Bayer Leverkusen v Tottenham – BayArena at 19:45 live on BT Sport 2
The Champions League is back this week and for my first preview, my attentions are turned to Germany. Bayer Leverkusen host Tottenham, at the BayArena. A single point separates the two teams in what is a tight group. The hosts come into the match as favourites but have suffered with inconsistency this season. It’s Spurs who offer some value on the Asian Handicap market.
Die Werkself are yet to impress in the Champions League this season. They sit in third after 2 matches, behind Monaco and Tottenham on 2 points.
Their campaign looked to have started brightly, 2-0 up against CSKA within 20 minutes. That lead was thrown away, as Roger Schmidt was forced to settle with a point. It was a similar story on match day 2 when facing Monaco. Bayer were leading 1-0 until the 94th minute, before Kamil Glik equalised for the French side.
Domestically, their have been some fluctuating performances also. A 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund was very impressive, but 3 away defeats to Gladbach, Eintracht Frankfurt and last weekend to Werder Bremen have left them 4 points off the top 4.
Their home form is strong though, currently unbeaten in 10 matches across all competitions, winning 7. They have some excellent individual talent, but as pointed out by Schmidt, they have failed on a number of occasions to play as a team. You also feel that they lack some mental strength, failing to hold on a number times from leading positions.
Pochettino would have been pleased with the draw they received, but it was a difficult start to life in the UCL for Pochettino, losing on home soil (Wembley), to Monaco. They bounced back in the best possible way, defeating CSKA in Moscow. In fact they are unbeaten in 6 in all competitions since the Monaco defeat, including a superb performance in their 2-0 win over Man City.
Last time out they only managed a draw in a tough contest with WBA at the Hawthorns. Spurs dominated for most parts of the match but went a goal down. They showed real character to level the match and to keep fighting where some sides would let their heads go down. It’s a testament to Pochettino as to how much progress his young side have made.
Despite being a point behind Monaco and just 1 in front of Leverkusen, Tottenham are the favourites to win this group (2.5) and to qualify (1.44).
If Mauricio Pochettino has designs on making it into the knockout stages of the competition, this is a match they can’t really afford to lose. Without Harry Kane and Toby Aldeweireld it’s going to make it tougher, but are yet to be defeated on the road this season. They come into the game as 3.55 underdogs.
Asian Handicap & Total Goals
Despite Leverkusen’s unbeaten run at home, due to their inconsistencies, I think the are too short at 2.19. Tottenham haven’t lost on the road in 5 fixtures this season and are more than capable of avoiding defeat here to keep their campaign on track.
Backing Spurs +0.25 on the Asian Handicap market at 2.05 should return us at least a half win, but have the quality to pick up 3 points.
Another angle is backing Over 2.5. This should be a game played at tempo, with both teams pressing high up the pitch. Goals have come fairly freely to both teams this term and at 1.93, I wouldn’t put anyone off backing Over 2.5 goals.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Tottenham +0.25 at 2.05
Prices correct at time of writing.
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