The inside track on our Champions League draw with Henry Winter of The Times
25 August 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
Our 'inside track' feature continues as Henry Winter, highly-respected, award-winning Chief Football Writer at The Times, runs his expert eye over our Champions League group.
We've drawn Russian champions CSKA Moscow, Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen and AS Monaco, recent opponents in the Europa League, in Group E of the Champions League.
Henry Winter, The Times
"Of all the groups, I really believe yours is the most negotiable and that you will get through to the knockout phase. Winning the group is also important, if you can manage to finish top, you will be very well placed."
Henry: "If they haven’t been, Spurs fans will enjoy Moscow. It’s a fascinating city to visit with the sheer history of the place, Red Square, places like that. In terms of the team, they have Zoran Tosic (Serbian international) and Alan Dzagoev (Russian international), who will be a threat. Dzagoev is a dangerous player. Harry Kane will know all about Igor Akinfeev (Russian international goalkeeper) who made some really important saves for Russia against England in the Euros. Ideally, you would go to CSKA early, you wouldn’t really want to go there mid-winter!
We travel to Moscow in MD2 on September 27 and host CSKA at Wembley in MD6 on December 7.
Below: Bayer Leverkusen's former United striker Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez
Henry: "You look through their team and you wouldn’t pick many ‘stars’ there but they have Javier Hernandez (ex-Manchester United striker), who can be a threat, he scored last weekend in the German Cup. It’s a well-known club but I think their form (finished third last season) has surprised a few people. They will work hard. They have Robbie Kruse, the Australian, up front and a few decent players, Lars Bender as well. I like the Bayer Arena and you will get an atmosphere there, that’s the great thing about the Bundesliga. Again, I think Spurs should win that game."
We travel to Bayer Leverkusen for MD3 on October 18 before the return at Wembley on MD4 on November 2.
Below: Bernado Silva celebrates his goal in the Champions League play-off against Villareal
Henry: "This is the interesting one for me because a few teams were saying beforehand that they didn’t particularly want Monaco, partly because of their pedigree. If Radamel Falcao (ex-United striker) is fit and on form, he can be a real threat. I’ve seen him take Chelsea apart and score three past Petr Cech in one half on the UEFA Super Cup a few years back, but he has suffered from injuries.
"Another player Harry Kane will know is Bernardo Silva, who plays number 10 and is a terrific footballer, but missed the Euros for Portugal. Harry played against him in the Under-21s finals in the summer 2015 and he looked a good player then, classy. Whoever is in the holding role for Spurs that night will have to be wary of him, a lovely player. The stadium in Monaco is a little strange, not the best atmosphere, but what you do have is one of the great towns to visit."
We play host to AS Monaco in our group opener in MD1 at Wembley on September 14 and travel to Monte Carlo on MD5, November 22.