Sports Mole previews Wednesday’s Europa League clash between Tottenham Hotspur and Wolfsberger, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Spurs ran out 4-1 winners in last week’s first leg and will now be looking to see through the job in a stress-free manner on home soil.
Jose Mourinho has a strong love affair with the Europa League and its UEFA Cup predecessor, and it is a competition he may well be left to rely on to salvage his side’s season.
Tottenham were beaten 2-1 by London rivals West Ham United on Sunday to leave them nine points off the top four in the Premier League – a surely insurmountable gap at this stage.
Winning a cup of any sort would make this a successful campaign for Mourinho, though, and he still has two chances to achieve that aim.
The Lilywhites have an EFL Cup final showdown with Manchester City to look forward to in April, while continental success is also a realistic prospect.
Wolfsberger, competing in their first major European knockout tie, must now create some history if they are to advance through.
No team in UEFA Cup/ Europa League history has ever overturned a three-goal deficit from the first leg at home during the knockout stages.
Ferdinand Feldhofer‘s side finished above Feyenoord and CSKA Moscow to reach the last 32 but, positioned fifth in the Austrian Bundesliga, the gulf between themselves and Tottenham told last week.
Tottenham also boast a good record on home soil in Europe, winning each of their last four matches at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the Champions League and Europa League, scoring 16 times and conceding twice.
Tottenham Hotspur Europa League form: LWWDWW
Tottenham Hotspur form (all competitions): LWLLWL
Wolfsberger Europa League form: WLLWWL
Wolfsberger form (all competitions): WWLWLW
Vinicius is set to return to the starting lineup after coming on as a substitute last week – no Spurs player has scored more Europa League goals this season than the Brazilian, who has netted in each of his last three appearances.
However, Mario Leitgeb – who started five of Wolfsberger’s six group games – is back in contention after missing the first leg.
Dario Vizinger scored in Sunday’s 2-1 league win at Sturm Graz and should lead the line in North London on Wednesday.
Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:
Hart; Doherty, Alderweireld, Tanganga, Davies; Sissoko, Winks; Bale, Alli, Lucas; Vinicius
Wolfsberger possible starting lineup:
Kofler; Novak, Baumgartner, Lochoshvili, Scherzer; Taferner, Liendl, Leitgeb, Wernitznig; Vizinger, Joveljic
We say: Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Wolfsberger (6-1 on aggregate)
Not since between August 2013 and February 2014 have Spurs won five straight home European matches, though they are strong favourites to achieve that on Wednesday against Austrian minnows Wolfsberger.
The hosts may have lost three of their last four games, and six of their last eight going further back, but they eased to victory in last week’s first leg and should do likewise at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
— to www.sportsmole.co.uk