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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Spurs v LASK, 22.10.20

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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
45 19   9  17  82 - 68

(Finalists 2019)
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
143  81  36  26  288-125 
(Winners 1972, 1984
 Finalists 1974)
The club logo of Lask
 P   W   D   L   F - A
229 124 51  54  456-240

Our first meeting with LASK

Spurs have been quite fortunate with their draw for the Group Stage of the Europa League. We are clear favourites to win the group, and we havent got any really far flung trips to make. The farthest we will have to go is to Bulgaria again to face Ludogorets. We haven't faced any of our three opponents in a competitive game before.

If recent form is anything to go by, we should be too good for our first opponents - LASK - who have to come to the "New White Hart Lane" for Thursday's 8pm kick-off. In last season's Round of 32, LASK were beaten 5-0 at home by Manchester United, whose goals were scored by Ighalo, James, Mata, Pereira and Greenwood. It wasn't even a United first choice team! The second leg was played in August when United won 2-1 with Lingard and Martial their scorers. United made the semi-final but were beaten by the eventual competition winners Sevilla, who included Sergio Reguilon.

THFC would not allow me the fly the Spurs Odyssey flag in the stadium for these behind closed doors games but it will feature in my match report!

THFC would not allow me the fly the Spurs Odyssey flag in the stadium for these behind closed doors games but it will feature in my match report!

LASK's full title is Linzer Athletik-Sport-Klub and they are based in Linz in Austria. We are at home for the first group match, but Linz would be a beautiful place to visit in December, if we were allowed. The club was founded in 1908 and is known as "The Black-Whites". They've won few trophies down the years, and their greatest success seems to have been winning the Austrian League in 1964-5, thus becoming the first club in Austria outside Vienna to do so. LASK also won the Austrian Cup that season.

This season is the sixteenth occasion that LASK has qualified for Europe. Last season was their best in Europe as far as progress is concerned. They were also top of their domestic league before lockdown, but were deducted points because they breached Coronavirus training rules. LASK lost form after lockdown and lost 7 of the 11 games they played in the league and Europa League (their second leg against United). As a result their final league position was fourth and they entered the Europa League.

LASK had a notable success in the Europa League play-off game, beating Sporting Club 4-1 away from home. they had four different goalscorers - Trauner, Raguz, Michorl and Gruber. LASK had pipped Sporting in last year's Europa League group D, beating them 3-0 at home, but losing the away game.

22-year-old striker Marko Raguz was born in Croatia but has Austrian nationality and has played for the Austrian U-21 side. Raguz is currently in good form and recently scored in 4 consecutive games (5 goals), including two penalties. Attacking midfielder Andreas Gruber was signed this summer from SV Mattersburg, and has already scored 5 times for his new club. His latest goal was scored in a 3-0 home cup win on Saturday. LASK have seven league points from 4 games and currently sit in fifth place in their 12-team league table.

The LASK squad is primarily Austrian by nationality. Our former player Kevin Wimmer started his career with LASK in 2010, moving to FC Koln from whom we signed him in 2015. Wimmer had some good performances for us in the second half of the 2015/6 season when standing in for the injured Jan Vertonghen, but never recovered that form when playing for us. Stoke fans were less than impressed when he signed for the "Potters" and Wimmer remains on their books (probably on a Premier League wage) although he has been loaned out to Hannover 96 and Excel Mouscron in the last two seasons. The last game Wimmer played for Stoke was in January 2018 at Old Trafford. His contract expires in 2022, and it is thought he might play on loan in Austria this season.

Our last UEFA Cup campaign was in 2008/09. We did not qualify for Europe in 2009, and entered the Champions League for the first time in 2010. There followed 5 consecutive seasons in the Europa League, so this will be our sixth full campaign in this competition, which is a record for an English club. We are in Group J for the third time. We have also played more matches in the competition proper (48) and scored more goals (78) than any other Premier League side.

Group A in 2011
Group J in 2012
Group K in 2013
Group C in 2014
Group J in 2015

We were in Group J the last time we played in the Europa League Group Stages (2015), and won the group. There was a team from Belgium in the group then (Anderlecht).

Jose Mourinho has indicated that only Eric Dier and Japhet Tanganga (of our Europa League squad) will definitely miss this game through injury. Davinson Sanchez will be with Jose at the press conference, so we can assume he will be playing. Jose could pick almost an entirely different team to that which started on Sunday. I imagine that Matt Doherty and Ben Davies will start this one, and that Harry Winks will be in midfield. That won't please some, but we can look forward to seeing Giovani Lo Celso, who missed the West Ham game. I personally would like to see Dele Alli involved and a debut for Carlos Vinicius. We'll have to wait and see the manager's selection!

According to this Europa League page 85% of respondents think that Spurs will win this game. I won't argue with such a strong percentage, and I'll go for a 3-1 win. The game kicks off at 8pm tomorrow and is being shown on BT SPORT.

We are going to meet a few new referees this season, and for this match we have a Swedish team of officials led by Mohammed Al-Hakim.Mr. Al-Hakim was in charge of Shkendija's second qualifying round game last month. It would appear that the highest profile game that this referee has officiated in was last year's Group game between Sevilla and Qarabag, when he did not book any player. Sergio Reguilon, who was on loan with Sevilla last season, did not play in that game.

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