And welcome to live coverage of Eintracht Frankfurt, the Europa League holders, and Tottenham Hotspur in the third round of Champions League Group D fixtures. Both sides have racked up victories over Marseille in the competition so far and defeats by Sporting and go into tonight’s match looking to hang on to the Lisbon club’s coat-tails in second place (or perhaps leapfrog them as they’re 3-1 down at the Velodrome!)
The two have met in Europe once before, in the two-legged Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-final won 3-2 by Spurs in 1981-82 by virtue of Glenn Hoddle’s goal at the Waldstadion. Antonio Conte takes them into this fixture after addressing his critics yesterday who have accused him of an excess of caution and sending out teams with tactics and arrayed in a system that is inimical to ‘audere est facere’ and the club’s most cherished traditions.
His defence of his … er … defensiveness is that ‘Daddy knows best’. They should trust him to build the foundations of a winning mentality and that comes from taking as few risks at the back as possible. He is always fairly caustic when criticised and his record earns him the right to set Tottenham up in any way he pleases. To these eyes all it would take to stay as secure as possible at the back and address the shortcomings in midfield would be to tweak from 3-4-3 to 3-5-2 with Oliver Skipp or Yves Bissouma coming into midfield and, if fit, using Dejan Kulusevski as a right wing-back. But, of course, ‘Daddy knows best’.
Eintracht Frankfurt have lost Filip Kostic from the side that did for West Ham and Rangers in the Europa League last season but have brought in a rare beats indeed, a man who has scored the winning goal in a World Cup final. Mario Gotze has suffered a lot over the past decade but it’s wonderful to see him doing so well on his Bundesliga return, opening the scoring in the 2-0 victory over Union Berlin at the weekend that helped them up to sixth after their fourth win in five.
Lucas Moura and Ben Davies are missing from the Spurs squad. Eintracht Frankfurt have ruled ou Kristijan Jakic and Jerome Onguene.
Join us for the team news imminently.