RB Leipzig will have an excellent opportunity to advance through to the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League for the first time in the club’s history when they play hosts to Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday. The Bundesliga outfit sealed an advantageous 1-0 away win in the first-leg, which means even a draw would be enough for them to advance.
After failing to win their last two matches, Julian Nagelsmann will be looking for a more direct and lucid attacking approach against Tottenham this midweek. However, the cynosure should be on the defensive side of the game as they look to conserve their slender one-goal lead. Nagelsmann could retain his three-man backline, however, with wingbacks once again looking to provide width going forward.
Tottenham have failed to win any of their last five matches in all competitions. Therefore, it won’t be surprising to see Jose Mourinho favouring a more attacking approach, mainly because he will be desperate for his team to go further in the Champions League this season. He could continue to opt for a four-man defence while Dele Alli could operate as the false number nine, ahead of Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn.
Nagelsmann will miss out on the services of his key defenders, including Ibrahima Konate. Willi Orban is also not expected to feature despite returning to full fitness. Aside from that, Kevin Kampl has been ruled out while Timo Werner is a doubt. On the bright side of things, though, Dayot Upamecano is available after missing the first-leg due to suspension.
Predicted Lineup: Gulácsi; Klostermann, Upamecano, Halstenberg; Sabitzer, Adams, Laimer, Angeliño; Werner, Schick, Nkunku.
Mourinho is missing offensive firepower with both Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min out injured. Their absence has led to Spurs’ evident struggles while Ryan Sessegnon is also missing. Moreover, key midfielder Moussa Sissoko has been out for some time too and isn’t expected to feature this time either.
Predicted Lineup: Lloris; Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Davies; Winks, Ndombele; Lamela, Lo Celso, Bergwijn; Alli.
Leipzig will undoubtedly rely on the services of main man and top scorer Werner. Although the German international is carrying a knock, he is expected to shake it off and start against Tottenham. His pace on the far side, combined with his telepathic combination play with Patrik Schick could once again cause terror in the Spurs backline that has severely underperformed this season.
On the flip side, Tottenham will rely on the exploits on Lo Celso. The Argentine has been one of the club’s top performers since joining the club permanently during the January transfer window. Often, he has been the only spark in the final third and on Tuesday, Mourinho will be hoping that he can provide the magic that would help the club turn this tie around.