Getting to know our UEFA Champions League group stage opponents
Fri 26 August 2022, 10:00|Tottenham Hotspur
On Thursday evening (25 August), our Champions League group stage opponents for the 2022/23 campaign were revealed.
Placed into Group D from pot two, we were joined by Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt from pot one, Portuguese giants Sporting CP from pot three and French side Marseille from pot four as the draw was made in Nyon, Switzerland.
Here’s everything you need to know about our upcoming opponents…
This campaign, we will continue our run of having played a German side in each of our Champions League campaigns as we will face Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt this season. Having previously taken on Werder Bremen (2010/11), Bayer Leverkusen (2016/17), Borussia Dortmund (2017/18 and 2018/19), Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig (both in 2019/20), we will now face a new German outfit in the competition in the shape of Eintracht.
This will not be our first-ever meeting with Die Alder having previously crossed paths back in March, 1982, as we drew each other in the third round of the UEFA European Cup Winners’ Cup – over two legs, we emerged victorious, winning 2-0 at White Hart Lane before falling to a narrow 2-1 defeat in Frankfurt.
Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany)
Manager: Oliver Glasner
Stadium: Deutsche Bank Park (51,500 capacity)
Last season: UEFA Europa League winners, 11th in the Bundesliga
The city of Frankfurt am Main is one of the largest cities in Germany with it located in the state of Hesse in the nation mid-east. Eintracht’s home ground, Deutsche Bank Park, is six kilometres south east of the main city.
Finishing 11th in last season’s Bundesliga, 16 points adrift of the Champions League places, it was through their Europa League performance that they qualified for European football’s elite club competition. Having dispatched West Ham United over two legs in the semi-finals of the competition, they then defeated Rangers via penalty shootout in Seville to return to European football’s top table for the first time since 1960.
That year is their only outing to date in the European Cup, but what a memorable campaign it was for the German side as they reached the final, albeit they lost that 7-3 to Real Madrid.
Eintracht are led by Head Coach Oliver Glasner, a former defender for Austrian outfit Ried. He began his coaching career with that same side in 2014 before enjoying spells at LASK and Vfl Wolfsburg. He took over at the Deutsche Bank Park Stadion in May, 2021.
One former Spurs player has been on Eintracht’s books with Kevin Prince-Boateng (2007-09) having represented the Eagles in 2017/18.
While we are facing a German side for the seventh time in our Champions League history this season, we will also be breaking new ground as we take on a Portuguese team for the first time in the competition.
From pot three, Sporting CP join us in Group D - a side we have not encountered to date in any competitive fixture. Only before have we met the Portuguese side in friendly matches, most recently in the summer of 2010 in the USA, where we drew 2-2 in the Barclays New York Challenge thanks to goals from Robbie Keane and Jon Obika.
Sporting CP (Portugal)
Manager: Ruben Amorim
Stadium: Estadio Jose Alvalade (50,095 capacity)
Last season: Second in Primeira Liga
At home in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, the city is the largest in the Iberian nation and is located at the mouth of the river Tagus. Sporting’s Lisbon home, the Jose Alvalade Stadium, is six kilometres north of the city centre.
Finishing second in the 2021/22 Primeira Liga, six points adrift of winners Porto, Sporting are one of three Portuguese sides in the Champions League this season, with Jan Vertonghen’s Benfica completing the trio.
This is the second consecutive season the Lions have qualified for European football’s elite club competition. Last term, they reached the knockout stages of the tournament having finished second in a group including Ajax, Borussia Dortmund and Besiktas. They then fell in the round of 16 following a 5-0 defeat on aggregate to Manchester City.
Sporting are managed by Ruben Amorim, a former Benfica midfielder and Portugal international. Having coached Braga during the 2019/20 season, Amorim took the reins in Lisbon in March, 2020. In his first full season, he led his new side to their first league title in 19 years.
There are several connections between us and Sporting, both past and present. First and foremost, we have a former Sporting player within our current ranks as it was through the youth ranks in Lisbon that Eric Dier learned his trade. Coincidentally, there is also one of our Academy graduates now wearing the green and white of Sporting – Marcus Edwards (2015-2019). Three other players have also worn the colours of both sides in Portuguese trio Jose Dominguez (1997-2000), Helder Postiga (2003/04) and Pedro Mendes (2004-06) while former manager Keith Burkinshaw (1976-1984), as well as former player Randolph Galloway (1928/29), went onto coach Sporting.
Completing Group D are French giants Marseille – another side we have yet to face in a competitive match.
Manager: Igor Tudor
Stadium: Stade Velodrome (67,394 capacity)
Last season: Second in Ligue 1
Based on the south coast of France in the city with which it shares its name, Marseille play their home matches at Stade Velodrome, which is located six kilometres south east of the city centre.
Like Sporting CP, Les Olympiens secured their qualification for the Champions League via a second-place finish in their domestic league, Ligue 1. They finished 15 points adrift of eventual champions Paris Saint-Germain.
Of our three group stage opponents, Marseille are the only team to have ever won the Champions League, having been runners up in 1991 before triumphing in 1993. This campaign will be the French side’s first back at the top table of European football since 2020/21. That season though, they did not progress past the group stages as they finished bottom of Group C, which included Manchester City, Porto and Olympiacos.
Marseille are led by Igor Tudor, a former Juventus and Croatia international defender. It was in his homeland of Croatia where he began his career as a coach, managing Hajduk Split, before later having spells at PAOK, Galatasaray, Udinese and Verona prior to moving to the south of France last month.
A number of players have worn the colours of the two clubs including, Chris Waddle (1985-89), Stephane Dalmat (2003/04), Mido (2006-07), William Gallas (2010-13), Clinton N’Jie (2015-17), Georges-Kevin Nkoudou (2016-19) and now Pau Lopez, who spent the 2016/17 season on loan with us and became a Marseille player in 2021.