Tottenham Hotspur went marching on tonight into the UEFA Champions League knockout stage as their fairytale first season in the competition continued with a thumping win over Werder Bremen.
Spurs easily sealed qualification from Group A with a game to spare, a truly remarkable achievement for a side whose last campaign among
They may be very much wild-cards when it comes to the knockout stage but no-one will want to come to White Hart Lane and face the likes of
"It's a great achievement but obviously we don't want to rest on that. We want to go out and give a good account of ourselves in the next round," Tottenham's Peter Crouch told Sky Sports after the match.
"It's massive," Crouch said of his team's qualification into the final 16. "Every big club wants to be in the Champions League, playing against the best teams in the world. We haven't looked out of place at all."
Tottenham could have been forgiven for starting cautiously in the absence of injured talisman
Schmidt, one of two debutants in an injury-ravaged Bremen team, tried to make amends when he glanced
Spurs provided a hint as to why they had not kept a clean sheet for three months when last man Lennon presented the ball to the dangerous
Having scored four, four and three in their three previous Champions League home games, it appeared a matter of how many Spurs would rack up in the second half. Their first chance came when Prodl was cautioned for felling the flying Lennon and Bale sent a 51st-minute free-kick against the bar. The winger then produced a sensational cross for Crouch, whose point-blank header somehow hit Prodl and ricocheted behind.
Moments later, Tottenham were awarded the softest of penalties when debutant
Defoe quickly showed his two-month injury lay-off had cost him none of his pace, the England striker racing onto Modric's ball and firing a fierce shot Wiese did well to parry. And if new captain
Tottenham showed no sign of sitting back, with several crosses going begging and Bale drilling inches wide after being found by Defoe. They finally got the third goal their dominance deserved 11 minutes from time when Bale's cross hit the bar and Lennon cut back the rebound for Crouch to steer home. Bale was soon withdrawn for Niko Kranjcar to a deserved standing ovation and a rest ahead of bigger tests to come.