Tottenham Hotspur are desperate to get into the latter stages of the Champions League this season after putting a lot of faith in Antonio Conte during the summer.
The Premier League side have had a mixed season in the Premier League although they remain on track to be in the top four fight long into the campaign.
Getting out of the Champions League group is the aim right now though, as fans clamour to see their side in a big European tie once again.
How can Tottenham reach the 2022/23 Champions League knockout stage?
Tottenham’s Champions League group is incredibly tight and has been one of the ones to watch this season. They are in Group D along with Eintracht Frankfurt, Sporting CP and Marseille.
It’s a group that Spurs were happy with when it was made, but all three opponents have shown an impressive level so far this season, and that is why just two points separate the top and bottom heading into the final matchday.
How Spurs have performed so far
Spurs are top on eight points, one ahead of Sporting and Eintracht Frankfurt. Marseille are fourth on six points. It is Marseille that Spurs started the campaign against, winning 2-0 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
A 2-0 defeat followed against Sporting in Portugal though, which reminded Conte’s side that they are in a real battle – one which was intensified when a trip to Germany led to a 0-0 draw against Eintracht.
The reverse fixture in London ended 3-2 in Spurs’ favour and that meant when Sporting came to town, a win would see Spurs through. It wasn’t to be though as the game ended 1-1. Harry Kane saw a goal ruled out in stoppage time for the narrowest of offsides.
Can Tottenham drop into the Europa League?
The task is essentially simple for Spurs as they head to the South of France to take on Marseille. If they win, they will top the group and qualify for the Round of 16.
A draw will also be enough because Sporting and Eintracht cannot both overtake Spurs. A win for either of those two teams in their game would see them top the group though if Spurs don’t win.
Spurs can’t finish fourth in the group, but they can drop into the Europa League. If Marseille win, they will go to nine points, and any winner from the Sporting-Frankfurt match would top the group on 10 points. That would leave one team on seven points and Spurs on eight, putting them in third and in the Europa League.
Also, if Marseille win and the Sporting-Frankfurt match is a draw, Marseille will be top with nine points and three teams will be on eight points. Spurs have a worse head-to-head record than Sporting so the Portuguese side would qualify, but the head-to-head record against Frankfurt means Spurs would be third and go into the Europa League.
Tottenham’s record in the Champions League knockout stages
Tottenham’s first-ever foray into the latter stages of what was then the European Cup was back in 1961/62 and it saw them get to the semi-final. They were beaten 4-3 on aggregate by a Benfica side that had Eusebio and beat Ferenc Puskas’ Real Madrid in the final.
Tottenham wouldn’t be back until the 2010/11 season. Spurs narrowly beat AC Milan in the Round of 16 but were humbled 5-0 on aggregate in the quarter-final against Real Madrid.
2017/18 was the next time Spurs made it out the group stage but Juventus proved too strong in the Round of 16, winning 4-3 on aggregate. The following 2018/19 season was the best yet for Spurs as they beat the likes of Ajax and Manchester City to reach the final in Madrid where they were beaten by Liverpool.
The 19/20 campaign was something of a return to normal procedure for Spurs as they were beaten 4-0 on aggregate in the Round of 16 by RB Leipzig.
On three occasions, he saw his team get eliminated in the group stage. When he has made it to the knockout stages, he has not gone far. He was knocked out in the Round of 16 with Chelsea in 2017/18, losing 4-1 on aggregate to Barcelona.
The other occasion was a run to the quarter-finals with Juventus in 2012/13 which ended with a 4-0 defeat against eventual tournament winners Bayern Munich.
This time, he has a great chance to take Spurs through to the Round of 16 as group winners. As for what they can do after that, it remains to be seen.
Antonio Conte’s record in the Champions League
History is not on Spurs’ side when it come to their coach. Conte is rightly regarded as one of the elite managers in Europe, but that reputation has very much been earned in domestic competition.
He has never won a European trophy despite having 10 domestic successes to his name. Conte has been a part of five Champions League campaigns while at Juventus, Chelsea and Inter.