Spurs under 23’s versus Wolfsburg II (match preview)
Our under 23’s will play their first group game of this seasons premier league international cup on Monday evening, when they face German side Wolfsburg II at Broadhall Way. The premier league international cup is a fantastic competition which gives English development sides the chance to test themselves against a variety of both top European and English clubs. Wayne Burnett’s side entered this competition last season however, they were knocked out in the group stages after they failed to qualify from their group. This season we have been drawn in group C which was one of the toughest groups available. Our group contains Monday evenings opponents Wolfsburg II, Spanish club Athletico Bilbao B and Norwich City’s development side. Whilst only the winners of the group will qualify directly into the next round, the two best second placed sides from the group stages will also go into the draw for the knockout stages. Winless in their last four matches at this level, Wayne Burnett will be hoping that his side can end that barren run when they take on Wolfsburg’s talented second team on Monday. We are the only team in group C who have yet to play a group game this campaign. Wolfsburg have played one and won one, after defeating Athletic Bilbao 4-0, and the German club currently lead the group with three points to their name. When I was doing my research on Wolfsburg II who ply their trade in the Regionalliga North alongside a host of professional senior sides, I was surprised at just how good Wolfsburg’s form has been this season. The club from Lower Saxony have lost only once from the 23 competitive games that they have played in this season. In addition Rüdiger Zieh’ls team are top of the Regionalliga North with 50 points from their opening 21 matches. Considering just how good Athletic Bilbao B are I was a little shocked to see that Wolfsburg beat them so comfortably in their opening group game. In fact I have been doing quite a bit of research on the German Bundesliga sides reserve team. Interestingly as with a lot of European B teams there squad is vastly made up of players in their early 20’s. There star player is 22 year old centre forward Daniel Hanslik who has found the net on 17 occasions this season. However, Wolfsburg also have a number of older players who are regulars within the reserve team.
29 year old centre back Julian Klamt is Wolfsburg’s captain and he has featured on 19 occasions for the club in the league this season. Furthermore, Wolfsburg’s 30 year old central midfielder Michele Rizzi is another regular for the reserve team. As is 30 year old forward Marcel Stutter, I’m not for one moment suggesting that any of those three overage players will play against us on Monday. However, it would appear likely and this would make the challenge of getting something out of the game a lot harder for Burnett’s side who are likely to be coming up against a very technical and experienced Wolfsburg team. Meanwhile Spurs’ oldest player will probably only be 20 years of age with a number of our more experienced players still out injured. Our under 23’s have a PL2 game against Everton on the Friday and this could see Burnett shuffle his side around for Monday’s game by giving players who haven’t played a lot this season, some all important playing time. Quite honestly I don’t know what to expect from Rüdiger Zieh’ls side on Monday evening. Last season we were played off the park by Spanish side Villarreal B before going onto outplay Benfica B in our final group game. One thing is for sure though and that is that, this competition will provide our young players with vital experience of playing some very talented European teams. I will be reporting on Monday evenings game from Broadhall Way, and I shall have my match report out by the following day. I wish Burnett’s side all the very best of luck for our important game against the German club.
My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Austin, Marsh (c), Eyoma, Tanganga, Reynolds, Bowden, Duncan, Oakley-Boothe, Maghoma, Roles, Sterling.
Subs from: Freeman, Hinds, Brown, White, Markanday.
Injured/unavailable: Jonathan Dinzeyi, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster, Malachi Walcott, Phoenix Patterson, J’Neil Bennett, Luke Amos, Shayon Harrison.
Doubtful: Shilow Tracey, Anthony Georgiou.
Previous meeting: N/A.
My score prediction: Spurs 2-1.
My one to watch: Wolfsburg’s 22 year old centre forward Daniel Hanslik has been prolific in front of goal this season, scoring 17 goals from 21 league appearances. Hanslik played in Wolfsburg’s opening group game against Athletic Bilbao B and will most likely feature again for the German club on Monday evening.