Tottenham Hotspur will be eyeing to qualify for the next phase of the UEFA Europa League when they lock horns with Wolfsberger AC in the Round of 32 second leg.
Tottenham Hotspur will be raring to go past Austrian outfit Wolfsberger AC in the second leg of their UEFA Europa League Round of 32 tie on Wednesday evening and book a place in the Last 16 stages.
In the first leg of the tie, Spurs, led by Gareth Bale, were able to ease past their opponents at Puskas Arena beating them 4-1, which gave them a significant lead to hold onto. Tottenham, though, have been extremely inconsistent in the Premier League and were beaten 2-1 by West Ham United this past weekend, which yet again highlighted the sluggishness of this side.
Meanwhile, following the defeat against Tottenham, Wolfsberger AC returned to the winning ways as they were able to overcome Sturm Graz 2-1 in an engaging affair in the Austrian Bundesliga on Sunday. And manager Ferdinand Feldhofer will look at this fixture as an opportunity to showcase his side’s strength at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and pull off an unlikely comeback.
As the circumstances reflect, Tottenham Hotspur are desperate to find some much-needed momentum for the remaining part of this season. And as for Wolfsberger, they will be aiming to prove that they belong on such a big stage even if progression to the next round seems unlikely. Ahead of the latest clash, The Hard Tackle takes a close look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
Hopefully this is positive for Giovani Lo Celso. https://t.co/pyGDmDvb8z
— Tottenham News (@Spurs_fl) February 23, 2021
Giovani Lo Celso will remain absent for the clash even though he is back in training, with the Argentine still a week or two away from being ready to return. Serge Aurier is another player likely to miss out, having not featured in the last four games.
Spurs skipper Hugo Lloris should get the nod in goal and he will be hoping to redeem himself after a disappointing display against West Ham at the weekend.
With Joe Rodon ineligible, Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld should start at the heart of the Tottenham defensive unit. Ben Davies is likely to slot in at left-back given that Sergio Reguilon only recently returned from an injury layoff. Matt Doherty should get the nod at right-back from where he will look to push forward with intent.
Solidity in the centre of the pitch will be the foremost priority and Harry Winks will need to be precise in his task to secure the midfield region. Moussa Sissoko will likely form the double pivot with Winks, and the Frenchman cannot afford to lose sight of the Wolfsberger No. 10 Michael Liendl.
Gareth Bale should start as the right-winger, as his pace and quality on the ball could be a handful for the visitors to deal with. And on the left side of the attack, Lucas Moura will be looking forward to troubling the backline with his energy and creativity.
Dele Alli needs to make the most of his chance in the No. 10 role if he wants to regain the trust of his manager and become a first-team regular again. Brazilian forward Carlos Vinicius will be the final piece of the puzzle for Tottenham.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Doherty, Alderweireld, Dier, Davies; Sissoko, Winks; Bale, Alli, Moura; Vinicius
Ferdinand Feldhofer could breathe a sigh of relief, as defensive midfielder Mario Leitgeb will be available for this game. However, Eliel Peretz still has not recovered from his muscle injury, and won’t be able to take any part in this affair.
The Austrian manager will set his team up in a 4-1-3-2 formation with Alexander Kofler manning the goal. Wolfsberger No. 22 Dominik Baumgartner will form the central defensive pairing with Luka Lochoshvili, with both the players needing to organise the backline in an effective manner.
Hello London 👋🏻🇬🇧 pic.twitter.com/aPmWkDlbvW
— Wolfsberger AC (@WolfsbergerAC) February 23, 2021
The defensive duties in the middle of the park will likely fall to Leitgeb, as 25-year-old Sven Sprangler is a doubt after picking up an injury at the weekend. Michael Liendl has been in inspiring form this term and should pose a threat to the Tottenham defence with his all-round ability in the final third.
Youngster Matthaus Taferner will be slotted in as the right-winger, who will provide the forward thrust through that channel. On the left side of the attacking territory, Christopher Wernitznig could cause problems with his movement.
Serbian international Dejan Joveljic will be eying to trouble the opposition backline and take full advantage of Eric Dier’s lacklustre form. 22-year-old Dario Vizinger will be partnering with Joveljic in the final third.
Probable Lineup (4-1-3-2): Kofler; Novak, Baumgartner, Lochoshvili, Scherzer; Leitgeb; Taferner, Liendl, Wernitznig; Joveljic, Vizinger
- Tottenham Hotspur, in their last 5 fixtures, have won 2 times (L3). Meanwhile, Wolfsberger AC have grabbed 3 wins in their 5 outings (L2).
- Wolfsberger AC will play their first away European knockout fixture, as the Austrian outfit, till now, had never qualified for the knockout stages of a major UEFA competition.
- Tottenham have conceded just six goals in the Europa League. On the other hand, Wolfsberger AC have let in ten goals.
- Michael Liendl has been the standout performer for Wolfsberger, finding the back of the net on 5 occasions in Europe. Meanwhile, Carlos Vinicius remains the top scorer for Tottenham Hotspur, with 4 goals to his name.
- Tottenham have scored at least 2 goals in 10 of their last 11 matches in the Europa League.
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What did you make of his performance? 🤔
Wales forward Gareth Bale impressed off the bench as Spurs were defeated 2-1 by West Ham
— BBC Sport Wales (@BBCSportWales) February 22, 2021
Tottenham Hotspur’s summer signing was the star of the show in the first leg of the Round of 32 tie against Wolfsberger. And despite Tottenham’s struggles in the previous league game against West Ham, Bale once again made an impression after coming on from the bench at half-time.
With 5 goals and two assists in 18 games across all competitions, the Welsh international will be desperate to improve his tally. Having not started in the West Ham clash, the 31-year-old should get a chance in the first eleven on Wednesday, and his contribution will play a pivotal part in wrapping up the contest for Spurs.
Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Wolfsberger AC
In spite of winning three games in their last five fixtures, Wolfsberger AC manager Ferdinand Feldhofer is well aware of their opponents’ firepower and will need to find defensive solidity if they are to get a positive result.
Tottenham, meanwhile, will be gunning to produce a strong reaction after the defeat to West Ham United. Going by how Jose Mourinho’s side performed in the first leg and the form shown by Gareth Bale of late, The Hard Tackle is predicting Spurs to record another victory and progress to the next round comfortably.