Tottenham and Sampdoria have first-leg deficits to overturn in the Champions League playoffs as they look to advance to the tournament’s group stages for the first time.
Spurs’ hopes of progression were severely dented when they conceded three goals to Young Boys inside 30 minutes of the opening leg in Switzerland, but Sebastien Bassong and Roman Pavlyuchenko replied for the English side as the match finished 3-2.
Italy’s Sampdoria, which lost the 1992 European Cup final to Barcelona, but hasn’t played in the revamped Champions League, was beaten 3-1 by Werder Bremen in the first leg.
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp called his side’s first-leg result a "great defeat" and is grateful to still have a chance of going through at the expense of Young Boys, which eliminated Fenerbahce in the previous round.
"It will be a difficult game at White Hart Lane but it will be a great atmosphere, a big European night and it is a game we have to win now," Redknapp said. "We have to be up for it and see if we can get the result."
Spurs, looking to join fellow English sides Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal in the group stages, have problems in attack with Jermain Defoe, Robbie Keane and Pavlyuchenko all struggling with injury. The London side hasn’t competed in Europe’s premier knockout competition since the 1961-62 European Cup.
Four-time European champion Ajax is level at 1-1 with Dynamo Kiev heading into the second leg in Amsterdam on Wednesday but coach Martin Jol is confident his side will progress.
"Things have to get a bit crazy for us not to go through. If we keep a cool head, we have what it takes," Jol said.
"We’re playing in a full ArenA, which we’ll call ‘Amsterdam’s Hell."’
In Wednesday’s other second legs, Russia’s Zenit St. Petersburg travels to French side Auxerre with a 1-0 cushion, Rosenborg of Norway visits FC Copenhagen with a 2-1 lead and Slovakia’s MSK Zilina is heavy favorite after winning 2-0 at Sparta Prague in the first leg.
Stefano Lucchini will be suspended for Sampdoria against Bremen in Genoa on Tuesday after he was sent off in the first leg for picking up two yellow cards.
Spanish side Sevilla, which won back-to-back UEFA Cups in 2006 and 2007, is behind 1-0 in its two-legged series with Braga of Portugal, while Belgian team Anderlecht and Partizan Belgrade are level at 2-2 after the first match in Croatia, Basle of Switzerland is 1-0 ahead after its home leg against Moldovia’s FC Sheriff Tiraspol and Hapoel Tel-Aviv has a 3-2 advantage from the first match at Red Bull Salzburg.
The 10 teams who qualify from the playoffs earn a minimum 7 million euros ($9.24 million) in prize money for reaching the group stage.