Not only do Tottenham face an old manager when they face FC Dnipro Dnirpopetrovsk in the Europa league last 32. After a difficult first leg, Spurs face an uphill battle to recover from the 1-0 defeat in Ukraine.
Spurs underwent an unbeaten Group stage in which they only conceded one goal in their 6 victories. Dnipro finished four points behind Fiorentina in Group E thanks to four victories and two defeats.
Prior to the first leg defeat, we last faced Ukrainian opposition in the Europa League during the 2008-09 season, when Shakhtar Donetsk beat us over two legs in the round of 32. We lost the away leg 2-0 on February 19, 2009, before drawing 1-1 at the Lane a week later, meaning we went out 3-1 on aggregate. Tottenham midfielder Mousa Dembélé has played again Dnipro before. He was part of the Fulham side which beat them 3-1 over two legs in the Europa League play-off round in 2011. Mousa was a 67th minute substitute in the first leg – a 3-0 win at Craven Cottage – before starting the return match in Ukraine, which Fulham lost 1-0.
Facts about Dnipro (via @SpursOfficial)
One of the club’s biggest rivals is Metalist Kharkiv. Dnipro are currently managed by former Spurs boss and two-time UEFA Cup winner Juande Ramos. Their home kit is all blue with white trim, with the opposite – all white with blue trim – for their away strip. The club took on the name Dnipro following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Dnipro is the name of the biggest river in Ukraine.
The team was known originally as BRIT, but after it was disbanded due to World War I, a new team which would become known as Petrovets was formed in Dnipropetrovsk in May, 1925. After World War II, the club merged with Dynamo Dnipropetrovsk and until 1961 it become known as Metalurh. After the team was handed over to a new sponsor, it became known as Dnepr – a name with Russian influences.
Injury wise, Spurs have a staggering amount of casualties. Erik Lamela, Capoue, Chiriches, Defoe, Rose, Kaboul, Sigurdsson and Walker are all ruled out of the game at the Lane. However, the beast that is Sandro will return! Jermain Defoe has officially played his last game for Tottenham and we wish him all the happiness and fortune in Toronto.
I am lucky enough to be in attendance at the game. I will be sitting with the famous 1882 movement and will be in full voice to send Defoe on his way. Let’s do this!
Predicted team: Friedel, Naughton, Dawson, Vertonghen, Fryers, Sandro, Paulinho, Bentaleb, Eriksen, Kane, Soldado.
Predicted score: Tottenham 3-0 Dnipro.