UEFA Champions League Preview: Real Madrid – Tottenham Hotspurs

 

Spurs are gearing up for their most important game since 50 years. While confronted with a lot of injury problems, it looks like that Gareth Bale will be ready to play. Harry Redknapp has serious staffing issues in defense, however, the players available are not second choice. With Bale back in the team, Spurs are in full strength.

Real had their injury worries as well, Cristiano Ronaldo was questionable, but according to Mourinho will be clear to play in Tuesday’s clash at Bernabeu. Real has to digest the home defeat against Gijon. While they can’t afford losses at any time, this might have been the wrong time to make such an experience. Tottenham is showing up with an opportunity to show off and seeing that Real can lose at home is fuel for them. It just adds a psychological effect to the game.

There has been some speculation going on that Real was looking at the possibility Gareth Bale. Jose Mourinho explained there is no current interest on the Welch. As an explanation he delivered the excuse that Real already has Marcelo and Ronaldo on the left side and under those circumstances Bale is too expensive. He is right, Real has other “construction areas” in their team and an investment in these areas would make more sense. However, I have a hard time to believe that the “special one” is not taking a look.

Looking at the performances of both teams in this season, Spurs don’t have to hide. While Real is a big name in the world of soccer, it turned out “they boil their eggs with water as well”. No miracles there. Especially in defense are some weak spots. Teams that were able to put some pressure on that defense, made good experiences. Especially the full back positions with Sergio Ramos and Marcelo have their problems. The holding midfielders Khedira and Xabi Alonso are also not always on top of their defensive game. Spurs would be well advised to ask a few questions and seek a goal.

Spurs didn’t convince the soccer world in their last league game as well, but that can be seen as a normal slip before a great game. On the Real side this is different. Every misstep will cause the crowd to get nervous and fall into a state of disbelieve and overexcited criticism. On the flip side, when Real find is finding their game, they can chase every team around the field. Ronaldo and Oezil are able to create lots of turmoil in the opponents defense.

This match up gives lots of opportunity to speculate and forecasts of all kind, depending of the hat one is wearing. I will try a prediction as well: While I like Real, I do believe that Spurs will get a very good result. It might not be enough for a win, but a tie or a one goal loss is possible. That will turn Whitehard Lane into a mad house for the second leg.

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