Austrian international striker MARKO ARNAUTOVIC (7), for whom Werder Bremen paid Dutch club FC Twente Enschede a little over 5.5 million English pounds this summer, and Tottenham Hotspur’s England World Cup defender LEDLEY KING maneuver for the ball at the Weserstadion in northwest Germany. (Fabian Bimmer/AFP/Getty Images)
UEFA Champions League
2 – Werder Bremen (GER) ————- Almeida 43′, Marin 47′
2 – Tottenham Hotspur (ENG) —— own goal 12′, Crouch 18′
Home-standing WERDER BREMEN went behind two goals inside the first twenty minutes but rallied to score two minutes before and after the halftime whistle to split the points with TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR in the first round of Group A play for the UEFA Champions League.
The visitors took the lead in the 12th minute when Werder Bremen’s Finland international defender PETRI PASANEN put the cross of Wales international midfielder GARETH BALE into his own net; England World Cup striker PETER CROUCH headed home the cross of Dutch World Cup midfielder RAFAEL VAN DER WAART, the former SV Hamburg hired gun, to double Tottenham Hotspur’s advantage six minutes later.
Werder Bremen coach THOMAS SCHAAF switched midfielder PHILIPP BARGFREDE for Germany international winger AARON HUNT in the 37th minute, however, and the move seemed to have an effect.
In the 43rd minute, Portugal World Cup forward HUGO ALMEIDA beat a pair of Tottenham Hotspur defenders to head in the notable cross of Werder Bremen’s new Brazilian midfielder WESLEY, a summer signing from FC Santos, and halve the home side’s deficit.
Not long after the restart, 21-year-old Germany international midfielder MARKO MARIN skipped a right-footed drive past Tottenham Hotspur’s veteran Italian goalkeeper CARLO CUDICINI to level the match for Werder Bremen.
Hunt had a late chance to win it for Werder Bremen, but blasted his shot straight at the Tottenham keeper.
Cudicini, who had four saves on the night, made his third consecutive start in all competitions for the London-based club against Werder Bremen; the 37-year-old long-time Chelsea shot-stopper had replaced the injured Brazil international goalkeeper GOMES at halftime in the second leg of Tottenham Hotspur’s playoff tie with Swiss club Young Boys Berne.
Both sides were missing a key player not only up front, but in the back, as well.
Tottenham Hotspur were without defender MICHAEL DAWSON and striker JERMAINE DEFOE, a pair from England’s World Cup expedition to South Africa this summer who were both felled on international duty in the European Championships for England this fall.
Meanwhile, on the shelf for Werder Bremen were World Cup defender PER MERTESACKER, who fractured his eye socket in Germany’s European Championship qualifier with Azerbaijan last week, and Peru international attacker CLAUDIO PIZARRO, who is carrying a thigh injury.
WERDER BREMEN : Wiese – Fritz, Pasanen, Proedl, Silvestre – Frings – Bargfrede (Hunt 37′), Marin, Wesley (Borowski 67′) – Arnautovic, Almeida (Wagner 79′)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : Cudicini – Corluka, Kaboul, King, Assou Ekotto – Huddlestone – Lennon (Palacios 76′), Jenas, Bale, van der Waart (Keane 49′) – Crouch
Almeida’s header just before halftime lifted Werder Bremen back into the Champions League Group A match with Tottenham Hotspur at the Weserstadion. (Reuters photo)
Portugal World Cup forward HUGO ALMEIDA (23) celebrates his first goal in the Champions League this term for Werder Bremen with veteran France international defender MIKAEL SILVESTRE (16), a recent arrival to the Hanseatic city club from FC Arsenal in London. (Reuters photo)