When the Champions League draw for the Round of 16 was made in mid-December, not many would have expected what was about to unfold.
Current holders Real Madrid were embarrassed by an Ajax side that showed shades of the same club that won three consecutive Champions League trophies in the 70s, Manchester United became the first side in the history of the competition to overcome a 2-0 home defeat as Ole’s men won 3-1 against PSG, and most impressive of all, Spurs didn’t ‘Spurs’ it up against Borussia Dortmund in a 4-0 aggregate win.
For the first time since 2008, there will be four English teams in the Champions League quarter-finals, and for the first time since 2011 will, one of those teams be Tottenham.
The north London side have been one of the surprise teams in Europe this season, snatching a second-place spot in their group from Inter Milan when it looked like Mauricio Pochettino’s side were destined for a Europa League placing, and then putting Dortmund to the sword in the RO16 rounded off a stunning change in fortunes for Spurs.
And with Premier League title hopes crushed way before anything really started and no domestic cups to worry about due to the lack of not being in any, why aren’t Tottenham making the Champions League a priority?
With half the remaining teams in the competition being English and a further two being Ajax and Porto, two sides that are being viewed as the teams the other six want to be drawn against, it’s not crazy to suggest that Tottenham have a genuine shot at winning the Champions League.
Of course, this is Tottenham we’re talking about. We have seen this club stumble and fall at many obstacles that on the surface looked easy enough to overcome, with last weekend being a prime example of this.
Any sign of pressure and Pochettino’s side seem to crumble into obscurity, but with some luck of the draw, Spurs might just pull it off.
Most competitions these days are won on the basis of not how you play, but who you play. This is how England made it to the semi-finals of the World Cup last summer and you could even argue this is how Liverpool made the Champions League final last season.
The luck of the draw now plays a bigger part in football than ever, and this luck might just be what Spurs could need to claim the most surprising Champions League win since Chelsea in 2012.
As well as luck, Spurs need to actually turn up against these teams, and this season we have Poch’s side do some genuine damage to some of the biggest teams on the continent.
We all saw what happened in the first leg against Dortmund. A Dortmund side that at the time were top of the Bundesliga and playing some of the best football in all of Europe and a Dortmund side that finished top of a Champions League group with the likes of Atletico Madrid and AS Monaco.
If Tottenham can emulate the determination and quality the displayed against Dortmund, Spurs will be a deadly team to come up against in the Champions League and easily the dark horse for the competition.
Spurs fans, do you think Tottenham have what it takes to win the Champions League?