Champions League: Spurs seeks revival, Valencia faces Atalanta behind closed doors

Tottenham Hotspur will need to overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit to get past Leipzig, while Valencia will play against Atalanta in a closed door game.

Tottenham Spurs

Failure to beat RB Leipzig in the round of 16 clash on Wednesday will halt the progress Tottenham Spurs has made in the Champions League in recent years.   -  Twitter @SpursOfficial

Tottenham Hotspur travels to Leipzig on Tuesday needing to overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit to prevent adding an early Champions League exit to a season spiralling out of control.

Saturday's 1-1 draw at Burnley in the stopped the rot of four consecutive defeats in all competitions that has seen Jose Mourinho's men fall behind in the race for a top four finish in the Premier League and eliminated from the FA Cup by bottom-of-the-table Norwich.

Failure to fight back in Germany will also halt the progress Spurs has made in the Champions League in recent years.

 

Under Mauricio Pochettino, Tottenham went further in the competition for each of the past three seasons, culminating in a rollercoaster run to the final last season.

After reaching the final last season, Tottenham has an uphill task to make the quarterfinals this time round, with both Harry Kane and Son Heung-min ruled out due to injury.

“As well as we play in some games, we’re not getting over the line,” said midfielder Dele Alli, who scored a penalty equaliser at Burnley. “I think we’ve shown the character we’ve had in this squad throughout the years we’ve been together. This is a very tough period for us in terms of results but I believe we can turn it around.”

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho is grumbling about his squad shortages while preparing for the trip to Germany, complaining about the commitment of a fit player - record-signing Tanguy Ndombele.

RB Leipzig rested top scorer Timo Werner for the first hour of its 0-0 draw with Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga on Saturday. With or without Werner on the field, Leipzig looked weak in attack. The win over Tottenham was a bright spot this year for Leipzig, which has only four wins from 10 games in 2020.

Supporters of Leipzig and Tottenham will be allowed to attend the game, authorities in the German city announced on Monday, despite the coronavirus outbreak. “This decision applies for this match only,” Leipzig city spokesman Matthias Hasberg told SID, an AFP subsidiary.

VALENCIA vs ATALANTA

Valencia will attempt an unlikely comeback without its fans on Tuesday when it plays Atalanta in the Champions League behind closed doors due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Retrieving a 4-1 defeat from the first leg in Italy was always going to be a formidable task for Valencia but looks even more so after UEFA instructed their home tie at Mestalla be played in an empty stadium to limit the spread in Spain.

 

Atalanta has played only once since the first leg because the virus outbreak has interrupted the Italian league calendar. That was a 7-2 win over Lecce on March 1, the third time this season Atalanta has scored seven goals. It has a league-leading 70 goals from 25 Serie A games.

While Atalanta has nine days of rest before the game, Valencia is coming off a 1-1 draw with Alaves in the Spanish league on Friday.

(With inputs from AFP and AP)

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