Bergwijn's LASK time out
Wed 21 October 2020, 16:00|Tottenham Hotspur
Steven Bergwijn is the only player in our squad to have faced Thursday’s UEFA Europa League opponents LASK.
Our electric winger, who joined us from PSV Eindhoven in January, faced the Austrian outfit in PSV’s Europa League group stage campaign last season. That was a home clash for the Dutch side on 24 October, 2019 - almost a year to the day to our upcoming meeting with the men from Linz.
Since that encounter with LASK in Eindhoven, it would be fair to say the Dutch international has had – much like the rest of the world - quite a tumultuous year. Three months after facing the Austrian Football Bundesliga side, he was on his way to join us in N17 and he made an immediate and unforgettable impact as he fired home a sumptuous volley on his debut in a 2-0 win over Manchester City. But, in March, he was sidelined after picking up an injury against Burnley. The season was then postponed the following week after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite that turbulent start to life in London, our number 23 feels he has settled into his new home really well and it shows, especially with the forward having been almost ever present for us since arriving - he has missed just three of our games since joining in January. The focus now though is about making the right start to our Europa League group stage campaign against LASK on Thursday night (8pm kick-off), and Steven warns that we will be in for a difficult test against a ‘tough opponent’ at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
“LASK were a tough team, a tough opponent, they have a good group of players,” the 23-year-old discussed as he reflected on his previous encounter with the Austrian side. “They were very dynamic (when I faced them), and they had a lot of power in their play,
“Unlike in the Premier League, you don’t face the same teams regularly in European competitions. Each team has a different style and a different way of playing so it makes these games difficult, and this competition, but I think, with our squad, we need to be winning this game."
Mulling over his first 10 months in north London, Steven continued: “It has been a strange year so far for me. I came here in January and played for three months before I got injured against Burnley, then the COVID pandemic came so, yes, it has been difficult. But now, I feel at home, I have settled in well. I think the way I was welcomed here helped a lot. All my family is here, which is important, and it’s a nice city so you can do your own things besides football which is important. As I say, I’m feeling at home.”
Our LASK connections...
It was in the youth academy of Austrian outfit LASK that our former defender Kevin Wimmer learned his trade in the game. Now of Stoke City, Wimmer progressed through the system in Linz in his formative years and made his professional debut with Die Laskler in July 2010 before moving to Germany two years later to join FC Koln. In 2015, he signed for us and went on to make 31 appearances in our colours in a two-year spell before heading north to the Potteries.
Former Spurs Mousa Dembele and Milos Veljkovic have previously been team-mates in their careers with two current LASK players. Dembele, who starred for us between 2012 and 2019, played alongside LASK midfielder James Holland in the 2009/10 season at Dutch side AZ Alkmaar. Veljkovic, meanwhile, who came through our youth system before making three appearances in our colours in 2014, was team-mates with LASK’s Johannes Eggestein at Werder Bremen from 2017 until this summer, when Eggestein moved to the Austrian outfit on loan.