I don’t think that anyone expects from any of the teams that play today in the Champions League to go all the way in the tournament. That puts them in a unique position to stay under the radar and suffer less pressure to perform.
Probably the only exception is Tottenham. The Spurs reached the final of the competition last season and at the very least, their fans want to see the team beat RB Leipzig.
The English side will have the home advantage in the first leg, but the bookmakers still think that the Germans are the slight favorites.
My betting preview of the match will try to answer the question if that’s really the case.
It has been a disappointing season so far for the Spurs. They started the campaign way slower compared to previous years and the unthinkable happened when Pochettino lost his job in the winter.
Then Harry Kane got injured and will probably miss the vast majority of the season. The bad news just keeps coming. And yet, the team is hardly in a terrible position. Tottenham is still in both the Champions League and the FA Cup.
On top of that, Chelsea’s recent collapse means that the Spurs are only one point behind the top four. Even if they finish fifth, that could still bring them a Champions League quota because of Man City’s troubles with UEFA.
All things considered, Tottenham still has everything to play for this year. Let’s not forget that Jose Mourinho is the master of knockout tournaments because he is notorious for the ability to defend and exploit any weakness.
That’s why I wouldn’t rule the Spurs out and the tie against RB Leipzig is closer than most people think.
The biggest problem I see right now is the attack. Harry Kane is injured, Eriksen is gone, and now Son Heung-min will have to undergo surgery. The forward is likely to miss the rest of the season and I’m not sure what Mourinho can do about it.
The situation puts him back against the wall and I expect from the Portuguese to heavily rely on negative tactics against RB Leipzig.
It’s interesting how RB Leipzig’s performance this season has been strongly influenced by the pressure of the expectations. The team looked excellent for most of the campaign, but once it took the lead in the German Bundesliga, the players looked like shadows of themselves.
They had to lose against Eintracht Frankfurt and go 2-0 down against Borussia Monchengladbach to start playing their best football once again.
The team has plenty of balance, as it can rely both on a strong attack and a solid defense. That’s good news for the Champions League where you need both to progress to the late stages of the competition.
Most people expect RB Leipzig to beat the Spurs over two legs and that’s a disadvantage. The burden of being a favorite is not something that the Germans have handled well so far and I believe it will influence the side negatively, at least in the first leg.
A lot of people expect plenty of goals on Tuesday and I must admit that the recent results of both sides suggest that might be the case. However, this is a knockout format and the away goals rule is in place.
If you add the pressure on RB Leipzig and Tottenham’s injury problems in attack, I think we might see a cagey first tie and a cautious approach by both sides.
That’s why I will go for the under 2.5 goals here, priced around 2.00 in most betting sites.