If Tottenham Hotspur plans on advancing in the Europa Conference League, Spurs must beat Mura on Thursday to have any real chance. The match may be an opportunity for the players but it will be an opportunity lost for the club if Tottenham fails to win.
Europa Competitions impacted by the Champions League
Whereas in the UEFA Champions League the top two teams from each group advance to the knockout rounds the same is not true in the Europa League or the Europa Conference League where Spurs play.
Instead, the third-placed team in each group from the Champions League gets a shot at going into Europa League. Whereas before those teams were simply added in and the tournament grew, now there will be a playoff for the knockout stage in both Europa League and the Conference League.
In Europa League, those 8 teams from the Champions League are drawn against the eight second-place finishers in each group and only the winners advance to the knock-out rounds. Likewise, in the Conference League, the eight third-place finishers from the Europa League groups are drawn against the eight second-place teams from the Conference League groups.
Tottenham needs points to have a shot at advancing
As things stand right now, Tottenham is in second place and nothing is secured. Spurs sit three points behind Rennes – who they play on the final matchday of the group stage – and just 1 point in front of Vitesse.
Mura has no points thus far in the competition and Tottenham does not want to be the first to drop points to the Slovenian side. In fact, if Spurs were to lose and Rennes has a draw or better with Vitesse, Spurs would be guaranteed to finish no higher than second.
The best-case scenario for Tottenham is to win and have Vitesse beat Rennes, leaving Spurs first in the group on goal difference with a match still to play against Rennes. Even then Tottenham would have to beat Rennes to win the group. Goal difference in the group is the second tie-breaker in the Conference League, with the first being points earned between the two teams.
Given Rennes beat Spurs on matchday one, Rennes can still win the group with a loss to Vitesse and a draw against Tottenham. This means for Spurs, the only way to win the group is to win out from here. In other words, Mura is a must-win match for our Lilywhites.