How Tottenham lined up in their first ever Champions League game with Bale on the wing and Crouch up topMay 31, 2022
TOTTENHAM are back in the Champions League for the 2022-23 season.
After an horrendous start to the most-recent Premier League season, Antonio Conte masterminded a late charge up the standings.
Spurs overtook West Ham, Manchester United and fierce rivals Arsenal to snatch the fourth and final Champions League spot for next term.
It ends a two-year absence for Tottenham after a year apiece in the Europa League and Europa Conference League.
Last term, Spurs incredibly crashed out of Europe's third tier competition after an abysmal group stage campaign.
But now they're back in the big time – and have been confirmed in the SECOND pot of seeds in a major boost to their hopes of reaching the knockout stages.
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Most-recently, Spurs lost 4-0 on aggregate in the last 16 of Europe's elite competition at the hands of RB Leipzig the season after their final defeat against Liverpool.
But their FIRST-EVER season in the Champions League came back in the 2010-11.
That year, Tottenham joined Inter Milan, Werder Bremen and FC Twente in the group stages.
Their first match came against Bremen, with Spurs throwing away a two-goal lead in Germany to draw 2-2.
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And it's fair to say a lot has changed in their starting team in the 12 years since.
Ex-Chelsea star Carlo Cudicini played between the sticks behind club legend Ledley King.
Vedran Corluka, Younes Kaboul and Benoit Assou-Ekotto joined King in a back four.
Jermaine Jenas and Tom Huddlestone patrolled the pitch just in front of the defenders with Rafael van der Vaart playing in a roaming No10 role.
Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale – fresh from his FIFTH Champions League trophy victory – occupied the two wing spots with Peter Crouch leading the line in attack.
A Petri Pasanen own goal gave Spurs a dream start to their debut Champions League campaign before Crouch made it 2-0 just seven minutes later.
But Bremen – featuring ex-West Ham forward Marko Arnautovic – brought Tottenham back down to earth with a bump.
The Bundesliga side scored two goals in four minutes either side of half time to peg Spurs back.
Harry Redknapp brought on Robbie Keane for Van der Vaart and Wilson Palacios for Lennon in a bid to snatch all three points, but the game ended as a draw.
Tottenham won all three of their home matches in the group – including a 3-0 win over Bremen in the return fixture – but failed to win away.
But it was still enough to finish top of Group A ahead of Inter Milan to reach the last 16.
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Spurs won a nervy last 16 clash with AC Milan 1-0 on aggregate but were thumped 5-0 against Real Madrid in the quarter-finals to crash out of the competition.
Tottenham wouldn't return to the competition for another six years.
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