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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Champions League Round of 16 Preview: RB Leipzig, Tottenham vie for quarterfinals spot

RB Leipzig face Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League
Leipzig hold a crucial 1-0 lead heading into the home leg. Andy Rain/Shutterstock.

RB Leipzig host Tottenham Hotspur in the return leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie, holding a 1-0 aggregate lead. With all left to play for, struggling Spurs must find their form quickly or their dreams of making it back to the final will be dashed.

Looking to win their first-ever knockout round tie in the Champions League, Leipzig hold the advantage heading into the deciding leg. Not only do they hold the 1-0 lead, but also possess an away goal to boot. Timo Werner’s second half penalty kick was the slim difference between the two sides in the first match.

With Bayern Munich slowly slipping away with the Bundesliga lead, the Champions League could be Leipzig’s best chance at winning a trophy this season. Their current form hasn’t been the best after starting the season so strong. A 0-0 result at the weekend against Wolfsburg will be a worrying sign for the hosts, as well. After a torrid start to the Bundesliga season for Werner, the striker’s lack of goals in the second half of the season have been a big contributor to the side’s struggles. They’ll need a special performance from their talisman to ensure advancement to the next round.

Jose Mourinho’s return to the sport hasn’t gone very smoothly. Upon his arrival at Spurs, they lost Harry Kane to a significant injury before seeing Son Heung-min’s season interrupted by a fractured arm. That absence has severely altered the team’s attacking production and their form has suffered because of it. Including the 1-0 loss to Leipzig in leg one, Spurs are winless in their last five matches.

While current form says Leipzig are the clear favorites, Spurs have the individual talent to shine through on any day. This tie is still up for grabs and whichever side shows up on the day could take it.

RB Leipzig Lineup

Gulacsi, Angelino, Upamecano, Sabitzer, Werner, Klostermann, Nkunku, Schick, Mukiele, Halstenberg, Laimer

Tottenham Hotspur Lineup

Lloris, Aurier, Alderweireld, Dier, Tanganga, Sessegnon, Winks, Lo Celso, Lamela, Lucas, Dele Alli

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