Spurs subdued by German efficiency – but fans should be satisfied

Posted on September 15, 2010


By Tim Harris

GOALS either side of half-time for Werder Bremen to draw the game reminds Spurs of the tough test that the Champions League poses.

Despite throwing away a lead against Werder Bremen in their Champions League opener last night, Tottenham recorded a vital point away to the Bundesliga side.

Peter Crouch on the scoresheet once again

Spurs were 2-1 ahead at the interval, courtesy of Peter Crouch and a Bremen own goal.

But the tie truly was a game of two halves.

Once Bremen had seized an equaliser after the break, they pushed Tottenham right back and piled on the pressure.  Bremen improved so much in the second-half that Spurs fans should be fully content with a point.

And a draw away at the Weserstadion is a solid building point on their long-awaited return to Europe’s most elite club competition.

Bremen, who finished 3rd in the Bundesliga last year, complete a tough group that also includes holders Inter Milan, and Dutch Champions FC Twente.

Initially, Spurs were strong favourites to finish rock bottom of their Champions League group.

And while it would be speculative to argue that Spurs could actually qualify for the knockout stages, results like last night’s could offer potential.

If the North London club can hold their own in more testing away fixtures, as well as collecting a few points at White Hart Lane, they could stand a genuine chance of landing 3rd spot (with entry to the Europa League), and maybe even push for 2nd.

Reserve and patience
What is critically important for all those involved with Tottenham Hotspur – is to keep expectations low.  There is a big gulf between the Premiership and the Champions League.

Spurs have vastly improved over the previous couple of seasons.  They have a talented squad of players, natural born goal-scorers, creative midfielders, and a clever manager to pull the strings.

However, despite all that Harry Redknapp is capable of, Spurs cannot be placed on the same par as Inter, Real Madrid, Barcelona, or any other team in contention to lift the trophy.

I am not insinuating for a second that Tottenham fans suddenly believe their team is going to win the Champions League.  Such a suggestion would be insanity.

What I am alluding to, is the magic and ecstasy of European football that can very easily sweep supporters up in the moment.

It would be recommendable, whatever happens to Spurs in Europe this season, for their fans to set relatively low standards, and be happy with any outcome.

After all, this is the building season.

It was a fantastic achievement for Spurs to qualify, but this year must now be used to sample the waters of Champions League football, while still ensuring that they perform well enough in the Premiership to feature in next season’s tournament.

The biggest danger that threatens Tottenham is the sheer amount of games they will play, and the consequential risk of injury and fatigue to their players.

Key front man Jermaine Defoe is already injured

Spurs are already missing Jermaine Defoe and Michael Dawson, who were both sidelined during international duty.

In addition to this, Ledley King must not play excessive amounts of football in order to prevent further damage to his chronic knee problems, so will also be a doubt.

And while Spurs have players to provide cover for these positions, Redknapp needs to be careful that the increased number of matches does not compromise tiring or injuring more key members of his squad.

At the end of the day, football is a long-term business with short-term pressures.  And Spurs fans need to look past the short-term, and trust in their manager that in the long-term, he can establish Tottenham as a regular Champions League side, and then move from there.

That’s assuming the FA doesn’t snap him up for the England job in a couple of years.

Harry Redknapp - building Tottenham's European status