Alli Blames Mental Weakness For Tottenham Collapse

Tottenham’s English midfielder Dele Alli listens during a press conference on the eve of the UEFA Champions League football match between Leipzig and Tottenham, in Leipzig, eastern Germany on March 9, 2020. Ronny Hartmann / AFP

 

Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli questioned the mentality of his side after crumbling to a 3-0 Champions League last 16, second leg defeat to Leipzig on Tuesday to bow out of the competition 4-0 on aggregate.

Marcel Sabitzer profited from two errors by Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris in the first 21 minutes to give Leipzig a commanding lead before substitute Emil Forsberg added the third late on.

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho was repeatedly used the absence of key injured players such as Harry Kane and Son Heung-min for a run of six games without a win in all competitions.

But Alli insisted that is not a good enough excuse for the manner in which last season’s Champions League finalists exited the competition with a whimper.

“We were missing some good players, but that’s football, that happens. This is Tottenham, the players that come in have to step up and we haven’t done that today,” Alli told BT Sport.

“I think we have to apologise to the fans. They travelled all this way and to go out and lose like that, they deserve better.”

Alli refused to point the finger at Lloris, but claimed Spurs were not mentally strong enough to produce the same sort of fightback as they did from 3-0 down on aggregate against Ajax in last season’s semi-finals.

“We were second to a lot of balls, to concede them goals shows our mentality wasn’t strong enough,” added Alli.

“We have to stay together and not talk about anyone in particular.

“It’s not down to one player to score goals, to stop goals, the whole team performance and the mentality wasn’t strong enough.”

Tottenham now have just nine games left this season in the Premier League to try and avoid missing out on the Champions League for the first time in five seasons.

Mourinho’s men lie eighth in the table, seven points off the top four, and badly need to end their barren run at home to Manchester United on Sunday.

“I think probably it is (a) good (thing),” said Mourinho of his side’s exit from Europe. “Sometimes difficult moments are moments that can prepare the future in a better way.”

On top of losing Kane and Son, Mourinho pointed to the absence of Steven Bergwijn, Moussa Sissoko and Davinson Sanchez for his side’s capitulation in Germany.

“People can say excuses but I’m pretty sure it is bad for anyone.

“I don’t think anyone would resist to such a situation. In this moment we have matches to play in the Premier League with these players, there are not others, and we go until our limits. Let’s see how we end the season.”

AFP

Leipzig Cruise Past Tottenham Into Champions League Quarter-Final

leipzig players celebrate after the UEFA Champions League football match between RB Leipzig and Tottenham Hotspur, in Leipzig, eastern Germany on March 10, 2020. Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

 

Tottenham crashed out of the Champions League as RB Leipzig cruised to a 3-0 win on Tuesday to progress to the quarter-finals for the first time 4-0 on aggregate.

Leipzig captain Marcel Sabitzer struck twice in the first 21 minutes to put the tie to bed before substitute Emil Forsberg added the third late on with his first touch.

Unlike many fixtures across Europe this week, there were no restrictions on supporters attending due to the spread of coronavirus and the Leipzig fans were able to enjoy a nerve-free evening.

Spurs travelled to eastern Germany shorn of striking options without the injured Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Steven Bergwijn.

However, it was at the other end that they buckled inside the opening quarter of the game as two errors from Hugo Lloris in goal turned a tough task into an impossible one.

Mourinho left club record signing Tanguy Ndombele on the bench after publicly criticising the French midfielder’s desire in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Burnley, but the switch to a 3-4-3 formation did little to prevent Spurs’ winless streak in all competitions stretching to six games.

Leipzig took just 10 minutes to open the scoring when Lloris did not get a strong enough right hand to stop Sabitzer’s strike from outside the box finding the bottom corner.

Timo Werner then fired home from close range only to be denied by the offside flag as Leipzig opened up the Tottenham defence at will.

And the visitors did not learn their lesson as Serge Aurier was caught napping by a purposeful burst from Angelino.

The Manchester City loanee’s cross was met by a powerful header by Sabitzer, but Lloris should still have done better to keep the ball out at his near post.

Lloris did make some measure of amends by saving from Werner and Patrik Schick to keep the score down before half-time, while at the other end Peter Gulasci was finally forced into action by Erik Lamela.

Spurs produced a remarkable fightback from 3-0 down on aggregate away at Ajax in last season’s semi-finals to make the final for the first time in the club’s history thanks to Lucas Moura’s hat-trick.

But in keeping with their collapse since that night in Amsterdam last May, Mourinho’s men lacked the quality and belief needed to reproduce that thrilling fightback.

Moura was again the one source of inspiration as he teed up Dele Alli for Spurs’ best chance of the night, but the England midfielder’s mishit effort was easily saved by Gulasci.

Forsberg was more clinical just 32 seconds after replacing Sabitzer to fire into the far corner three minutes from time.

Tottenham’s season now hinges on refinding their form in the Premier League if they are not to miss out on the Champions League for the first time in five years.

Spurs are languishing in eighth in the Premier League, seven points adrift of the top four, and in desperate need for Mourinho to exact revenge on Manchester United for his sacking last season when the Red Devils visit north London on Sunday.

AFP

Champions League: Tottenham’s Son Suffers Injury Ahead Of Leipzig Tie

Tottenham Hotspur’s South Korean striker Son Heung-Min/ AFP

 

Korean star Son Heung-min has fractured his right arm his club Tottenham Hotspur said on Tuesday delivering a blow to their hopes of silverware this season and qualifying for the Champions League next season.

The 27-year-old South Korean international forward suffered the injury in the 3-2 Premier League victory over Aston Villa — in which he scored twice including the late winner — on Sunday.

Son suffered the injury in a robust first-minute challenge from Villa’s Ezri Konsa.

The club did not specify how long Son would be out.

Spurs manager Jose Mourinho is already without star striker Harry Kane — sidelined since January with a torn hamstring — and as the club enters a crucial period. Midfielder Moussa Sissoko is another long-term casualty.

They host German side, Leipzig, in a Champions League Last 16 clash on Wednesday and play Chelsea in a match that could prove pivotal to the fourth and final Champions League spot.

“Heung-Min Son is to undergo surgery this week after sustaining a fracture to his right arm,” read Spurs statement.

“The South Korea international suffered the injury during our win against Aston Villa on Sunday.

“Following surgery, our medical staff shall be reviewing management options for Son’s rehabilitation with the player expected to be sidelined for a number of weeks.”

Son was in a rich run of form having scored in each of the last five matches.

AFP

Leipzig Fight Back To Lead Bundesliga

Leipzig’s Danish forward Yussuf Poulsen (2nd R) celebrates after scoring the 3-1 lead with French defender Nordi Mukiele (L), German defender Marcel Halstenberg (2nd L) and French midfielder Christopher Nkunku (R) during the German first division Bundesliga football match against FC Augsburg in Leipzig, eastern Germany, on December 21, 2019. Ronny Hartmann / AFP

 

 

RB Leipzig will go into the Bundesliga winter break in first place after coming from behind to claim a 3-1 home win against Augsburg on Saturday.

The German league starts a four-week winter break on Sunday and Leipzig’s hard-fight home win left them three points clear.

Borussia Moenchengladbach can draw level on 37 points if they beat Hertha Berlin, who are chasing a third straight win under Jurgen Klinsmann, on Saturday night.

Leipzig fell behind at home after just eight minutes when Augsburg’s top-scoring forward Florian Niederlechner stabbed home a cross.

However, Leipzig battered the visitors’ goal and their 16th attempt finally went in when midfielder Konrad Laimer curled his shot inside the top corner on 68 minutes.

The hosts took the lead with ten minutes to go when Czech forward Patrik Schick headed home his third goal in as many games after he was left unmarked at the far post.

Danish striker Yussuf Poulsen grabbed Leipzig’s third goal in the 89th minute when he converted a pass from Timo Werner.

– Teen nets for Bayern –

Elsewhere, Dutch teenager Joshua Zirkzee continued his dream scoring run for Bayern Munich by giving the defending champions a late lead in their 2-0 win at home to Wolfsburg.

Having scored on his Bundesliga debut in their 3-1 midweek win at Freiburg, Zirkee, 18, fired home a Thomas Mueller pass with his first touch after coming off the bench at the Allianz Arena.

Germany winger Serge Gnabry then added a second goal just before the final whistle to seal the three points which leave Bayern third.

The win came at a price, however, as defender Javi Martinez had to be helped off and will be “out for six weeks,” confirmed interim coach Hansi Flick.

Bayern already have fellow centre-backs Niklas Suele and Lucas Hernandez sidelined by long-term injuries.

Having won his last three league games and steered Bayern to the last 16 of the Champions League with six straight wins, a decision about Flick’s future is expected in the coming days.

“We’re very happy with his work, we’ll sit and talk it over,” said Bayern’s sports director Hasan Salihamidzic.

Schalke are fifth after their 2-2 draw at home to Freiburg, who converted two second-half penalties.

The Royal Blues took the lead in Gelsenkirchen when Turkey midfielder Suat Serdar showed great finishing.

Freiburg equalised early in the second half when Germany striker Nils Petersen converted a penalty.

Their South Korean midfielder Kwon Chang-Hoon then hit the post just before Freiburg winger Vincenzo Grifo chipped home a penalty attempt to put them 2-1 up with 23 minutes left.

However, Schalke claimed a point when substitute forward Ahmed Kutucu hit a brilliant shot from the edge of the area.

The result leaves Schalke level on 30 points with Borussia Dortmund, who crashed 2-1 defeat at Hoffenheim on Friday.

Cologne left the relegation places with a 1-0 win at home to Werder Bremen, who drop into the bottom three, thanks to a first-half goal by Colombia striker Jhon Cordoba from close range.

After three straight defeats, 10-man Leverkusen are now sixth after their 1-0 win at Mainz as Argentina striker Lucas Alario scored a 90th-minute winner.

Leverkusen played the last 20 minutes with ten-man after Brazilian defender Wendell was sent off for a second yellow card.

AFP

Leipzig On Champions League Course After Win At Leverkusen

Leipzig On Champions League Course After Win At Leverkusen
Leipzig’s Swedish midfielder Emil Forsberg (2nd R) celebrates scoring from the penalty spot with his teammates during the German first division Bundesliga football match between Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig in Leverkusen, western Germany, on April 6, 2019. HASAN BRATIC / AFP

 

RB Leipzig remain on track for a top-four finish in the Bundesliga after Matheus Cunha’s delightful chip sealed a 4-2 win over top half rivals Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.

Leipzig twice came from behind to claim a fourth consecutive victory in all competitions and further cement their claim for a Champions League place.

Kai Havertz gave Leverkusen the lead from 12 yards after Willi Orban tripped Kevin Volland in the box early on.

Leipzig replied almost immediately when Marcel Sabitzer curled in a free-kick from the edge of the box, but Havertz quickly restored the lead with a superb half-volley.

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Leverkusen looked comfortable until Timo Werner suddenly smashed in Leipzig’s second just after the hour mark.

Emil Forsberg then put Leipzig in front from the penalty spot before Cunha secured the three points with a splendid lob seven minutes from time.

Leipzig are three points ahead of fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt, who snatched a late 2-1 win at Schalke.

Ante Rebic rounded Schalke goalkeeper Alexander Nuebel on 13 minutes to put Frankfurt ahead, but Suat Serdar levelled the scores with his second goal in two games.

Yet Frankfurt were awarded an injury-time penalty by VAR and Luka Jovic fired in the winner.

Schalke remain five points clear of the bottom three after Nuremberg and Stuttgart shared the points in a relegation showdown.

Matheus Pereira’s opener for Nuremberg came against the run of play just before half-time. Stuttgart’s Ozcan Kabak then scored a controversial equaliser, given by VAR despite an apparent offside in the build-up.

The equaliser keeps Stuttgart four points ahead of Nuremberg in the relegation play-off place.

Relegation seems all but certain for Hanover, meanwhile, after they suffered a 3-1 defeat to local rivals Wolfsburg.

Hanover had an early penalty appeal turned down, but Henrik Weydandt broke free on the counter-attack to slide in the opener after half an hour.

Their lead lasted all of 100 seconds, a Renato Steffen header bringing Wolfsburg level.

Steffen scored again after half-time, and Jerome Roussillon added a third late on to seal the win and push Hanover further towards the drop.

Elsewhere, Benito Raman continued his excellent recent form with a brace for Fortuna Duesseldorf in their 2-1 win over Hertha Berlin.

Hertha’s Marko Grujic cancelled out Raman’s first-half opener, but the Belgian striker scored again after the break to secure three points and move Duesseldorf a step closer to safety.

AFP

Leipzig Thrash Mainz To Strengthen Grip On Top-Four Spot

Leipzig’s German forward Timo Werner (L) scores the third goal past Mainz’ German goalkeeper Robin Zentner during the German first division Bundesliga football match between RB Leipzig and FSV Mainz in Leipzig, eastern Germany on December 16, 2018. ROBERT MICHAEL / AFP

 

Timo Werner and Yussuf Poulsen both scored twice as RB Leipzig brushed aside Mainz 4-1 on Sunday to strengthen their hold on a top-four place in the Bundesliga.

Ralf Rangnick’s men went into the game reeling after a surprise elimination from the Europa League group stage in midweek and last weekend’s 3-0 loss to Freiburg.

But Leipzig produced a strong performance at the Red Bull Arena to close to two points behind second-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach and Bayern Munich in third, although unbeaten Borussia Dortmund remain nine points clear at the top of the table.

Leipzig face Bayern at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday with a chance to move into the top three.

“We’re happy that we won, we played well,” Werner told Sky. “In Munich, it’s a tough game, but we want to try and win there.”

Any disappointment about recent results was quickly put to one side as Danish international Poulsen struck twice inside the opening 20 minutes.

The 24-year-old stretched out a leg to volley home Kevin Kampl’s 14th-minute cross, before tapping in from close range after good work by Werner.

Karim Onisiwo’s header before half-time gave Mainz hope, but two fine individual strikes by Werner late on took him to 10 league goals this season and sealed the win in style.

Fifth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt edged out Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 later on Sunday to stay only two points behind Leipzig.

Danny da Costa finished off a fine team move to put Eintracht ahead in the 28th minute, and Filip Kostic bundled home before the hour mark to double the lead.

Karim Bellarabi pulled one back midway through the second half, but Adi Huetter’s home side closed out the victory to end a run of two consecutive defeats.

AFP

Poulsen Shines As Leipzig Climb Above Bayern Into Third

Leipzig´s Danish forward Yussuf Poulsen (R) scores past Leverkusen´s Brazilian defender Wendell during the German first division Bundesliga football match RB Leipzig vs Bayer Leverkusen in Leipzig, eastern Germany, on November 11, 2018. ROBERT MICHAEL / AFP

 

Defending champions Bayern Munich dropped down to fourth in the Bundesliga on Sunday as RB Leipzig leap-frogged them into third with a 3-0 home win against Bayer Leverkusen.

After Bayern lost 3-2 on Saturday at league leaders Borussia Dortmund, who are now seven points ahead of their rivals, Leipzig’s victory pushed the Bavarians further down the table.

Denmark forward Yussuf Poulsen shone, scoring twice and playing a part in the second with a deft pass.

Leipzig took the lead when Poulsen opened the scoring by poking the ball over Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky with 27 minutes gone.

The video assistant referee (VAR) took a good look at the replays, with suspicions Leipzig striker Timo Werner was offside, but the goal stood.

Leverkusen had a chance soon after when their 19-year-old winger Kai Havertz fired just over and their head coach Heiko Herrlich introduced Jamaican Leon Bailey for the second half.

Poulsen was also involved in the second goal, flicking a throw-in on to Marcel Sabitzer, who played Lukas Klostermann into the area for the central midfielder to fire home on 68 minutes.

Bailey was denied in the 75th minute when his curling free-kick was palmed away by Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi.

Leipzig punished a terrible pass by Leverkusen’s second-half substitute Dominik Kohr, quickly moving the ball to Poulsen who slotted home five minutes from time to seal the win.

On Saturday, Paco Alcacer scored Dortmund’s winner as they twice came from behind in a thrilling game to inflict a third defeat on Bayern in six league games, taking just eight points from a possible 21.

Robert Lewandowski scored both of Bayern’s goals, but Dortmund captain Marco Reus twice equalised for the hosts, converting a penalty and firing home their second before Alcacer came off the bench to hit the winner.

The result increased the pressure on Bayern head coach Niko Kovac whose side’s chances of winning a seventh straight title in his first season in charge suffered another blow.

Lucien Favre’s Dortmund remain unbeaten and four points clear of second-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach, who romped to a 3-1 win over Werder Bremen with Alassane Plea scoring a hat-trick.

AFP

Leipzig Bank On Forsberg, Deny Interest In Bayern’s Rudy

Emil Forsberg

 

Sweden star Emil Forsberg looks set to remain at Bundesliga side RB Leipzig for the 2018/19 season despite reported interest from Italian clubs Roma and AC Milan.

“It’s up to us – and Emil still has a four-year contract (until 2022) – so he stays,” Ralf Rangnick, who has replaced Ralph Hasenhuettl as Leipzig head coach, said at a training camp in Seefeld, Austria.

“In the last five weeks, no club has registered (interest) with us, and I hope that it will remain so in the next five weeks,” Rangnick added, with the new Bundesliga season to start on August 24.

Forsberg started all five of Sweden’s games at the World Cup in Russia, scoring in a 1-0 win over Switzerland that sent his team through to the quarter-finals.

“It’s flattering that clubs are showing interest, but right now I’m just concentrating on Leipzig,” Forsberg told German daily Bild when asked about interest from Serie A.

With Naby Keita now at Liverpool, Forsberg is expected to be Leipzig’s chief playmaker this season in their bid to break Bayern Munich’s stranglehold on the Bundesliga.

Forsberg and Denmark’s Yussuf Poulsen, who has also just returned after World Cup duty, will be in the squad for Thursday’s Europa League qualifier at Swedish club BK Haecken in Gothenburg after Leipzig won the first leg 4-0 last week.

Forsberg will stay in Sweden after the play-off, with his wife in the final stages of her pregnancy as the couple expect their first child.

Meanwhile, Rangnick has denied reports the club are interested in signing Bayern Munich’s Germany midfielder Sebastian Rudy.

According to magazine Sport Bild, contact has already been made with Rudy’s agent.

The 28-year-old is said to be on Rangnick’s wish list, but his age counts against him as RB have a transfer policy of only signing players no older than 24. The club also caps a player’s annual salary at around four million euros.

“Regardless of whether Sebastian Rudy is a very good player – how should that work for us? This rumour will answer itself,” Rangnick told magazine Kicker.

Rudy moved from Hoffenheim to Bayern in 2017, but he was not used in key games last season and is under contract with Munich until 2020.

Leipzig, who finished sixth in Germany last season, begin their 2018/19 Bundesliga campaign at Borussia Dortmund on August 26, two days after Bayern host Hoffenheim in the season opener.

AFP

Leipzig Hope To Heal Bayern Pain With Porto Win

Leipzig Hope To Heal Bayern Pain With Porto Win
Leipzig’s Austrian head coach Ralph Hasenhuettl is pictured prior to the German first division Bundesliga football match Bayern Munich vs RB Leipzig in Munich on October 28, 2017. Christof STACHE / AFP

RB Leipzig hope to brush off back-to-back defeats to Bayern Munich with a morale-boosting Champions League win at Porto on Wednesday to edge them closer to the knock-out stages.

After losing twice to Bayern last week, in the German Cup on Wednesday and again in the Bundesliga last Saturday, Leipzig return to European action where they are second, five points behind leaders Besiktas in Group G.

After beating Porto 3-2 at the Red Bull Arena a fortnight ago, another victory over the Portuguese would leave them well placed to make the knock-out stages in their debut Champions League campaign.

“If we win there, things will look good. It’s an important game for us,” said Ralph Hasenhuettl.

Their 2-0 league defeat to Bayern on Saturday left Leipzig a respectable third in the Bundesliga, four points adrift of defending champions Munich.

RB Leipzig’s Champions League goal is clear, “the next level would be to go into the winter break still in Europe,” said CEO Oliver Mintzlaff.

Liverpool-bound Naby Keita, who will join Jurgen Klopp’s Reds next season, limped out of Saturday’s defeat with a shin injury, but Leipzig’s key midfielder took part in Tuesday’s training session.

Kevin Kampl, who was kept on the bench on Saturday, is expected to start in the defensive midfield alongside Keita, who Hasenhuettl expects to be available after recovering from his knock.

“He is feeling better, I hope he will be okay for Wednesday,” said Hasenhuettl of Keita.

Germany striker Timo Werner is returning to full fitness after a neck injury.

“Timo has made a good impression in training again and shown what he’s capable of,” added Hasenhuettl.

The Germans opted to hold their final training session in Leipzig, rather than at Porto’s Estadio do Dragao stadium as is customary because Hasenhuettl wanted to keep a few details secret.

AFP