OPPONENTS RB Leipzig (Germany)
COMPETITION Champions League  Round of 16 First Leg
DATE Wednesday 19th February 2020
PREVIEW Things were going to be hard enough against RB Leipzig before Son breaking his arm at the weekend, but without him and Kane, there is a heavy reliance on Lucas Moura, Steven Bergwijn and Dele Alli to get the goals if we are to continue in this competition. 

The "most hated team in Germany" arrive at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium sitting second in the Bundesliga behind Bayern Munich by a point having reached the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time.  It is hardly surprising that they are at this point in their Champions League career, as they were in the Fifth Division in Germany 10 years ago, when they were rail-roaded up the leagues by Red Bull finance and although they are closely linked with the Salzburg side in the same roster, they are not in the eyes of UEFA, as they are RB Leipzig and not Red Bull Leipzig.

However they have got to where they are is by the by, but their rise has been founded on bringing in younger players to develop and then sell on at a profit.  There are a number of familiar faces among the club's ranks.  Ethan Amapdou is on loan from Chelsea and Angelino from Manchester City; former Charlton and Everton striker Ademola Lookman and coach Moritz Volz, who spent a lot of his playing career at Fulham.  Additionally, there are a number of players in their squad who Spurs looked at signing, such as Dani Olmo (formerly of Dinamo Zagreb), striker Patrik Schick (on loan from AS Roma), Amadou Haidara a midfielder who was with Red Bull Salzburg and  Dayot Upamecano - the young French central defender.

Of the others in their squad, Kevin Kampl played against us for Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League at Wembley and Goalkeeper Gulacsi used to play for Liverpool.   Yussuf Poulsen is one of the main strikers in the Danish national side, Emil Forsberg a talented Swede who plays on the wing and Timo Werner, one of the most sought after forwards in Europe at the moment (or come the next transfer window).  Werner has not been a regular of late, with his place on the bench a surprise, but the squad was being rotated for a DFB-Pokal match (German FA Cup).

Usually, Leipzig favour the slower build-up, working the ball through the lines before looking to release Werner.  Often this will involve getting the ball wide to use the pace of the wingers Forsberg, Sabitzer, Nkunku or Haidara.  All are able oof providing quality service to Werner or Poulsen.  The Dane has had a decent scoring record for his country, but sometimes he is not as clinical as Werner and chances can go begging.

Leipzig like to play the ball out of defence, taking their time to play a pass that will initiate an attack, with the ball going wide more often than being played straight through the opposition defence unless the opportunity presents itself.  Usually starting in a 4-2-4 set-up, the two midfielders employed are Laimer who is the more attacking, while Demme has a more defensive role.  Working the ball through them, they favour the left wing and Werner moves out to give the wide man an option of passing inside if required.  Often the wingers will move inside allowing space for the full backs Klostermann and Halstenberg to go on the overlap.

Like most teams they employ a press and this is usually high up the pitch.  When they don't have the ball they drop into a 4-4-1-1 formation, to give two banks of four to get through.  They pack the near post when defending corners and a flick on can leave them exposed at the far post, with them being vulnerable in open play in wide positions when the wingers squeeze infield and the defenders push up, leaving space for counter-attacks.

Tottenham's ability to exploit any weaknesses is limited by the squad available for selection by Jose Mourinho.  The inclusion of Ryan Sessegnon, although not a forward as the Head Coach says, his pace might be useful in running at the Leipzig defence.  With Bergwijn and Moura, pace might be the element of the Tottenham game that could reap benefits.  The midfielders will have to work back hard to ensure that the visitors don't outnumber us when they attack, but the ability to make a quick transition with the ball will be important in getting something to take back to Germany for the second leg.

It will be a tough ask without Son and Kane, but if Lo Celso can pick out runners with well-placed passes, then we might just have a lead for two weeks time.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    2        RB Leipzig   1
Heung-Min Son (broken arm) joins Moussa Sissoko (knee) and Harry Kane (hamstring) on the long-term injury list.  Erik Lamela faces a late fitness test, but Juan Foyth is not yet over his groin injury.
Central defender Dayot Upamecano is suspended for the first leg and the defensive line is further reduced by injuries to Ibrahima Konate and Willi Orban.  Leipzig might draft in Chelsea loanee Ethan Ampadu.

BT Sport 2 - (live coverage)
BT Sport 3  (Highlights)  Wednesday  00.00, 06.00, 10.30 & 14.15

For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here.

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152  (live coverage)
Commentary may be found on
>   BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW
TalkSport (DAB or 2nd89 MW)
Absolute Radio  (1215 AM/MW)

Internet :
The THFC Official website   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London -  Live commentaries listed down the page.
TalkSport (DAB or 1089 MW)

Champions League Round of 16 First Leg Kick off 20.00
Tottenham Hotspur  0 (0) RB Leipzig  1 (0)




Werner (p)  57m 09s

Lo Celso (foul on Sabitzer)  10 
Davies (foul on Laimer)  56 
Lamela (elbow on Sabitzer)  90+4 


Sabitzer  (foul on Bergwijn)  12
Werner  (foul on Winks)  33
Nkunku  (foul on Lo Celso)  72   


Crowd :   60,095 Weather :   Mild, some rain before the match
Referee :  Cuneyt Cakir  (TUR) Assistant Referees :  Bahattin Duran (TUR); Tarik Ongun (TUR)
Fourth Official :  Halil Umut Maeler  (TUR)  
Video Assistant Referee :  Mete Kalkavan (TUR) Video Assistant Referee Assistant :  Abdulkadir Bitigen (TUR)
UEFA Delegate :  Myrsini Psarrolpoulou (GRE) UEFA Referee Observer :  Domenica Messina (ITA)
RB Leipzig kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 8 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit RB Leipzig : kit
  1  Hugo LLORIS  (c)

24  Serge AURIER
  6  Davinson SANCHEZ
33  Ben DAVIES    

30  Gedson FERNANDES  (28  Tanguy NDOMBELE  64)
  8  Harry WINKS
18  Giovani LO CELSO    

20  DELE Alli (11  Erik LAMELA  64     )
27  Lucas MOURA

Unused subs: 
39  Japhet TANGANGA
  Oliver SKIPP


    1  Peter GULACSI

26  Ethan AMPADU

22  Nordi MUKIELE
  7  Marcel SABITZER  (c)    
27  Konrad LAIMER  (10  Emil FORSBERG  83)

11  Timo WERNER    (p)    
18  Christopher NKUNKU 
       (  8  Amadou HAIDARA  74)

21  Patrik SCHICK  (  9 
Yussef POULSEN  77)

Unused subs: 
28  Yvon MVOGO
17  Ademola LOOKMAN
19  Hannes WOLF
25  Dani OLMO


Manager :  Jose Mourinho Manager :  Julian Nagelsmann
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :  Red Bull
Kit Supplier :  Nike Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

Tottenham's missing injured strikers left the team light up top, but that is no excuse for this 0-1 defeat by RB Leipzig, which could have been much bigger if Hugo Lloris and the defence were not on their game and the missed chances the Leipzig forwards looked sheepish in taking.

The way that Julian Nagelsmann's side started, it looked like it could have been Bayern Munich all over again, but without threatening the German's goal too much, Spurs managed to protect theirs pretty well and a one goal deficit would be possible to turn over, but we may have the same problem in Leipzig.  The speed that they moved the ball and the technical ability to lay the ball off to team-mates who had made a run caused Tottenham all sorts of problems from the kick off.  Within 90 seconds of the game starting, Leipzig had four efforts on goal and Spurs were lucky to survive.  Schick's early strike form the edge of the area was pulled just wide and then Sanchez did well to block a shot from Werner, it ran across to the left of the box and Angelino ran onto it to drive a low shot on goal.  Lloris had got across and got his body in the way of the effort, which hit the near post and bounced out with the ball worked to Werner, who forced Hugo to another desperate block to keep the ball out.  We got away with that but soon Winksy was throwing himself in front of another Werner shot, as the striker tried to use this as an audition for a move to Liverpool.

The first attempt on the Leipzig goal came after eight minutes, when Bergwijn broke into the box on the left and shot, but it was going across goal to where Dele was stretching to reach it.  He got his shot way over the bar from a couple of yards out, but the offside flag was raised, so it wouldn't have counted anyway.  Lloris was behind a low 20-yard drive from Schick and Giovani Lo Celso picked up a yellow card for stopping Sabitzer from breaking away and the Leipzig man only got a booking for a crude tackle on Bergwijn when he looked to get forward on the halfway line.   While Spurs had the ball at the Leipzig end, they were not really putting much work Gulasci's way and the Tottenham goal had another close escape when Schick rose highest for a corner and glanced his header narrowly wide, with Angelino firing a low shot at Lloris a few minutes after.  The visiting team were shifting the ball swiftly to pull Spurs out of shape and create opportunities with ease, so it was taking a concentrated effort from our defenders to get the ball away. 

Leipzig were not worried about conceding free-kicks, normally in areas where they would not do too much damage and perhaps this is still part of Tottenham's European education in the darker arts.  Rather than letting Spurs get near the goal, they stopped any progress around the halfway line, but they were getting space on their left, with Gedson and Aurier struggling to cope with Angelino and Halstenburg's attacking intentions.  When we did get the ball, we could rarely find a ball to the forwards, as only Lucas was left up front and was often out-numbered.  Gedson floated a cross in but Dele's head couldn't make contact with it and then the Portuguese midfielder crashed a cleared corner over the bar.

Hugo Lloris made another very good stop, spreading his body to deny Werner a goal, when he found space in the box, before the Gedson-Dele incident was replaced with the England midfielder throwing himself forward at the ball, but not making it.  After a Spurs corner, the half-time break came with a concerned smattering of applause as the team trooped off, but with an underlying thought that we had got away with it so far.

The second half started with a flurry of toilet rolls bringing back memories of the 1970s from the German part of the crowd, who were, without irony, complaining about the price of tickets.  This is a club who weren't even around ten years ago and have been bankrolled by the massive Red Bull organisation, who changed their name to RasenBallsport Leipzig to avoid the Red Bull name that subsequently went to the Salzburg club the corporation bought.  They have the right to protest as fans of course, but perhaps their club could set the tone seeing as how they are a walking advert for their owners.

When football broke out, Spurs had a good chance created by a low cross into the box by Aurier and Lucas got a toe to it.  It was on target and the keeper made an unorthodox save by punching it out low to the floor, directing it to Steven Bergwijn, but the ball came quickly to him and he couldn't do much, other than volley it back into the ground.  Winks was running the ball up the field, shrugging off attempts to pull him back until they eventually got him, but again, it was in an inconsequential position that we couldn't make anything from.  Unlike RB, Aurier gave them a free-kick in a central position 22 yards out, when he ran into the back of Schick.  Luckily for Spurs, Nkunku couldn't get the ball to dip and it soared over the bar into the Paxton Road end.

In the 56th minute, Werner played a diagonal ball into the left side of our box.  It just cleared the 18 yard line and Ben Davies was hoping to hook the ball clear, but Laimer came from behind him and got clattered.  There was little argument that it was a penalty and Werner stepped up to take it, planting it just out of Lloris' reach as he dived to his right.  It was a deserved goal, but in the consequences of what had gone on in the first half, it was a bitter way for them to lead.  It was also the first time we had heard much from their fans, who had started the match with banners and flag waving, before twirling scarves over their heads.  They had done "The Walk", I guess from Seven Sisters to the ground, making a lot of noise, but many of them seemed intent on getting boozed up before going in.

The goal seemed to spark Tottenham into life and Lo Celso started taking charge, running with purpose and hitting a shot at Gulasci from 20 yards out after Bergwijn had put the ball in front of him.  On the hour, RB should really have been two ahead, when Angelino attacked down the left, pulled a low ball back to the edge of the box, where Werner stepped over the ball, completely selling Sanchez who went with him, leaving Schick in front of goal with only Hugo there to try ands stop him.  The striker was 12 yards for goal and hit his shot, that Hugo reacted excellently to, pushing it aside and keeping Spurs in the tie ... again.

Mourinho rang the changes with Lamela and Ndombele coming on for Gedson and Dele, who threw stuff around on the bench to show his anger. Nkunku, who had earlier been injure din fouling Davies, got a booking for a cynical foul on Lo Celso and from the free-kick the Argentine curled one around the wall that had the tall Gulasci diving at full length to push it onto the post.  Leipzig made a couple of subs to try to introduce fresh legs, as a lot of their player seemed to be struggling with the pace of the game.  There was a shocking moment that the referee failed to take any action on other than a word with Mukiele, who went down claiming Lamela had elbowed him in the head, but play went on and the player then sprang to his feet and chased after the Spurs player in possession at full speed. That sort of play-acting needs to be cut out of the game and the only way to do it is to punish the offender with a card.

Leipzig were getting a bit ragged as Spurs pressed them for the first time in the game.  Lo Celso, Ndombele and Aurier were all hassled to certain degrees of illegality, with no foul given for any of them.  When substitute Haidara challenged Ndombele, this time it was a free-kick and Lo Celso couldn't avoid the wall this time.  Our next free-kick looked too far out to trouble the keeper, but Lamela struck it from 30 yards and the keeper plunged to his left to push it wide for a corner.  It looked as if it was going wide anyway, but he wasn't taking any chances.

In, what was now becoming the infrequent Leipzig attacks, Poulsen got free in the box, but his shot was blocked for a corner by Alderweireld.  Clearing the corner, Harry Winks got the ball and clipped it over the RB defence, with Bergwijn sjust beaten to it by Ampadu.   Ben Davies got forward for a rare foray into the final third, from where he crossed dangerously.  Defenders missed it and Lucas Moura popped up in between them, but could not control his header, that went a foot over the bar.  RB were packing their defence along the 18 yard line and it was difficult to find a way through.  Winks tried to bend one from 20 yards, but Gulasci took it easily, with Tottenham's last chance in the fifth minute of added time coming when Lo Celso headed on Toby's ball forward and with Bergwijn second favourite to reach it ahead of Ampadu, his pace almost saw him get in front of the Chelsea loan player, who did just enough to nudge the ball onto the Dutchman and off for a goal-kick.

And that was it for the first leg.  A 0-1 loss, but that doesn't quite put us out of the tie as a whole, although it will need a massive effort to win in Leipzig.  The midfield will need to be more proactive, as the first half saw the German side dominate and fortunately they didn't take their chances, otherwise the second leg would be academic.  It wasn't a bad performance by Spurs, but, much like the meeting with the Leipzig compatriots Bayern Munich, they were very good and much better than us on the day.  The only thing missing form our performance was a goal threat.  It is something we have to find quick and then keep it going for the rest of the season.

Adrian Hughes

Match facts

Jose Mourinho's 150th game in charge of a Champions League team.

Match sponsors -
Match sponsors -
Match ball sponsors -
Match programme sponsors -
Match shirt sponsors -


How the players did
Hugo Lloris Fantastic display.  On it from the first minute, when he had to make two sharp stops.  Unlucky with the penalty, but made a fine save from Schick who looked odds on to score.
Serge Aurier Always available on the right wing, finding some space, but failed to create much from it.  Defensively, was OK, but gave the ball away too easily sometimes.
Toby Alderweireld Threw everything in the way of what was heading on Tottenham's goal.  Challenging at corners could have been better, but Leipzig had a taller presence than Spurs
Davinson Sanchez Played very well.  No nonsense defending and some timely blocks to stop shots getting on target.
Ben Davies Solid game, but the penalty looked as though he wasn't aware that Laimer was coming in and caught him for a stonewall penalty.
Giovani Lo Celso Very good performance.  Drove Spurs forward and kept hold of the ball on a number of occasions when Leipzig players were trying to pull him back.  Unlucky with free-kick that the keeper pushed onto post.
Harry Winks Another who worked tirelessly to try and get Spurs going after breaking up Leipzig moves.
Steven Bergwijn Worked hard and almost got onto a long ball at the death, but a defender just did enough to stop him.  A low first half shot that was off target..
Gedson Fernandes A little on the periphery, but showed good touches of skill.
Dele Alli Tried hard, but little came off for him today.  Put Bergwijn's cross-shot over the top from a couple of yards out, but was offside anyway.  Threw stuff around when subbed off.
Lucas Moura Tried hard, but battling alone up front, occasionally supported by Bergwijn, was too much against three defenders.  Had a late header go over.
Tanguy Ndombele Twisted and turned to make space with the ball and commit opponents.  With Lamela made a difference when he came on.
Erik Lamela Came on and ran at Leipzig with the ball offering something different.  Picked up his usual yellow card.
Paulo Gazzaniga Unused.
Japhet Tanganga Unused.
Jan Vertonghen Unused.
Eric Dier Unused.
Oliver Skipp Unused.


What you thought
- -.
- -.



Other scores during this Round of 16 First leg matches :
Atletico Madrid (SPA) 1 Liverpool 0 Tuesday 17.02.20
Borussia Dortmund (GER) 2 Paris Saint Germain (FRA) 1 Tuesday 17.02.20
Atalanta (ITA) 4 Valencia (SPA) 1 Wednesday 18.02.20
SS Napoli (ITA) 1 Barcelona (SPA) 1 Tuesday 25.02.20
Frank Lampard's Chelsea 0 Bayern Munich (GER) 3 Tuesday 25.02.20
Olympique Lyonnais (FRA) 1 Juventus (ITA) 0 Wednesday 26.02.20
Real Madrid (SPA) 1 Manchester City 2 Wednesday 26.02.20


Back to homepage