Spurs complete European surprise
Tottenham reached the second round of the Champions League in its first season in the tournament with a 3-0 win over Werder Bremen on Wednesday.
Younes Kaboul and Luka Modric scored in the first half at White Hart Lane before Peter Crouch added the third in the 79th minute to secure progress even before the final group match at FC Twente on Dec. 7.
Tottenham could have scored even more. Bremen goalkeeper Tim Wiese also saved a penalty by Gareth Bale and a fierce shot by Jermain Defoe, while Bale shot narrowly wide and twice hit the bar.
A place among the final 16 teams will further boost Tottenham's profile and finances. Teams in last season's tournament were awarded an additional €3 million on top of what they had already earned just for making it past the group stage.
"It's a great achievement," Crouch said. "It was a great team performance throughout the Champions League campaign. We have played very well and deserve to go through.
"Every big club wants to be in the Champions League playing against the best teams in the world. We want to get as far as we can for the fans and for us as well."
Even with Rafael van der Vaart out injured and Jermain Defoe on the bench until the 57th minute, Tottenham had too much firepower for a Bremen side that was eliminated with the loss.
"They have very good individual players and everything seems to be harmonizing well in the team," Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf said. "They have everything you need to progress as far as possible. Things look good. They could go very far."
The win took Tottenham's unbeaten home record in Europe against German teams to seven matches and gives it a shot of topping Group A ahead of defending champion Inter Milan, which should mean an easier opponent in the Dec. 17 draw for the next round.
Bremen's sixth loss from seven matches and fifth straight match without scoring means the injury-hit German side cannot even finish in third place for a spot in the less prestigious Europa League - putting pressure on Schaaf.
"I am concentrating only on my team and not things over which I have no control," Schaaf said.
Central defender Kaboul started the match where he left off in the Premier League on Saturday. Having scored an 85th-minute header to secure a 3-2 win and first victory at Arsenal for 17 years, Kaboul got his second goal since returning to Tottenham in January.
Bremen only half-cleared a corner kick and the ball was played back up to Aaron Lennon on the right corner of the area. The winger pushed the ball past a defender and crossed low from the edge of the box to Kaboul, who, having stayed forward following the corner, dropped off Bremen's defense to find space and side-foot in a first-time finish.
Although Tottenham then lost midfielder Jermaine Jenas to injury in the 20th, the home side stayed on top. Pavlyuchenko was off target with two chances, one set up by Peter Crouch's knock down and the other from a cross by Lennon after the winger had comprehensively beaten Sebastian Proedl.
In injury time at the end of the first half, Crouch called for a deep cross from rightback Alan Hutton. The ball came over and Crouch headed it back to Modric near the penalty spot, where the Croatia playmaker dragged it inside Proedl with his left leg and knocked it in at the near post with his right.
Bale, whose performances against Inter Milan mean that Tottenham will finish ahead of the Italian side on head-to-head results if the teams are tied on points, curled a 51st-minute free kick onto the bar and almost straight after crossed for Crouch at the far post - only for the England striker's effort to be blocked.
Wiese stopped Bale's penalty kick down the middle following Felix Kroos' trip on Modric and pushed Defoe's shot from the edge of the are past the post, but was beaten by Bale's next effort, which bounced off the bar. The ball broke to Lennon and he picked out Crouch for a close-range finish that completed the scoring.
"We scored three goals and could have scored more so we are happy," Modric said. "We showed we can compete in the Champions League."