Spurs, Werder Bremen draw in opener

Tottenham Hotspur earned a 2-2 draw in its first match in Champions League group play

Harry Redknapp Tottenham Hotspur

Photo Credit: 
Paul Gilham / Getty

It ended 2-2 in Werder Bremen on Tuesday night - and few will forget our first match in the group stages of the Champions League.

Harry Redknapp spoke about wanting to make a 'flying start' in Group A but not even he could have imagined the start his players would produce against the team that finished third in the Bundesliga last season.

Indeed, the first half at the Weserstadion was as complete a performance as you could wish to see - almost.

Having dominated proceedings, raced into a 2-0 lead and then created chances to go further ahead, we were hit by a goal just before the break.

That certainly lifted the home team's spirits - and they came out a different side in the second half, equalised within three minutes of the restart and posed more of a threat in the first 10 minutes than they had in the first period.

They maintained the upper hand in the second half but overall, it has to be said that a draw was a fair result.

Harry made four changes to the team that drew 1-1 at West Brom on Saturday.

Ledley King came back into the side for William Gallas, Benoit Assou-Ekotto started at left-back with Gareth Bale pushed on, Jermaine Jenas returned in central midfield and Peter Crouch led the line. Gallas, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Wilson Palacios dropped to the bench, Luka Modric missed out through injury.

A fast start was top of the agenda and that's exactly what was delivered.

We'd looked lively down the flanks in the early stages and took the lead after 12 minutes when Assou-Ekotto played in Bale on the overlap on the left and his cross was turned into his own net by Petri Pasanen.

If that wasn't good enough, we doubled our lead six minutes later with a real cracker.

It all started with a magnifcent, volleyed pass from Jenas to Rafael van der Vaart on the left and his cross was right on the button for Peter Crouch to power his header into the top corner.

We continued to dominate. Bale's fierce drive was parried by Tim Wiese in the Werder Bremen goal, the ball somehow evaded Crouch, who had an open goal and then Pasanen got to the loose ball just ahead of Jenas, the goal still gaping.

The inspired Bale then fired in another effort that Wiese did well to palm away. It was all Spurs.

What we didn't want - and what the home side desperately needed - was a way back into the game for the Germans.

But they found just that two minutes before the interval as Wesley whipped in a fine cross from the left and Hugo Almeida just needed connect to score, planting his header beyond Carlo Cudicini.

That certainly changed the atmosphere inside the Weserstadion and the home side charged out for the second half.

Substitute Aaron Hunt saw a 20-yarder fizzer tipped over by Cudicini inside two minutes and Werder Bremen didn't have to wait long for the equaliser.

Marko Marin, skilful, nippy and the pick of the home side, found room 20 yards out and drove into the bottom corner.

Werder Bremen now enjoyed their best spell. Almeida poked over from 16 yards, Marin forced his way into the box but shot wide and Hunt did the same, slicing way off target.

Bale, a constant threat, provided the next chance in the 81st minute. Released by Robbie Keane, who came on for van der Vaart early in the second half, Bale rolled the ball across goal and just as it looked like Crouch would tap into an empty net, Pasanen somehow managed to touch it away.

We still pushed on for the win and the next chance fell again to Crouch in the 87th minute, fed in by substitute Wilson Palacios, Crouch dinked over Wiese but just wide.

Cudicini stood strong to palm out Hunt's drive from the left angle a minute later and that was that on a night to remember.

Werder Bremen (4-1-2-1-2): Wiese; Fritz, Pasanen, Prodl, Silvestre; Frings; Bargfrede (Hunt, 37), Marin; Wesley (Borowski, 68); Almeida (Wagner 79), Arnautovic. Unused subs: Meilitz, Boenisch, Husejinovic, Jensen.

Spurs (4-4-1-1): Cudicini; Corluka, King, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon (Palacios, 75), Jenas, Huddlestone, Bale; Van der Vaart (Keane, 48); Crouch. Subs: Pletikosa, Bassong, Gallas, Kranjcar, Pavlyuchenko.

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