Tottenham v Bayer Leverkusen: Spurs' Wembley woe to continue

Hugo Lloris had to be at his best to keep out Bayer in Germany
Hugo Lloris had to be at his best to keep out Bayer in Germany

After playing out an intense goalless draw in Germany two weeks ago, Spurs and Leverkusen now lock horns at Wembley. Our Bundesliga expert Kevin Hatchard believes Tottenham are stronger favourites than they should be...

"Spurs were a bit fortunate not to lose to Bayer in the reverse fixture, they're not on a great run of results, and the visitors will relish the chance to play at Wembley."

Lay Tottenham at 2.0421/20

Tottenham Hotspur v Bayer Leverkusen
Wednesday November 02, 19:45
Live on BT Sport

Tottenham Hotspur

After a largely positive start to the campaign, including a stellar victory against Manchester City, Spurs' momentum has somewhat slowed in recent weeks. They are on a five-match winless run in all competitions, and they have scored just three goals in that period.

Saturday's 1-1 draw at home to Leicester was indicative of the current malaise. Tottenham's approach play was stale, slow and narrow, which is very much out of character for Mauricio Pochettino's side.

They badly miss star striker Harry Kane (1.2 goals per game without him, 1.6 with him), and although the England international is now back in training after an ankle injury, he seems highly unlikely to start against Leverkusen. There is a huge north London derby coming up this weekend against Arsenal, so Pochettino will have to marshal his resources accordingly.

Spurs failed to impress in their first Champions League game at Wembley, as they lost 2-1 to Monaco. Although they are a formidable outfit at White Hart Lane, it's hard to make a game at Wembley feel like a home match, and Leverkusen's players will be excited by the prospect of playing at the home of English football.

Bayer Leverkusen

Despite a topsy-turvy start to the season, and yet another touchline ban for speaking out of turn, Bayer coach Roger Schmidt has been given admirable support by sporting director and former Germany forward Rudi Voeller. Schmidt was told he would keep his job even if Leverkusen suffered a third straight Bundesliga defeat at Wolfsburg on Saturday, but as it happened Die Werkself scored twice in the last 11 minutes to turn a 1-0 deficit into a dramatic 2-1 win.

A title push in Germany is already a distant possibility for Bayer, as they have slipped ten points behind the leaders Bayern Munich, and they crashed out of the German Cup on penalties to third-tier Sportfreunde Lotte. The Champions League is now arguably the top priority, and after three draws in three games, Bayer have little margin for error.

You could argue that Bayer should've won all three matches. They led 2-0 at home to CSKA Moscow, blew a lead very late on at Monaco, and they gave Spurs a second-half pounding in a 0-0 draw a fortnight ago. Had Hugo Lloris not been on stupefying form for Tottenham, Bayer would've taken maximum points.

The Opta stats don't make great reading for Leverkusen fans. Bayer have only won two of their last 24 Champions League away games, and they have lost seven of their last eight Champions League matches in England.

There are personnel issues in defence. First-choice centre-backs Jonathan Tah and Omer Toprak are both struggling to be fit, so Aleksandar Dragovic and Saturday's matchwinner Tin Jedvaj could deputise. Skipper Lars Bender has a heel injury and may also miss out.

Match Odds

The reverse fixture between these sides was a fluctuating affair. Spurs made chances in the first half, but were rocked back onto their heels after the break. With key defender Toby Aldeweireld once again absent through injury, the goalkeeping excellence of Lloris may be needed again.

I'm expecting another fairly even contest, which is why I can't get on board with the 2.0421/20 for the home win. Spurs were punished for their errors against Monaco, and Leverkusen have the kind of quality in attack that can make the difference in a tense match. Chicharito has scored seven goals in his last ten Champions League starts, while fellow forward Admir Mehmedi is on great form, and seems to come alive at this level.

You could just lay Spurs, or maybe even back Leverkusen Draw No Bet at 2.9215/8. Tottenham have only lost twice this season, so I'm leaning towards the former option.

Over/Under 2.5 Goals

I got burned a fortnight ago, as I predicted goals but the game ended 0-0. There were plenty of chances, but neither team could take them.

The market is split here, with unders trading at 2.0421/20, and overs at 1.9310/11. Only one of Tottenham's last seven outings has featured more than two goals, which is true of five of Leverkusen's last nine matches in all competitions, so the stats point towards the slightly bigger price. It's not a bet I could recommended with huge confidence.

To Score

Given his form in this competition and his general goalscoring prowess, Chicharito (or Javier Hernandez, if you prefer) looks a decent bet at 2.8815/8 to find the net. Admir Mehmedi has recently scored against Wolfsburg and Borussia Dortmund, and is 3.953/1 to score.

On the Spurs side of things, Dele Alli always seems to pick up good scoring positions, and is 3.211/5, while Heung-Min Son is 2.789/5 to score against his former club.

Recommended Bet

Lay Tottenham at 2.0421/20

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