Wednesday 2nd November 20:45 CET
Both teams come into this tie on the back of some poor form. Their previous five games apiece have seen just a single win and that came for Bayer at the weekend away to a struggling Wolfsburg. Spurs, on the other hand, haven’t won in a month across all competitions with one of those matches being a 0-0 draw against their visitors tonight.
Although Son Heung-Min initially stepped into the hole created by his injury, the loss of Harry Kane to injury has had an unfortunate effect on their ability to score goals. Although Kane hadn’t exactly been in prolific form prior to his injury, Spurs are not the same team without him and his erstwhile replacement, Vincent Jansen, suffers by comparison. In their 5 game winless run coming into this tie, they have only managed to find the back of the net three times.
Happily for Spurs, they are as tight Ayn Rand’s wallet at the back. The same cannot be said of Bayer, proud owners of a goal difference of 0 in the Bundesliga after nine games played, four of them won and four of them lost. Since their impressive win over Borrusia Dortmund on the 1st of October, it was a toss-up between draws and losses until their aforementioned victory over Wolfsburg.
Way back when
So while they can’t compare with Spurs in the department of defense, they can boast of an ace marksman who is fit and firing – the one and only Little Pea, Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez. Previous previews have lauded the diminutive striker as a blast from the past, the fox in the box or, as they used to call them out our way, a hatcher. Even in the 80’s and 90’s, that term was always used in a derisory way, a nod to the perceived laziness and glory-hunting instincts of the man who stayed up top and rarely bothered doing anything other than provide the finishing flick to hard-fought move.
The challenge ahead
But as many a football man has been heard to say, goals are the hardest thing to get in football and, also, goals win games. Take a moment to digest that sage-like atomization of football. The point is that Chicharito has made goals and goals alone the focus of his play. He will get to pit those not inconsiderable talents against the meanest defense in Britain, a rearguard that has only seen five goals conceded in ten games for a team that still remains unbeaten in their league.
If you can’t win, don’t lose
The Mexican will need good service in order to earn his bread tonight and in that regard, Bayer will have their work cut out. Tottenham are a hard-working team from front to back and are not in the habit of giving up easy chances or letting their concentration levels slip. So, even though they would dearly love to have a Chicharito to call their own, should they suffer another frustrating night up top, they’re likely to be secure enough defensively to keep from losing at home.
There’s a consensus amongst the various bookmakers that Spurs are strong favourites to win with most pricing them at evens and Bayer at about 3/1 but this column has a feeling that another draw might be on the cards. It will mean more frustration for the London side but unless they can remember how to manufacture presentable chances in front of goal, it’s all they will deserve. BetVictor have a price of 11/4 for that result.