Kane absence boosts Leipzig's 'realistic' chances of eliminating Spurs – Klostermann

Tom Webber

London, Febraury 18: RB Leipzig can realistically get past Tottenham in the last 16 of the Champions League and their chances are improved by Harry Kane's absence, says Lukas Klostermann.

Julian Nagelsmann has guided Leipzig, who sit one point behind leaders Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, into the knockout stages in just their second season in Europe's premier club competition.

The first leg will take place at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Wednesday (February 19), with the return match at the Red Bull Arena three weeks later.

Germany international Klostermann believes Leipzig are more than capable of reaching the quarter-finals despite being up against a team that finished as Champions League runners-up in 2018-19.

"It's an exciting match-up where we have a realistic chance of going through, even though we are facing a top European club," Klostermann told Omnisport.

"Tottenham have shown over recent years that they are among European football's elite. We are looking forward to the two games, knowing it's an enormous challenge.

"However, we are looking forward to those games and due to the work we have done during this season and the previous one, to have the opportunity to show where we're at."

In both legs, Spurs will be without Kane, who has been sidelined since January due to a hamstring injury and is not expected to return until April.

"I can't influence those things but obviously it's not really a disadvantage for us when their top striker is missing," said Klostermann.

"We need to look at ourselves and need to show a good performance on the pitch during those two games. A lot is going to depend on us if we go through or not."

Nagelsmann took charge of Hoffenheim at 28, making him the youngest coach in Bundesliga history, and his stock has continued to rise at Leipzig.

Klostermann said: "I think he is still a very young coach, he is very detailed and week after week he manages to communicate his idea to us players in a way that we can understand it and get enthusiastic about it, so that we are also convinced of this plan and are fully behind it.

"I think that's very important. You can see this in many situations, whether the team really stands behind the coach's idea and can implement it or whether you're just trying to implement instructions you're not convinced of yourself."

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