Whilst Spurs face one of the toughest draws coming up against Real Madrid, Dortmund and APOEL in Group H, this must be the draw some fans have been waiting for.
Pochettino’s first European match in charge of Tottenham came away at AEL Limassol in a Europa League play-off game three years ago. Sweltering in the Cypriot heat, Spurs were behind at halftime and needed two late goals from Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane to overcome their hosts. From that forgettable game in front of a little over 8,000 fans comes the draw of a lifetime. After years of trudging through the Europa League facing the mighty Sheriff Tiraspol, Shamrock Rovers and Asteras Tripoli along the way, aren’t these the games Tottenham fans dreamed of? Games don’t come much bigger than facing holders Real Madrid under the bright lights of Wembley. Spurs midfielder Harry Winks described Real Madrid last visit to play Spurs as “one of the best atmospheres he had experienced”.
Coming up against Real Madrid and Dortmund might just be the making of Spurs. They need to test themselves against the very best and those players deserve the highest stage to play on. They may well get taught a lesson, most do when facing this Real Madrid side, but that too could prove a valuable lesson for Pochettino’s young team. Pochettino himself will also revel in the opportunity to test himself against two of Europe’s strongest sides. With APOEL making up the numbers in Group H it’s therefore highly unlikely Spurs will finish bottom, so as a worst case scenario, their European adventure will at least continue through the Europa League.
Group H is a good challenge for this Tottenham side and they shouldn’t be overawed. Spurs have earned the right to go toe-to-toe with the best sides in Europe and this tough group shows just how far Pochettino has taken them.