Spurs 0-1 Bayer Leverkusen
Report from Wembley
02 November 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
We suffered our second home defeat in Group E of the Champions League at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday evening, Kevin Kampl scoring the only goal of the game to give Bayer Leverkusen all three points.
The Germans struck 20 minutes into the second half in front of another record crowd of 85,512 but despite the excellent turnout from our supporters, we were unable to find an equaliser.
It was a poor first half from both sides, with neither able to find their rhythm and chances at a premium, although it needed a superb tackle and then subsequent block from Jan Vertonghen to keep out efforts from Julian Brandt and Javier Hernandez respectively.
After the break Christian Eriksen twice went close and Kyle Walker’s excellent burst through midfield ended with him firing just wide before Leverkusen opened the scoring when Kampl benefitted from a deflection to tuck home from close range in the 65th minute.
We applied the pressure in the remaining minutes without really testing the visitors’ goalkeeper Bernd Leno, although Eric Dier went closest when his 25-yard free-kick crashed off the crossbar with eight minutes left.
But the equaliser just wouldn’t come and the result means Leverkusen climb above us in the group with six points, while we stay on four from our four games so far.
Mauricio Pochettino makes two changes from the team that started against Leicester City on Saturday. Ben Davies came in for Danny Rose at left-back and Moussa Sissoko – eligible for European competition while suspended on the domestic scene – replaced Vincent Janssen. Dier started in defence, making his 100th appearance in our colours since joining from Sporting Lisbon in the summer of 2014.
Save: Leno denies Eriksen – 32mins
Although it was a fairly open game, neither side was able to get going in the opening stages with misplaced passes aplenty, the result of a high press from both sides. The first moment of real note came via a change of personnel as Mousa Dembele appeared to pick up a knock and was replaced by Janssen on the half-hour. And the first sight at goal for either team followed shortly after when Eriksen’s drive from 25 yards was parried away by Bernd Leno.
Chance: Vertonghen Somehow keeps out Hernandez – 43mins
The visitors thought they’d scored just two minutes before the interval but it needed an amazing block by Vertonghen to keep the scores level. Walker was dispossessed just outside the area by Brandt, who was then superbly tackled by Vertonghen as he went to shoot. The loose ball ran to Hernandez 15 yards from goal but his effort flicked off the boot of Vertonghen, still on the ground from the first challenge, and away for a corner.
Chance: Eriksen just wide – 48mins
We made a far brighter start to the second period and were much crisper and more dynamic in our passing and our play. That almost reaped an early reward when Eriksen collected the ball 20 yards from goal but he pulled his shot just wide. The Dane tested Leno from fully 35 yards six minutes later, but it was a comfortable save for the Leverkusen goalkeeper.
Chance: surging Walker so close – 60mins
The opening goal almost came from an unlikely source when Walker went on a magnificent surging run through the heart of the Leverkusen midfield, taking him past Omar Toprak and into the area but his right-footed shot drifted just past the far post. At the other end, Hernandez had two opportunities but Vertonghen blocked his first and Hugo Lloris was smartly down to save the second.
Above: Dele Alli shows his disappointment after Leverkusen's opener.
Goal: Spurs 0-1 Leverkusen – Kevin Kampl – 65mins
Just when we looked like we were getting on top in the contest, the hosts grabbed the lead thanks to a slice of luck on their part. Charles Aranguiz picked up possession 20 yards from goal, his shot took a deflection off Davies and fell kindly to Kampl who tucked home from six yards.
Woodwork: Dier free-kick against the bar – 82mins
We were so nearly level with eight minutes remaining but once again we were denied by the woodwork, as we were twice against Leicester City on Saturday. Dele Alli was fouled 25 yards from goal to the right of centre, Dier stepped up and curled a free-kick over the wall but against the crossbar. The rebound fell to Janssen but he just couldn’t get the required touch to poke the ball home and the visitors cleared the danger. Davies then fired just wide as we stepped up the pressure in search of the equaliser, but we couldn’t find a way through and slipped to another home defeat in the competition.
Mauricio Pochettino said
"I’m very disappointed. We were poor and the result wasn’t good. There are no excuses, it’s not Wembley, it’s not the pitch, we were poor and that is all. We didn’t play well in both games against Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen. We showed a lack of energy and a lack of aggression in front of goal and when you play in the Champions League, it’s important to show more quality, more energy."
Victor Wanyama said
"I thought we were in control but we didn’t create much, we conceded a poor goal. We need to learn from it and move on. I don’t think it’s a lack of confidence, it’s just that things are not working well and we have to stay together. Everyone is disappointed, we know we can do much better than this."
Spurs (4-3-2-1): Lloris (c), Walker, Vertonghen, Dier, Davies; Dembele (Janssen 30), Wanyama; Sissoko, Alli, Eriksen (Winks 65), Son (Nkoudou 73). Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Carter-Vickers, Rose, Onomah.
Leverkusen (4-4-2): Leno; Henrichs, Tah, Toprak (c), Wendell; Brandt (Calhanoglu 70), Aranguiz (Havertz 86), Baumgartlinger, Kampl (Volland 85), Mehmedi, Hernandez. Substitutes (not used): Ozcan, Dragovic, Kiessling, Jedvaj.
Goal: Leverkusen – Kampl 65.
Referee: Jonas Eriksson (Sweden).
The big games keep on coming and this Sunday we make the short trip across north London to face our neighbours Arsenal at the Emirates in the Premier League. The two sides drew 1-1 in the equivalent fixture last season, so we’ll be looking to go one better in the midday kick-off.