Spurs pegged back by Bremen

BREMEN - Werder Bremen taught Champions League newcomers Tottenham Hotspur a harsh lesson when they fought back from 2-0 down to snatch a well deserved 2-2 draw in their opening Champions League Group A match on Tuesday.

On a rainy evening in Bremen, the hosts struck either side of half-time through Hugo Almeida and inspirational Marko Marin to cancel out Tottenham's early advantage maintain their reputation as European comeback specialists.

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The visitors, playing their first ever Champions League group match, stormed into the lead when Gareth Bale cut the ball back into the box only to see central defender Petri Pasanen slide in for an own goal as striker Peter Crouch was waiting to tap it in.

With William Gallas on the bench and Croatian Luka Modric not in Harry Redknapp's squad despite being declared fit to travel with the team, Tottenham looked to be in complete control when they added a second goal six minutes later.

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Crouch rose high above Pasanen, who along with Sebastian Proedl replaced injured central defenders Naldo and Per Mertesacker, to head in a Rafael van der Vaart cross in the 18th minute.

With the home fans jeering their own players, Tottenham should have added a third through Bale's shot on the half hour but goalkeeper Tim Wiese was on hand to rescue Werder, badly missing key striker Claudio Pizarro

"We were so passive and we allowed everything to happen," said Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf. "We were not in the game early on and we just did not take the initiative."


But the hosts, who have built a reputation for memorable European comebacks, managed to cut the deficit late in the first half when Portuguese Almeida caught two Tottenham defenders napping to sneak into the box and head in a Wesley cross.

They then picked up where they had left off before the break and seconds after the restart Marko Arnautovic squandered a gold opportunity to level from close range.

With nerves getting the better of Tottenham's players, Germany international Marin quickly made amends for Arnautovic's miss with a fine solo effort at the edge of the box that left his marker frozen before releasing an unstoppable shot for the equaliser.

"We knew Bremen would be a team that would fight. But we were unlucky to concede that first Bremen goal late in the half," said Van der Vaart. "That turned things because we had really played a good first half."

Bremen then missed several clear chances through Hunt, Almeida and Marin to go ahead.

Spurs could have snatched victory three minutes from time when Crouch failed to slot home with only Wiese to beat but they will be relieved to go home with a point 48 years after their last appearance in the European Cup when they reached the semi-finals.

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