Thursday, November 23, 2006

Bayer Preview

It’s the heavyweight clash in the UEFA Cup Group Stage tonight, as Spurs travel to Leverkusen only needing a point to secure safe passage into the next round. Hopefully though Spurs won’t spend the entire game camped on our own 18 yard line defending desperately, but that said, they can go there without much pressure, knowing that there is still the home game against Dinamo Bucherest to come to ensure qualification if we need it.

Last season Leverkusen finished in fifth place in the Bundesliga to qualify for the UEFA Cup but are currently 12th in the eighteen team German Bundesliga, having lost their last two games to Nurnberg and Bayern Munich. Sounds very much like Spurs! In the UEFA Cup they have drawn with Brugge in their only game so far in the Group Stage. Whilst Spurs plucked their best player from them in the summer, Dimitar Berbatov, Leverkusen are a team with good experience having got to a Champions League final as recently as 2002. The best known of their current players is the German international midfielder Bernd Schneider who played in last summer’s World Cup and has scored twice in this season’s UEFA Cup, including a screamer against Brugge.

Spurs have the usual injury worries, although it looks like Chimbonda will pull through, but it is a game too soon for Jenas and probably Lennon too although he maybe on the bench. Steed Malbranque should be ready to start after having good run outs against Port Vale and Blackburn and Ghaly is bound to play tonight given his impending three match suspension. Up front it will be Keane and Berbatov for sure, and it was pleasing to read a nice quote from Berby in the build up to this game:

"I was at home when they told me we had drawn Bayer Leverkusen because I was on international duty. I was sick. I had five wonderful years there but that is over. It will be strange, but I am a professional player. I play for Tottenham and I will try to score. It doesn’t matter that they are my friends, I will forget about that and try to help my team. I will celebrate like usual, raise my hand and show that I have scored. I appreciate that I play for Tottenham and I will try to show that with my goals."

Good boy Dimi, lets hope we see that celebration tonight.

Come On You Spurs!

The Waddler.