A curious game in a way. Played in cold conditions, it failed to
warm up and Tottenham cantered through the match at just over half pace
for most of the time, but ended up beating a depleted and jaded Werder
Bremen side 3-0 to progress to the group stages.
While it should have been a joyous occasion
(like the Milan game), this was a thoroughly professional performance in
getting into the last 16 and taking the next step in the European
Attacking from the start, Spurs opened
the scoring in the sixth minute, when a good pavement of the ball got
Aaron Lennon away down the right and his low pull back found Younes
Kaboul on the edge of the six yard box. Taking the ball first
time, he hit it into the ground and the ball bounced high into the top
of the net with his effort coming off the turf and rising up over the
diving Wiese. It was the early goal Spurs needed, but Werder
showed little intent on turning over the Tottenham lead and while they
passed the ball neatly, they failed to penetrate the Spurs back line
Decimated by injury, Bremen were limited
in who they could choose and could be a match for anyone when they are
at full strength, but tonight it was a shadow of their first choice
eleven, leaving Tottenham to go forward at will and not have to worry
about Heurelho Gomes being overly troubled.
Peter Crouch was the target for Spurs in
much of the match and therefore Pavlyuchenko lacked the service he
wanted, but the tall striker headed down for Jenas to fire over the top
and then almost got on the end of Benny Assou-Ekotto's far post cross to
knock it down, but he got squeezed out by green-shirted defenders.
Even the loss of the recently effective Jermaine Jenas with a calf
muscle pull did not affect the way Spurs went about the match, with
Wilson Palacios coming on to give a solid display of midfield tackling.
Aaron Hunt hit a shot well wide for
Bremen in their first attempt on goal, other than a header by Schmidt
that was nowhere near the target. Then Roman Pavlyuchenko almost
got on the end of a Crouch touch, but it looked as though it took him by
surprise and his hurried effort went wide, when a shot on target might
have tested Wiese. Marin who had been so effective in the first
match lacked the support to do well and he was well marshalled by the
Spurs defence, but he did get free in the 20th minute, but hit a shot
well wide of goal. Meanwhile Pav was at it again at the other end.
This time, he was played in by Lennon after taking on Schmidt and laying
the ball back for the Russian, who took a touch to ensure he got a shot
on target and this time Mertesacker did well to get a block in to stop
The Bremen captain did the same to divert
Gareth Bale's drive wide with a minute to go before half time and
although the corner came to nothing, when a long ball from the right by
Hutton landed on Crouch's head and the knock down was allowed to bounce
up by Luka Modric, thus selling his marker a marvellous dummy, he then
took the ball early to lift a shot past Wiese into the corner of the
goal to make it 2-0 right on the half-time whistle. The finish was
van der Vaart-like in it's execution and a two goal lead was much more
comfortable for the Spurs fans who tried to keep warm during the break
by poking fun at the German TV interview bar put out in front of the
No changes at the break, so Spurs got on
with their work, just as they had done during the first 45. Five
minutes in, Prodl was booked for a cynical foul on Lennon and he was
almost made to pay for it with Bale's dead ball strike from the right
side of the box thudding onto the crossbar with the keeper rooted to the
spot and he was unlucky to see it bounce up into he air.
Bale was presented with another scoring
chance from a dead ball situation three minutes later, when Modric took
the ball on into the penalty area and Kroos could only take his leg from
underneath him, picking up a yellow card and there was also one for
Wagner, who moaned about it to the referee. With other more
regular penalty taker son the pitch, Bale stepped up to take it and he
hit the ball a little too centrally and Wiese made a save at a good
height for him to keep the ball out.
Jermain Defoe came on for his return to
European action after his injury picked up playing for England. He
once more looked sharp and flashed a shot in with no back-lift that
Wiese could only beat away from the danger area with both hands.
Just before Alan Hutton had cut in from the right and looked like he was
going to curl in a shot like he had at Bolton, but he hit it low and
without any power, leaving Wiese the easy task to pick the ball up.
Marin threatened to break in on Spurs'
goal, but as he went into the area, William Gallas used his body to hold
him off the ball and shielded it back to Gomes, thus averting an panic
that the little German's run might have caused. A half clearance
by Prodl as Hutton pout a low ball into the area fell kindly to Aaron
Lennon and he had a shot that came out off Defoe before being cleared,
while Bale was freed on the left by Defoe to lash a trademark left-foot
shot across goal that missed the far post by inches (a la Inter - except
then it went in ... three times).
But a couple of minutes later in the 79th
minute, Bale put a cross in that took the keeper by surprise and bounced
back into play off the top of the crossbar and Aaron Lennon was alive to
it to keep the play going. He slipped the ball between Schmidt's
legs close to the dead ball line and pulled it low to the near post,
where Crouch had dropped off and turned the ball in first time to make
With nothing left in the game, Werder did
try and push forward, with Jensen hitting a shot that kept rising and
then a cross from Schmidt saw Thy get a glancing header on it, but it
went straight into Gomes' arms and the danger was averted.
Substitute Niko Kranjcar was trying to prove his worth, but failed to
enhance his reputation with a free kick that landed on top of the net
and a shot that was straight at the goalie. He buzzed about a bit
but was not the player he was last season.
The final whistle embarrassingly found
the ground only 2/3 full, as many had left before then, with the game
dying out as the poor and injury-hit Bremen team struggled to keep pace
with Spurs. Fifteen goals in five group games is a pretty good
record and if we can get the same outcome as Inter in the last game,
Spurs will top the group.
In a way, it is a shame that this was the
final home group game, as Bremen were the weakest of the teams in the
group we have played and for all their past good showings in Europe,
this became a little tedious, with the Germans showing no effort to make
a game of it, other than by bringing Spurs players down at frequent
Still, another good win, three points and
some more cash in the bank, as the European adventure continues.
With players coming back into the squad and the confidence that results
like this will give the team, it could be an interesting start to 2011.