UEFA Europa League - 2020/21 SeasonMatch press kits
|Royal Antwerp FC||Bosuil - DeurneThursday 29 October 2020|
18.55CET (18.55 local time) Group J - Matchday 2
Two teams who got off to winning starts in UEFA Europa League Group J go head to head on Matchday 2 as Royal Antwerp and Tottenham Hotspur meet for the first time in European competition with the visitors seeking a maiden victory in Belgium.
• Antwerp, currently leading their domestic league, came from behind to win 2-1 at Ludogorets on their UEFA Europa League group stage debut, experienced European campaigner Lior Refaelov scoring the winning goal in Razgrad, while Tottenham cruised to a 3-0 home win against Austrian visitors LASK with Lucas Moura and Heung-Min Son both on the scoresheet.
• Although Antwerp won both legs against Aston Villa in the first round of the 1975/76 UEFA Cup, their second and most recent pairing with English opposition, against Newcastle United at the same stage of the same competition 19 years later, brought two heavy defeats – 0-5 at home and 2-5 away. Those results were the club's most recent in UEFA competition until they returned to Europe last season after 25 years away.
• Tottenham have met Belgian clubs ten times previously and have yet to post an away win, their record in the country standing at D2 L3. Their most recent visit was their last game on the road in the UEFA Europa League proper, a 1-0 defeat by Gent in the 2016/17 round of 32 that followed a 2-2 first-leg draw at Wembley.
• Antwerp beat champions Club Brugge 1-0 in the 2019/20 Belgian Cup final – the club's first victory in the competition for 28 years – to secure a place in the UEFA Europa League group stage for the first time.
• Last season the club returned to European competition for the first time in a quarter of a century but were unable to negotiate their way through UEFA Europa League qualifying, going out in the play-offs to AZ Alkmaar after extra time (1-1 a, 1-4 h) following an away goals extra-time win in the third qualifying round against Viktoria Plzeň.
• European Cup Winners' Cup runners-up to Parma in the 1992/93 final at Wembley, the Great Old have lost three of their five European home games since (W2).
• Tottenham finished outside the top four of the Premier League for the first time in five seasons in 2019/20, their final position of sixth ending a four-season run in the UEFA Champions League that had taken them into the final in 2018/19 and to the round of 16 last season, where they were eliminated by RB Leipzig (0-1 h, 0-3 a).
• Spurs' 2020/21 European campaign began at an earlier stage than in any previous season, but José Mourinho's side came through qualifying ties away to Lokomotiv Plovdiv (2-1) and Shkëndija (3-1) before beating Maccabi Haifa 7-2 at home in the play-offs to take the club into the UEFA Europa League group stage for the sixth time. Having failed to make further progress in 2011/12, the two-time UEFA Cup winners have qualified for the round of 32 in each of their last four group participations, most recently in 2015/16 when they reached the last 16.
• Tottenham have never claimed a victory on the road in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase (D4 L5), but their away record in the competition's group stage remains an impressive W6 D6 L3 – despite winning just one of the last four (D1 L2), one of those defeats coming in Belgium against Anderlecht (1-2) in 2015/16.
Links and trivia
• Antwerp full-back Ritchie De Laet has played for ten English clubs, notably Leicester City, with whom he was a Premier League champion in 2015/16 – though he spent the second half of that campaign on loan at Middlesbrough, helping them win promotion to the top flight.
• De Laet and Tottenham's Toby Alderweireld won their first cap for Belgium in the same match – a 1-1 draw against Chile on 29 May 2009 in the Kirin Cup in Japan.
• Jérémy Gelin (Antwerp) and Tanguy Ndombélé (Tottenham) are team-mates for France's Under-21 side.
• Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris's next appearance in UEFA club competition will be his 100th.
• Antwerp are the eighth different Belgian club to appear in the competition proper.
• Tottenham's sixth appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stage is a record for an English club. They have also played more matches in the competition proper (49) and scored more goals (81) than any other Premier League side.
• Antwerp are one of six clubs making their UEFA Europa League group stage debut in 2020/21, the others being CSKA-Sofia (Group A), Granada and Omonoia (E), Leicester City (G) and Sivasspor (I). They are the eighth different Belgian club to appear in the competition proper.
• Spurs are one of six former UEFA Cup winners in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage – along with Bayer Leverkusen (Group C), PSV Eindhoven (E), Napoli (F), CSKA Moskva and Feyenoord (both K).