For the third year in a row — let that sink in — Tottenham Hotspur is into the knockout round of the Champions League. While Spurs were thoroughly handled by group winners Bayern Munich, they picked up 10 points in the other four matches to comfortably finish in second place. As a result, they get a date with impressive RB Leipzig, who sit just a point back of Bayern in the Bundesliga.
On one hand, this is the best Tottenham has looked in a long time, winner of three straight and unbeaten in its last seven. However, with Harry Kane already sidelined for the foreseeable future, news emerged on Tuesday that the club will also be without Heung-min Son for a while thanks to injury, further decimating an already limited attack.
Jose Mourinho does not have a full cupboard, but he was brought to Spurs to bring the club to new heights, so he will have to figure it out. No one is expecting a first leg performance like last year’s 3-0 drubbing of Borussia Dortmund, but he must find a way to at least keep it level heading back to Germany. Giving up away goals is never ideal, but unfortunately the Tottenham defense has been shaky even during this unbeaten stretch.
Losing Son is tough with Spurs finally within grasp of fourth place domestically and a huge match against Chelsea this weekend. As important as that is, though, the whole point of finishing in the qualifying spots is to earn the chance to compete in Europe. Well, Spurs are here now, and though the opponent is no pushover, there is no reason to not go for another magical run. It does not get much more exciting than the knockout rounds of the Champions League.
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