Son back to face former club as Tottenham take on Leverkusen
Son Heung-min starts for Tottenham against his former club as Spurs take on Bayer Leverkusen in the Premier League.
Son had been rested at the weekend, but is back in the side tonight.
Eric Dier fills in as part of the defence in the absence of the injured Toby Alderweireld.
Tottenham face the toughest of their Champions League group games on Tuesday night when the travel to Leverkusen to face Roger Schmidt's excellent Bundesliga outfit.
Currently mid-table in the German top-flight, Leverkusen are a much better team than that suggests - as they showed in a 2-0 win over the much-heralded Borussia Dortmund earlier this month.
And Schmidt's side also play an aggressive, high-tempo pressing game - just like their English visitors - which should make for a highly entertaining fixture at the BayArena.
“Tottenham play great football and there's a great atmosphere at the club,” Schmidt enthused about Tuesday's opponents. “You can see that they've improved all aspects of their game. They're very organised and very aggressive.
“They also have a very solid defence. You have to expect Tottenham to challenge for the Premier League title again this season – they have a balanced squad and an excellent coach, which gives them a good foundation to develop in the future."
The game will also see a return to the club for Heung-min Son, who left Leverkusen to join Spurs last season.
Many have drawn parallels between Bayer and Spurs and the stature that the two clubs have in their respective countries. Bayer are also an established top-half German club who regularly flirt with European qualification. But like Spurs the Germans have suffered a bit of a trophy drought, having failed to win a domestic trophy since 1993 and not adding new European silverware to their trophy cabinet since a Uefa Cup triumph in 1988.
WHEN IS THE MATCH?
Kick off is at 19:45 (BST) on Tuesday October 18.
WHERE IS IT BEING PLAYED?
WHY SHOULD I CARE?
Spurs are still unbeaten in the Premier League this season after a 1-1 draw with West Brom at the weekend. They're not unbeaten in the Champions League, however, having failed to win their opener against Monaco in a much hyped match at Wembley Stadium.
In second place on three points, they'll be looking for a victory against Leverkusen if they're to avoid the Germans edging above them. Is this just the right amount of pressure to see the North Londoners crumble in the face of it?
CAN I WATCH IT ON TV?
Schmidt: "We're happy when the game is intense, even against teams that are supposedly better than us, like Bayern Munich or Barcelona last season in the Champions League. We try and make them play our football - that's what we demand of our opponents, and if it works we normally win the game.
"I'm excited by the comparison and I'm looking forward to seeing how we handle the situation. These two games against Tottenham will be a huge challenge for us."
Pochettino: "It’s important, we must win. If we want to go to the next round this is key to take three points from this game and to play at Wembley the same way. The next two games against Leverkusen for us hold the key to the possibility of going to the next round.”
- Leverkusen and Tottenham’s only previous competitive encounter was in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup group stages. Spurs won 1-0 in Germany thanks to a goal by former Leverkusen player Dimitar Berbatov.
- Bayer have lost nine of their last 10 Champions League games against English opposition, the only exception being a 2-1 home win against Chelsea in November 2011.
- Leverkusen have also never kept a clean sheet in 16 Champions League games against English opposition.
- Meanwhile, Tottenham have lost six of their last eight away games in Europe against German opposition (W1 D1), with the solitary win in that run coming at the BayArena against Bayer Leverkusen in November 2006.
- Bayer Leverkusen have won only one of their last 10 Champions League group games (4-1 v BATE Borisov, September 2015), drawing six times and losing three. They’ve drawn the last four.
- At home, Bayer Leverkusen are unbeaten in their last five Champions League games: two wins followed by three draws.
- Bayer Leverkusen have already let four points slip from leading positions in this season’s Champions League group stages.
- Tottenham’s record away from home in the Champions League is perfectly balanced, having won two, drawn two and lost two.
- Tottenham have never scored more than one goal in their last six Champions League games. In this season’s group stages, only two of Tottenham’s 37 shots have found the back of the net.
- Javier Hernandez has scored seven goals in his last nine Champions League starts.
Leverkusen win: 6/5 Draw: 5/2 Tottenham win: 5/2