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Injury-hit Spurs face RB Leipzig in crunch tie

Injury-hit Tottenham Hotspur will welcome Bundesliga high-flyers RB Leipzig to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium tonight for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

Tottenham will be without Harry Kane all the way up to the final should they make it that far due to a hamstring injury sustained against Southampton on New Year’s Day. Mourinho’s side will also be missing Heung-Min Son who needs surgery after suffering a fractured right arm at Aston Villa on Sunday.

Moussa Sissoko was also injured in that match and is another long-term absentee, while Juan Foyth and Erik Lamela sat out the 3-2 win over Aston Villa due to groin complaints

Spurs finished second to Bayern Munich in Group B to reach the knockout stages for a third season running, while Leipzig topped Group G to reach this stage for the first time.

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The performances may not have been all that convincing, but Tottenham have racked up three wins on the spin and gone seven matches without defeat in all competitions.

Jose Mourinho was brought in to transform Spurs’ fortunes, and slowly but surely he is achieving that.

The gap on the Premier League’s top four now stands at one point ahead of Chelsea’s clash with Manchester United on Monday, while a home meeting with Norwich City awaits in the last 16 of the FA Cup early next month.

Throw this Champions League showdown with Leipzig into the mix and there is plenty for Tottenham to play for in the coming weeks, meaning that they have hit their best form of the campaign at just the right time.

The Lilywhites conceded 14 goals in their six group-stage matches – the highest tally among the remaining teams in the competition – with half of those goals coming in the 7-2 home defeat against Bayern Munich.

Indeed, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has seen more goals than any other venue in this season’s Champions League (20 goals – 11 for Tottenham and nine against).

Leipzig will likely focus on the counter-attack in tonight’s clash and they have seemingly found their scoring touch again after putting three goals past Werder Bremen at the weekend.

That 3-0 win brought an end to a four-match winless run in all competitions that had threatened to derail their campaign somewhat.

Julian Nagelsmann’s men were knocked out of the DFB-Pokal by Eintracht Frankfurt, but they are still within one point of Bundesliga leaders Bayern despite their recent wobble.

Leipzig advanced from a Champions’ League group that also contained Lyon, Benfica and Zenit St Petersburg, losing just one of their six matches.

Timo Werner and Emil Forsberg played a big part in their progression, and between them they are responsible for more than half of Leipzig’s 20 Champions League goals.

Into the last 16 for the first time in their history and with the Bundesliga title race wide open, 2019-20 is shaping up to be one to remember for Nagelsmann’s side. – Sports Mole

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