Tottenham Hotspur – RB Leipzig: Mourinho’s defensive approach fails to nullify Nagelsmann’s knockout newbies (0-1)
A classic high octane Leipzig performance proved far too much for a pinned-back Mourinho side. Superior ball retention and a general ease of passage through Spurs’ shape were decisive in creating key openings. The questions posed by the hosts as the game went on lacked any sort of conviction, subsequently affording the visitors an easy ride.
Tactical analysis and match report by Peter Munnelly.
At least results-wise, Spurs have put together a solid run of results, with their only defeat coming eight games ago, against Liverpool. Now though, was Mourinho’s most important test as Tottenham’s manager.
Minor changes were made to the side that scraped past Aston Villa on Sunday, including a huge blow to the attack in the form of Heung-Min Son, following the news of his season-ending injury. As a result, Lucas Moura and Dele Alli took up the two central roles in attack, while Gedson Fernandes and Steve Bergwijn occupied the wide roles, and Giovani Lo Celso replaced Eric Dier in deep midfield alongside Harry Winks.
Julian Nagelsmann’s high-flying Leipzig have undergone another patch of poor form lately, having lost twice to Eintracht Frankfurt - once in the cup, once in the league - and slipping up to Bayern Munich and Borussia Mönchengladbach. Three big clashes that saw them give up their lead before getting back to winning ways against troubled SV Werder Bremen on the weekend.
The same system applied there – a 3-4-3 shape – was applied here too. The only two changes saw Dayot Upamecano (suspended) replaced by nineteen-year-old Ethan Ampadu, and Christopher Nkunku return to the eleven in place of Dani Olmo.
A fiery Leipzig start . . .