Champions League: 5 Reasons Why Werder Bremen Will Be Too Strong for Tottenham
Champions League: It’s a battlefield where the football giants have proved their mettle and the minnows have tested their fortitude.
It is a platform where the ordinary football players have showcased their skills to attain the stardom, and some football gods and idols have dug the graveyard of their shattered dreams.
Champions League—an epitome of club Football—is back again.
Both teams play attacking football. This match will be all about the goals.
But I think Werder have a little bit of an edge over Spurs here.
Reason 1: “Champions League Experience”
The fact that Tottenham Hotspur has never been in the Champions League will play a big part in their fortitude being tested.
We could already see the cracks in the team when they played Champions League group-stage qualifying matches followed by a Premier League match. They are not used to playing two high-tempo games in one week.
However, Werder has done this “dirty job” for past seven years consecutively, including last year’s Europa League run, where they reached Quarter-Finals.
Looking at at how both teams qualified, who they were up against, and what results they ground out of their opposition, it is clear what Champions League experience means.
Spurs took on Swiss minnows Young Boys and won 6-3 on aggregate.
Werder did it the hard way.
They were up against Italian team Sampdoria and ground out an unbelievable second leg at Stadio Luigi Ferrais, winning the group-stage qualification by 5-4 aggregate.
Surely the Champions League experience is much bigger for Werder and they would rely on it to produce some stellar result against the Spurs.
Reason 2: “Champions League Formation”
Werder Bremen have nothing to worry about in this department. Their formation is of Champions League standard. They play 4-1-2-1-2 in a diamond ring formation.
And when they start with Marko Marin, they can manipulate the shape into such odd formations as to leave opposing teams dumbfounded.
Otherwise, they play a standard diamond formation with one striker just behind the other main striker, which gives them an option of playing an attacking midfielder—usually Aaron Hunt—behind the main striker.
On the other side, Harry Redknapp played all his last season on 4-4-2. He is an intelligent person, and he knows it that it won’t work at the bigger platforms.
For Harry Redknapp it will be the test of tinkering while for Thomas Schaaf it will be the usual business.
It is yet to be seen whether Spurs players will adapt to the sudden change in tactics or if they'll fumble, but they have got a talented and versatile squad at their disposal that can make things happen.
In van der Vaart they've got a gem. He can play easily behind one striker and can run the business on his own. He will be a confidence boost as well, since when he was plying his trade in Bundesliga, he scored his most goals against Werder Bremen.
Werder Bremen have a weapon in Fritz who, like Gareth Bale, likes to come on the wing from his full-back position.
There will probably be a real battle between these two. Fritz is a right-back, so there will be a lot of talking going on between him and Bale down the wing.
In this case, Werder have an advantage in that they are used to their formation and have only those players who fit well in their system.
Reason 3: “Champions League Home Advantage”
In Werder’s last three European home matches they have managed to score 3+ goals.
It’s a known German fact: at home, Werder are ruthless. They play more openly at home and take full advantage of their home support.
Another well-known German fact is that, whether you are world-beaters Bayern Munich or unknown FC St. Pauli, the stadiums will always be sold out week in and week out, whether your team is playing a title match or a pointless “David vs. Goliath” match.
It will be a great advantage for Werder to start their campaign at home, and to demonstrate that they mean business by pulling off an impressive win.
Last season, both teams lost three home matches in their respective leagues, but in away games Werder lost only four while the Spurs lost seven.
Reason 4: “Midfield Engine”
The midfield of Werder is run by ever-present Thorsten Frings, the captain of the team. He is a no-nonsense, disciplined midfielder who runs the midfield very sharply. He is aided by Borowski who provides a link between defence and attack.
Marko Marin has been a sensational revelation, and in the likes of Arnautović and Hunt they have got two exploding renegades who can be relied upon.
Another youngster, Philip Bargfrede, has improved his game, and is improving his mental toughness in big games. And Wesley, a new addition, looks to be a promising signing and showed some glimpses of creativity in his debut against Bayern Munich last Saturday.
I have always advocated that a blend of youth with veterans is intimidating. Werder's youthful attackers along with mature defenders bonds the team in an unbreakable unit.
Marko Marin, Aaron Hunt, and Marko Arnautović are some of the brightest attacking young talents in Bundesliga. With Thorsten Frings and Tim Borowski in the midfield, the team has a balanced midfield engine.
Reason 5: “Werder’s injuries are meaningless compared to Spurs’”
Both teams are hit with an injury plague. Tottenham Hotspur will be missing their goalie Gomez, inspirational centre-back Dawson, midfield maestro Modrić, and goal-scoring machine Defoe.
Werder Bremen have three players doubtful; first choice centre-backs Per Mertesacker and Naldo along with the main striker Claudio Pizarro.
But considering Werder Bremen were missing those three players in their match at Allianz Arena against Bayern Munich, yet still drew the game 0-0, one may conclude that injuries are not a major concern for Thomas Schaaf.
Werder Bremen’s new signing, 33-year-old Silvestre, contained Bayern Munich along with second choice centre back Sebastian Prödl. The pair helped keep at bay a side that consisted of all first-team players.
It was the birthday of Bayern Munich's chairman Backenbaeur, and the team wanted to give him a present, but it was Schaaf’s injury-weakened side that left the bitter taste in his mouth.
The absence of their first-choice centre-backs is not a big issue. Let’s face it: Werder Bremen have never been called a tough defensive side. Their weapon is their midfield and flair.
Obviously, in football, nobody can predict what will happen when passion collides with passion. We have witnessed destruction done to football giants by ambition-driven minnows.
Werder Bremen and Tottenham Hotspur are not different teams to each other. Both teams have a balanced squad, versatility, creativity in the middle, and great managers.
One moment of genius by one Tottenham Hotspur player can burn all these reasons into ashes.
The Champions League is always unpredictable. But admirers of this game will always try - so here's one more from me: the Spurs won't stand a chance.
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