Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Spurs Must Silence 'The German Messi' to Qualify

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Spurs Must Silence 'The German Messi' to Qualify

Article excerpt

Byline: James Olley Chief Football Correspondent

OF ALL the obstacles that have stood between Tottenham and a place in the Champions League knockout stages, Werder Bremen's Marko Marin is physically the most sleight and yet one of the most difficult.

Standing just 5ft 7in, Marin is a diminutive talent whose performance in the first meeting between these sides provided a harsh lesson in adjusting to life at Europe's top table. Having nullified his threat operating in a central position in the first half, Spurs opened up a two-goal lead only to be hauled back by a Marin-inspired comeback.

Werder Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf switched Marin to the left flank where he dictated play, ultimately cutting inside and rifling an equaliser to earn the German side a 2-2 draw.

Spurs have come an awfully long way since that September evening and tonight stand on the brink of qualification from Group A against a Bremen side savagely ripped apart by injury and poor form.

Yet Marin remains free of both. The 21-year-old has attracted interest from a number of clubs, including Arsenal, which makes sense given his profile as a skillful and highly technical player capable of the brilliantly unpredictable, mirroring that of several individuals at Emirates Stadium.

Spurs did an impressive job in restricting the Gunners during their second-half reversal of fortune in Saturday's derby and will need to contain Marin in similar fashion to progress into the knockout stages.

"I watched him in the week for Germany and he is very good," midfielder Jermaine Jenas told Standard Sport.

"He is like Arshavin or Luka Modric for us -- a creative player with a very low centre of gravity which makes him hard to get around. I thought we did well to stifle him in the first game over there, especially in the first half.

"He came more into it in the second half and got his goal. But these are things the manager is aware of and he will make sure we are fully briefed before going into the game."

Harry Redknapp is certainly aware of Marin, who was born in Bosnia and was just two when his family moved to Germany. …

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