Tottenham Hotspur are one of the five sides representing the Premier League this season in the UEFA Champions League and perhaps the most unlucky teams as well. Spurs were drawn in the so called group of death this term. The Group H is comprised of defending champions and twelve time UCL winner Real Madrid, German Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund and Cyprian champions APOEL, who are definitely no sledge.

The English runner up last season, started their Champions League campaign on a bright note, however. In an emphatic 3:1 win over Borussia Dortmund, where Harry Kane totally dominated the opposition defence, Tottenham finally managed the break the Wembley curse. The win will give them an imperious advantage over their German giants when it gets down to the wire. In this article, we will talk about Spurs’ chances in the UEFA Champions League this season, in light of their remarkable win over Dortmund last night.

Group H – Breaking Out Of the Group

Their first hurdle on the road will be the group stages and as far as Spurs are concerned, it’s a pretty tough one for them.

Real Madrid have looked impregnable in the Champions League over the past couple of seasons. Their overall dynamics advances to a whole new level, whenever they don their European kits. Los Blancos have a good team, with a striking combination of youthful exuberance and experienced veterans. Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos and Marcelo are one of the most successful players of the UCL in the current era while they also have the likes of Jesus Vallejo, Marco Asensio and Dani Ceballos, all of whom are making a strong case for a place in the starting lineup.

Borussia Dortmund have been one of the perennial top dogs of German football and the Champions League for past five or six years. The Black and Yellows reached the final in 2013, only to lose against their fierce rival Bayern Munich at, yes, you guessed it – the Wembley.

Dortmund are undergoing reconstruction under their new head coach, Peter Bosz, after the sacking of Thomas Tuchel after the end of last season. The Dutchman has solid players at his disposal but faces an injury crisis at the moment. In the game against Spurs, Dortmund were missing no less than seven key players through injury, four of them were regular first teamers. Marco Reus’ absence will be a huge blow for Bosz, and with Schurrle, Guerreiro also injured for a few weeks, Die Schwarzgelben might face massive problems. However, once they get their first team regulars back from injury, they will no doubt be a team to fear against.

APOEL on the other hand, are the Cyprian champions, who won’t bogged down by the presence of some world class clubs in Group H. Beating them will still be a challenge for each of three top dogs.

Verdict:

Real Madrid look untouchable at the moment, and it’s kind of naive to think that they will spread up once again like last season in the group stages. Therefore, the fight for getting out of the group comes down between Dortmund and Tottenham. As mentioned earlier, the win in the opening matchday can be very crucial for Mauricio Pochettino’s men later on in the season.

But it all depends on how they perform in the fixtures against Real Madrid, and of course, the return fixture against Dortmund at the Signal Iduna Park, where the Black and Yellows have an astonishing record. One thing that will hand Dortmund an advantage over their English counterpart is their exposure of playing in the competition.

They know how it’s like to play against Real Madrid or any other top team in Europe. In fact, Real Madrid have a rather terrible record vs the Ruhr giants, so it’s paramount that the Lilywhites need to perform well against the Spanish champions.

Prediction:

Borussia Dortmund will sneak away with the second spot. Like it or not, Dortmund had a long list of regular starters, out injured last night, and even then, they did really well to scour Tottenham in the final third. Had it not been for some bad referring, the outcome could have much more different. The Dortmund team will only get stronger next time, as players like Julian Weigl, Raphael Guerreiro and Marcel Schmelzer return to the fray.

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