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Spurs Odyssey Champions League Preview - Real Madrid v Spurs, 17.10.17

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Spurs' record in Europe:-
The official crest of Tottenham Hotspur
 
U.E.F.A Champions League
 
 P  W   D   L   F - A
20  9   4   7  37 - 26
 
European Cup
P   W   D   L   F - A
8   4   1   3  21 - 13
 
(Semi-Finalists 1962)
 
European Cup Winners Cup
 
P   W   D   L   F - A
33  20  5   8  65 - 34
 
(Winners 1963)
 
UEFA Cup/Europa League
 P    W   D   L   F - A
140  78  36  26  276-121 
 
(Winners 1972, 1984
 Finalists 1974)
 The club logo of Real Madrid
Total
P    W   D   L   F - A
201 111 46  44  399-194

 Group H Table 
		P  W  D  L  F-A  GD  Pts
1. Real Madrid  2  2  0  0  6-1   5   6
2. Spurs        2  2  0  0  6-1   5   6
3. Dortmund     2  0  0  2  2-6  -4   0
4. APOEL        2  0  0  2  0-6  -6   0

We "will play to win the game"!

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino insists that We are going to Madrid to play football and be Tottenham. We do not change because we are playing in Madrid. Its a good opportunity for us. I am so excited and motivated to go and put on a performance.

Perhaps you are one of the unlucky ones who, for whatever reason, do not have a ticket for the game in Madrid, or perhaps cannot even access the game on TV. If that is the case, console yourself and play table games at Euro Palace online casino. At least you can enjoy something of the European flavour!

The last time we travelled to Madrid to play Real in The Bernabeu was in April 2011. In our first Champions League season we had reached the quarter-finals, partly thanks to an epic 1-0 away win against AC Milan in the San Siro in the February of that year. Let us remember here that our fine club did make it as far as the semi-finals of the European Cup in our first season in Europe in 1961-62. The story of that meeting with Benfica is told here by Brian Judson. The home match was one of the true "Glory Nights" at White Hart Lane. We must hope for much improved performances this time around against Real Madrid.

Peter Crouch had been our hero in the San Siro against Milan, putting the final touch to our goal following creative work by Luka Modric and Aaron Lennon, but he became the villain in The Bernabeu after getting sent off for two yellow cards within the first fifteen minutes by German referee Felix Brych. That's the only time we have encountered Herr Brych, although he is still active at home and on the European and International circuit. Real Madrid were one up before Crouch saw red, through loanee Emmanuel Adebayor, who actually got two goals that night. Who would have believed that the following year Adebayor would be our top scorer in his first season with us, whilst still on loan from Manchester City? Sadly, he never quite matched those standards in the seasons which followed.

Jose Mourinho was Real's manager in 2011, but his team were beaten by eventual Champions Barcelona in the semi-final. Real have since won three more Champions League trophies including consecutive victories in the last two finals, making it an awesome total of 12 European Cup/Champions League wins in their history, which includes no less than 33 La Liga trophies. They are the reigning Champions of Spain, but they are currently 5 points behind Barcelona after 8 games and haven't made quite such a great start. Real did win 2-1 at Getafe on Saturday with goals by Benzema and Ronaldo. It was Ronaldo's first league goal of the season, but he did miss the first four through suspension.

It is really no wonder that players such as Modric and Gareth Bale, who both played for Spurs against Madrid, were ultimately enticed to become "Galacticos". Modric played one more season at Spurs after our last meeting with the Spanish team, and is now in his sixth season with Real. Modric is now aged 32 and still very much a part of his club and country (Croatia) set-up. Modric does stand a chance of gracing the World Cup in Russia, as they face a play-off tie next month. Bale will not have such a chance this time around.

Gareth Bale has had to sit out his team's last two crucial games and is not likely to play any part against us this week. Bale left Spurs to follow Modric a year after the Croatian in 2013. He's had a great deal of success with Real, but he does still suffer various injury problems. Now 28, Bale has recently been subject to rumours that he may move away from Madrid, but he would still draw a massive fee if such an event should come about. The two ex-Spurs would get differing receptions, I fancy. Bale went for a "money we couldn't refuse" offer (a world record at the time), whilst Modric's departure was associated with a degree of rancour. Personally, I loved both players in their time at Spurs.

Consider the Spurs teams then (Gomes; Corluka, Gallas, Dawson, Assou-Ekotto; Modric, Sandro, Jenas, Bale; Van der Vaart; Crouch) and now. Along with Modric and Bale, Rafa van der Vaart was surely the only other player to put his mark on the World Stage, whereas now we have Lloris, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Eriksen, Harry Kane and the (absent through suspension) Dele Alli who have surely reached similar status. Davinson Sanchez is moving quickly towards the same level. Whatever team we play tomorrow (and we are probably still going to be missing Dembele and Ben Davies), I would argue that we have a better team (man for man) than we did 6 1/2 years ago.

That is not to say that I think we will win the game. Despite their relatively weaker form in the season so far, Real are justifiably the Champions of Europe and remain a formidable team. Whilst the game is correctly being billed as one in which the winners will take a firm grip on the section, I am hoping for a draw, and at the very least an exciting and competitive game in which we will surely perform better than the one which lost 4-0 in 2011.

I will be travelling light to Madrid, and back home on Wednesday afternoon when I intend to post my match report. I shall try to get the usual post-match survey out on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.

Match referee Szymon Marciniak and his officials are from Poland. We have not encountered this referee before, but he is an experienced UEFA and FIFA official. he recently had charge of the Turkey v Iceland World Cup qualifier, and in December last year took charge of Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund in The Bernabeu. That finished 2-2 with Benzema scoring both Real's goals and Aubameyang and Reus on the mark for Dortmund. Both teams qualified from their group last year.

"It was Twenty Years ago today!" - reviewing the 1997-98 season match by match. We were not in Europe then!

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