We got our European football almanac out
And it makes good reading for the Yellow Wall
Tottenham fans were brought down to earth with a slight bang in Germany last Thursday. Having been on top of the world after losing just once in 13 games domestically, Mauricio Pochettino saw his side completley picked apart by Marco Reus and
Not Jurgen Klopp Thomas Tuchel’s Borussia Dortmund. A 3-0 defeat in the Westfaldonstadion means that Spurs need to score at least four times if they want to get the job done in 90 minutes. They’re to qualify for the next round. But looking over the history of European football since 1980, we see why those odds are quite accurate.
Here’s the brunt of it. In the last 36 years of European competition, only 14 sides has managed to turn a three-goal defect from a first leg around to go through. This includes the old UEFA Cup, which was two-legged from first-round to final. No English side has ever managed to do it, but Dortmund have been on the wrong end of it in 1988.
Punters of a certain age might remember Ronny Rosenthal for his six years in England with Liverpool and Spurs, but his Club Brugge side were defeated 3-0 in Germany in the first leg of their UEFA Cup third round tie . A stunning 5-0 win in the reverse fixture saw the Belgians advance after extra time.
It’s so rare that it’s only happened twice since 2002. Most recently in the 2014 Europa League quarter finals, where Basel looked home and hosed having defeated Valencia 3-0. Enter Paco Alcacer, whose hat trick sent the Mestalla into raptures.
The only English involvement in one of these turnarounds came in 1985, when QPR won the first leg of their second round game against Partizan 6-2, before remembering that they were QPR and subsequently losing the second leg 4-0 to exit on away goals.
Real Madrid and Werder Bremen are the only teams to do the three goal turnaround twice. Madrid did it in back to back years in the 80’s against Anderlecht and Monchengladbach, again in the UEFA Cup.
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Nine of the 14 have had 3-0 scorelines after leg number one, and three of those needed penalties. As England fans know well, they don’t win penalty shootouts against German opposition, Dortmund are to win a shootout on Thursday. Spurs will need at least a 3-0 scoreline () to get it to extra time.
A 4-0 in 90 minutes will see them avoid an extra half hour of football (). If Dortmund score it’s curtains, and the odds for what is likely to be a weakened Spurs defence (they’ve got a Fox hunt to focus on in the league) to keep a clean sheet are .
If they manage to pull it off, it’d be a kick starter for the home straight of the title race. Sitting five points off Leicester, you have to wonder if Pochettino will rest a few big names for the game against Bournemouth next Sunday. After all, ‘it’s only the Europa League’