buoyed by their derby victory at arsenal fc, tottenham hotspur fc welcome sv werder bremen with confidence high, though midfielder jermaine jenas anticipates another "tough game".
jermaine jenas insists the reputation tottenham hotspur fc have been forging as comeback kings is an indication of their blossoming belief as the group a leaders welcome sv werder bremen to white hart lane looking to seal a place in the knockout phase of the uefa champions league.
spurs have triumphed four times in the premier league after falling behind and raised eyebrows in europe by scoring three times with ten men at holders fc internazionale milano after trailing 4-0. their latest recovery on saturday was equally impressive as they transformed a 2-0 half-time deficit into a 3-2 success at north london rivals arsenal fc.
"there's been a few games like the inter away game where we took a lot from the performance," said jenas, who has played in all four group matches. "we took experience and confidence from beating the european champions [3-1 on matchday 4] and it will be the same from saturday. coming back at arsenal is not an easy thing to do – especially at 2-0 down.
"inter [away] was the catalyst," the england international added. "we didn't perform in the first half and going down to ten men people wrote us off completely. but in the second half we gave ourselves a mental victory. the way we performed and had inter on the ropes in the last five minutes with ten men at san siro – not many teams can do that. we looked at that and said we could do anything if we're all at it."
harry redknapp's side, who could be without key figures gareth bale (shoulder) and rafael van der vaart (ankle), will confirm their progress to the last 16 with victory against bremen. but if tottenham are to step up to the next level they will have to blend their attacking prowess and spirited responses with defensive resilience. without a clean sheet in 17 matches, jenas realises there is scope for improvement.
"it's something we're trying to work on and we need to rectify it soon," said the 27-year-old. "it's great to score goals and win games 3-2 but there comes a point where you need to win 1-0. the top teams do that and it's an area we need to improve on if we're to achieve anything special this year. a victory with a clean sheet would be something we'd take more pride in right now."
bremen have conceded ten goals without reply in their last two bundesliga away games, are yet to win in group a and have not scored in four matches, but jenas insists tottenham are "expecting a tough game". he added: "i remember our first meeting. we went 2-0 up and dictated the game but they came out second half with a completely different mindset and made life very difficult. in the end, we were happy with a draw."
goals from younes kaboul, luka modrić and peter crouch took the competition debutants into the last 16 with a game to spare.
tottenham hotspur fc ensured their uefa champions league adventure will go on into the new year as they secured their last-16 place with a comfortable victory against sv werder bremen.
harry redknapp's group a leaders had too much for a depleted bremen side and after first-half strikes by younes kaboul and luka modrić, tim wiese saved gareth bale's second-half penalty before peter crouch added a late third. crouch's goal took spurs level with arsenal fc as the tournament's most prolific goalscorers with 15 from five games; no wonder the home fans were singing "champions league, we're having a laugh".
while spurs entered the contest on a high after winning at arsenal, bremen came to london struggling under the weight of an injury list in double figures and a morale-sapping run of five defeats in six. so stretched were the visitors' resources that coach thomas schaaf gave debuts to defender dominik schmidt and midfielder felix kroos, who were both playing third-division football for bremen's reserves last weekend. it was no surprise they ended the night consigned to bottom place.
tottenham were ahead after six minutes as kaboul followed up his north london derby winner with a close-range volley. after bremen had only half-cleared a corner, aaron lennon took the ball back into the box and crossed for kaboul to finish. spurs might have had a second as roman pavlyuchenko, starting in place of the injured rafael van der vaart, miscued his shot after crouch had diverted bale's cross back to the russian.
by then, spurs had lost jermaine jenas to injury, wilson palacios replacing him, and they were struggling to reproduce the high-tempo football that had marked their first two home wins in the group. a sloppy clearance by lennon presented marko marin, bremen's liveliest player, with a shooting opportunity but his effort trickled wide. instead spurs doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time. crouch got his head to alan hutton's cross and the ball dropped to modrić who wrong-footed sebastian prödl before steering the ball past wiese on the half-volley.
tottenham did everything but score a third at the start of the second half. bale curled a free-kick on to the bar, crouch headed bale's far-post cross against prödl on the goal line, and then bale saw his tame spot kick stopped by wiese after kroos had tripped modrić. the chances kept coming, though, and in the 79th minute, after bale's cross had come off the woodwork, lennon picked up the loose ball and evaded schmidt before teeing up crouch to slot in.
yardımcı hakemler: bertino miranda (por), jose cardinal (por)
4. hakem: vasco santos (por)
çizgi hakemleri: artur soares dias (por), carlos xistra (por)
tottenham: heurelho gomes (gk), alan hutton, gareth bale (dk. 81 niko kranjčar), younes kaboul, aaron lennon, jermaine jenas (dk. 20 wilson palacios), roman pavlyuchenko (dk. 58 jermain defoe), william gallas (c), luka modrić, peter crouch, benoît assou-ekotto
yedekler: carlo cudicini (gk), robbie keane, sébastien bassong, vedran Ćorluka
teknik direktör: harry redknapp (eng)
bremen: tim wiese (gk), clemens fritz, marko marin, aaron hunt (dk. 79 lennart thy), sebastian prödl, felix kroos (dk. 55 onur ayık), sandro wagner, daniel jensen (dk. 86 petri pasanen), per mertesacker (c), dominik schmidt, philipp bargfrede
yedekler: sebastian mielitz (gk), said husejinović, niklas andersen, pascal testroet
teknik direktör: thomas schaaf (ger)
goller: dk. 6 younes kaboul (1-0) dk. 45+1 luka modrić (2-0) dk. 79 peter crouch (3-0)
sarı kartlar: dk. 42 clemens fritz, dk. 50 sebastian prödl, dk. 53 felix kroos, dk. 53 sandro wagner (bremen)