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Champions League: Attack on mind as Tottenham Hotspur face RB Leipzig

Tottenham and new coach Jose Mourinho are likely to struggle again, after suffering a defeat to the Germans in London in the first leg.

IANS | London |

Tottenham Hotspur travel to Leipzig for the Champions League Round of 16 second leg on Tuesday looking for their first win in five matches, a run which began with a 1-0 defeat in the first leg.

The narrow margin of Leipzig’s victory belied the huge difference in quality that night, when the German team could easily have scored two or three additional goals but for the heroics of goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, reports EFE news agency.

The London side have failed to win since that match, which was settled by Timo Werner’s goal from the penalty spot.

Leipzig themselves have been in somewhat lackluster form, and will host the match after two consecutive draws in the Bundesliga title race that have allowed Bayern to increase its lead at the top of the table to five points.

A goalless draw against Wolfsburg and a 1-1 tie against Bayer Leverkusen have left Leipzig in third place, with Borussia Dortmund replacing them in second.

Another draw on Tuesday night would be enough to see Leipzig through to the Champions League quarterfinals.

Trailing by an away goal, Tottenham will have to attack, which could give Leipzig the chance to take advantage of striker Timo Wernera¿s speed on the counter. He was on the bench for the first half of the clash against Wolfsburg, presumably because coach Julian Nagelsmann wanted to rest him for Tuesday’s tie.

“We are hoping to deliver a similar performance to our display in London,” Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann told a press conference on Monday evening, who adds he expects a tight encounter. “When two good teams play each other, there can be very few chances.”

Tottenham and new coach Jose Mourinho are likely to struggle again, after suffering a defeat to the Germans in London in the first leg and going winless in the past five matches in all competitions.

Mourinho must prepare for the second leg without star strikers Harry Kane and Heung-min Son, both long-term absentees with injury.

He has turned to Lucas Moura and Dele Alli but there has not been an upturn in fortunes, with goal scoring chances at a premium.

The English side has suffered three defeats and one draw, in addition to being eliminated from the FA Cup, putting Mourinho in his worst position since he replaced Mauricio Pochettino earlier this season.

“We don’t have the box sharks, the players who smell blood in the box and they just put the ball in the net. So even when we dominate it’s difficult to score lots of goals,” Mourinho said. “Defensively we feel that pressure and every time we make a mistake it looks like we’re punished.”

Even with a full squad the odds would be against them, but the injuries continue to mount for Spurs.

One of the latest casualties was Dutch winger Steven Bergwijn, a recent 30 million euro signing during the winter transfer, who is out with an ankle injury.

This means Moura and Alli will join Argentine Erik Lamela in attack.

“We need to be all together, have a fantastic individual performance from everyone and give a solid collective performance. I believe in the boys and I think we can do it,” the Portuguese manager said.