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Page last updated at 21:14 GMT, Tuesday, 14 September 2010 22:14 UK

Tuesday football as it happened


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By Chris Bevan

2214: And that's a wrap for tonight. Right at the start of play I told you the Champions League was back with a bang, and (apart from at Old Trafford) it certainly was. Thanks for keeping me company during an entertaining night in Europe and the Championship, and I'll see you again tomorrow night - when Chelsea and Arsenal are both in action as Groups E, F, G and H get started. I can't wait...

2208: Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson on a frustrating night for his side: "Rangers set their stall out to defend and play on the counter-attack, and you have to respect that. They came knowing what they wanted to do and they did it well. Our final ball wasn't good enough to get three points. "

From Stuie in Lincoln , via text: "I can hear the United fans making their excuses already. But THAT is a result for the Gers. Any means necessary."

fuzel07 on Twitter: "Would Sir Alex Ferguson make 10 changes against Liverpool now?"

I suspect he might do something like that... Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney and Darren Fletcher should play, but I'm not sure about the rest of them.

2201: Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp on his side's draw with Bremen after leading 2-0: "That first 42 minutes or so was the best you could ever see us play. We passed the ball and opened them up time and time again. But then we conceded a bad goal which suddenly bought them back into the game. At 2-1 it gave them a massive lift and they got the early goal in the second half. But we had our chances with Gareth Bale and Peter Crouch at the end and overall it was an excellent performance."

2159: I should add that Valencia injury is a suspected dislocation and fracture of his ankle. I'll let you know if I get any updates on that one.

dw_taylor on Twitter: "A great European start for Spurs. Like a new father when his child takes first step. Then falls over, mixed emotions!"

2157: Here's some news on injured Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia, and it's not good. Sir Alex Ferguson says he has gone to hospital with a suspected dislocation and a fracture of his ankle and explained: "It looks a bad one and it will keep him out for a long time."

2155: The final game in the Championship has just finished - with Palace beating Portsmouth 4-1, to leave Pompey bottom of the table with two points from six games.

jambags38 on Twitter: "McGregor didn't really have a save to make. What does that say about Utd's performance? Great point for Rangers."

2151: Rangers' 40-year-old defender David Weir on his side's 0-0 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford: "It was a difficult game for us, this is a hard place to come at any time and we're delighted to come away with point. You have to respect them and counter qualities - we were very defensive but that's how we had to be and we came away with a point. This is a start but last season we began our Champions League campaign with a point so, although this is a difficult place to come, we know there is a lot more work to be done."

2149: That draw for Rafa Benitez's men means it is all-square in Group A, with all four teams on a point apiece. Valencia's 4-0 win over Bursapor means they top Group C, where United and Rangers are obviously both off the mark too.

2148: Another crazy night in the Champions League too, with 22 goals in eight matches and holders Inter Milan held by debutants FC Twente.

Championship Macca: "Palace vs Pompey still going (4-1 to the hosts), but full-time elsewhere. Big 3-0 win for QPR as they hand a first defeat of the season to Ipswich. Cardiff also lose their unblemished record as Leicester win for the first time. Forest get an opening victory of the season as well by winning at Preston. James Coppinger completed his hat-trick late on as Doncaster won 3-1 against Norwich, Scunthorpe won 4-0 at Sheff Utd, Middlesbrough got a late winner against Burnley and Barnsley thumped Leeds 5-2. Another crazy night in the Champo."

2147: BBC Sport's Martin Richardson at the Weserstadion: "A result all Spurs fans would have taken - but a tinge of disappointment having led by two goals - all in all, an encouraging debut."

2143: BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Rangers fans elated after that show of defensive defiance earns them a point. Manchester United may have Liverpool on Sunday, but how that game cried out for the subtlety of Dimitar Berbatov and Paul Scholes. All the tactical honours go to Walter Smith."

2142: Well, it promised to be an even better night for Spurs at one point, but a point in Germany on their full Champions League debut is still something to smile about. As for United and Rangers? The Scottish side got what they came for - a point - but Sir Alex may well regret what appeared a slightly strange team selection. They just could not break Walter Smith's men down.

Full time
2138: FULL-TIME Man Utd 0-0 Rangers

2137: FULL-TIME Werder Bremen 2-2 Tottenham

2136: It's still all United in terms of possession at Old Trafford but they cannot buy a clear opening for love nor money.

2135: Gareth Bale is brought down as he embarks on another run down the left. That's a free-kick for Spurs, about 30 yards out. Younes Kaboul takes it... and hammers the ball straight into the Werder wall.

Champions League Stevo: "We have a goal in every game (apart from Old Trafford) and that's official. It's a surprise one, too, as Danes FC Copenhagen take an 87th-minute 1-0 lead against Rubin Kazan thanks to Dame Ndoye. Time running out across Europe now."

2133: Three minutes of injury time for Spurs and Werder Bremen at the Weserstadion. Time for a winner?

Championship Macca: "They are going to be dancing in the streets around Oakwell tonight. Barnsley lead Leeds 5-1 now thanks to a Neil Collins og and Adam Hammill. Lewis McGugan has a second as Forest have come from behind to lead Preston 2-1. Boro have levelled at home to Burnley and Hull are 2-0 ahead at home to Derby. Time running out."

2133: We will have six minutes of added time at Old Trafford, mainly because of that nasty Antonio Valencia injury. Rangers are still hanging on at 0-0.

2132: It's still wide open in Bremen. Peter Crouch latches on to a dinked Wilson Palacios ball and beats the offside trap before scuffing his shot wide. At the other end, Aaron Hunt has a crack and brings a decent stop from Carlo Cudicini. Who wants to win it the most?

alantaylor69 on Twitter: "Tactics spot on by Walter. Rangers have been the equal of United tonight and could still snatch it..."

From Rory in London via text: "I love this suggestion from some fans that Rangers should attack. Why? They know they're the much weaker side here and are only playing for a draw. Poor tactics? More like sensible ones."

2126: Darron Gibson tries his luck yet again for Manchester United... but again is narrowly off target - this time, his scorching shot flies over the bar.

2125: So unlucky for Spurs. Gareth Bale takes on Torsten Frings again, and slides a perfect cross across the face of goal. It beats the Werder keeper Tim Wiese but takes the slightest of touches off a defender and is deflected away from Peter Crouch, who was waiting to tap it in at the far post.

More from Champions League Stevo too: "Bursaspor have been handed a drubbing on their Champo Lge debut, with Roberto Soldado bagging Valencia's fourth as the Spanish side run riot in Turkey. Good day for teams from the World Cup-winning country, as Pedro gets Barcelona's fourth at home to Panathinaikos. Seems a long time ago that the Greeks took the lead now."

More from Championship Macca: "Can anyone or anything stop Neil Warnock's all-conquering QPR side? Doesn't look like Roy Keane's previously very handy Ipswich outfit will. A Heidar Helguson penalty has put the super Hoops 3-0 up at Portman Road. QPR look like going three points clear. Hats off to Palace and their three-goal hero James Vaughan as well. They are 3-1 up against Pompey now."

2121: Time is running out for Manchester United if they are going to get a winner against Rangers. Darren Fletcher just had a sight of goal, but was eventually crowded out inside the penalty area.

Championship Macca: "It all went a bit quiet for a while over there in the Champs Lge, but it's all happening in the Champo. Winless Leicester have come from behind to go 2-1 up against unbeaten Cardiff, struggling Middlesbrough are trailing at home to Burnley, Barnsley now lead 3-1 at home to Leeds, Forest have levelled at Preston and Palace are 2-1 up against basement club Pompey. Raise your game Euro giants."

Champions League Stevo: "Hello, goals. Valencia have put Bursaspor away, Pablo Hernandez putting the Spaniards 3-0 ahead at the Ataturk Stadium, while Benfica have doubled their lead at home to Hapoel thanks to Oscar Cardozo's effort. FC Copenhagen-Rubin Kazan remains steadfastly goalless."

2120: BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Old Trafford still clearly coming to terms with that awful injury to Antonio Valencia. Ryan Giggs is on as substitute in such unfortunate circumstances, but Manchester United may need his guile as time goes on. Rangers are hardly throwing the kitchen sink at United, but at least they are now venturing into the attacking third of the field on occasions."

2119: Spurs make a change too, with Wilson Palacios on for Aaron Lennon as Harry Redknapp looks to tighten things up in the final 15 minutes.

2118: Another change by Sir Alex Ferguson. The Manchester United boss replaces Park Ji-Sung with Michael Owen.

2116: Aaron Hunt twists and turns to create some space in the Spurs box but ends up slicing his shot high and wide.

2115: About 20 minutes left at Old Trafford and in Bremen - and level pegging in both games. Rangers have not done much in the way of attacking tonight but they have just had a big shout for a penalty when Kirk Broadfoot went down in the box under a clumsy-looking challenge by Chris Smalling. Nothing given.

OriginalJnr_ on Twitter: "Absolutely poor tactics from Rangers. They should be out attacking otherwise they don't deserve to be here."

2112: BBC Sport's Martin Richardson at the Weserstadion: "Tottenham are no longer keeping the ball well enough - a complete transformation from the first half."

2110: The Bremen fans have turned up the volume at the Weserstadion, where the game is finely-balanced. Spurs are still seeing quite a bit of the ball but it's Werder who have just gone closest to taking the lead, with that man Marko Marin taking on Vedran Corluka again... and seeing his shot fizz a fraction wide of Carlo Cudicini's post.

From Dan, Everton fan, via text: "I knew Spurs would struggle against decent opposition, they struggled away to Young BOYS now they're up against Werder BreMEN! Boom boom!"

Champions League Stevo: "Goals at a premium in Europe in the second half - so much so that Barca's Lionel Messi has wasted a chance to complete his hat-trick against Panathinaikos by missing a penalty. Inter are still being held 2-2 at FC Twente, but they've had striker Goran Pandev stretchered off."

Championship Macca: "Barnsley have turned around their Yorkshire (apologies for the earlier geographical slip) derby at home to Leeds, with Jim O'Brien putting them 2-1 ahead at home to Leeds four minutes after the break. Leicester have levelled at home to Cardiff, while Doncaster (v Norwich) and Watford (at Bristol C) have gone 2-0 up. Cov have pulled one back at Swansea, now trailing 2-1."

2105: Kirk Broadfoot was the Rangers player who tackled Antonio Valencia, but it didn't look a dangerous challenge. There was no angry reaction from any United players either, just the sort of dazed expressions that tell you someone has picked up a nasty injury. Fingers crossed Valencia will be OK.

2102: Ryan Giggs is coming on for Manchester United, or at least he will be. Valencia is still down, and still getting treatment as they prepare to stretcher him off.

2100: A bad night for Manchester United just got worse. A really nasty injury for their winger Antonio Valencia by the looks of things. A broken ankle, I think.

2059: Another chance for Werder. Torsten Frings frees Hugo Almeida with a peach of a volleyed pass and Almeida holds off Younes Kaboul but cannot keep his shot down.

2058: Tottenham are still looking dangerous when they come forward, especially when Gareth Bale is on the ball. He has just curled in a cross meant for Peter Crouch at the far post but Tim Wiese is off his line to collect.

2057: It's all very exciting in Bremen. Less so at Old Trafford, where Rangers are still defending in depth and in numbers. It's a tactic that is working well.

jonleesmith on Twitter: "Welcome to the Champions League Spurs."

2052: An instant reaction by Harry Redknapp after seeing his side lose their two-goal lead. Robbie Keane is on for Rafael van der Vaart, who has a calf strain.

Werder Bremen goal: Oh dear. Spurs started the second half in the same way they ended the first... by conceding. Vedran Corluka and the rest of the Spurs defence back off as Marko Marin advances to the edge of the area, and he has time and space to pick his spot with a wicked curling shot into the corner of the net.

2051: GOALFLASH Werder Bremen 2-2 Tottenham (Marin)

2050: Chances in Manchester and Bremen. First, United midfielder Darron Gibson smashes in a volley from the edge of the area that flies just wide. Over in Bremen, the home side also start the second half well and Aaron Hunt sees his shot tipped over by Carlo Cudicini.

2048: We're back under way at Old Trafford, and Wayne Rooney is fit enough to carry on. Spurs have been keeping Bremen waiting... but here they come now.

2047: The pitch at the Weserstadion cut up pretty badly in the first half and an army of men with pitchforks have been working their magic on it in the half-time break.

Werder Bremen 1-2 Tottenham
Pranav Soneji's half-time snap-shot: "For 45 minutes and 58 seconds, Spurs completely dominated a dishevelled Bremen - but two seconds of indecision and Harry Redknapp's half-time team-talk won't be quite as effusive as it really should be."

Pat Nevin at Old Trafford on BBC Radio 5 live: "Rangers will be absolutely delighted at half-time. Walter Smith's men came to Old Trafford with a gameplan to frustrate United and so far it has worked perfectly. They'll hope to keep it up, but United will have other ideas and I'm sure they'll throw everything at their opponents in the second half. Sir Alex may have to change it around and one of those changes could be Rooney, depending on the severity of his ankle problem."

mUtEl0_PR on Twitter: "What is Sir Alex playing at, our next game is Sunday, so why rest Berba & Nani, is he punishing them for the Everton game?"

2042: BBC Sport's Martin Richardson at the Weserstadion: "Cheap goal for Bremen - let's see if Spurs' nerves can take it in the second half."

2040: No news of Wayne Rooney's ankle at the moment. We'll have to wait and see whether he emerges for the second half.

2039: Right, who is happier at the moment? Rangers fans or Spurs supporters? Two pretty unlikely scorelines at the moment at Old Trafford and the Weserstadion. Tottenham have been completely on top, but that Hugo Almeida goal might make the second half a bit more fraught for Spurs fans.

Derbtastic on Twitter: "Note to Spurs - batten down the hatches. You're away from home in the Champions League and stranger things have happened."

Championship Macca: "Leaders QPR are on the march. Jamie Mackie has grabbed two goals as Neil Warnock's high-flyers lead 2-0 at Ipswich. Scunthorpe also lead, 1-0 at Sheff Utd, Preston are 1-0 up against Nottingham Forest, Hull are beating Derby by a single goal and it's Crystal Palace 1-1 Portsmouth and Barnsley 1-1 Leeds."

Pat Nevin at Old Trafford on BBC Radio 5 live: "I'm absolutely stunned by Antonio Valencia's ineffectiveness tonight. This is a big chance for him but he's done nothing and doesn't look particularly interested either."

Champions League Stevo: "What a game in the Netherlands - Inter have levelled it at 2-2 with FC Twente, Samuel Eto'o netting his 20th Champo Lge goal. Valencia have doubled their advantage to go 2-0 up at Bursaspor thanks to Aritz Aduriz, while Lyon, who lead Schalke 1-0, have had Benedikt Howedes sent off for a professional foul. That man Lionel Messi is at it again this season - he's bagged a second and Barca lead Panathinaikos 3-1 at the break."

2033 BBC Sport's Phil McNulty's half-time snap-shot at Old Trafford: "Manchester United's attack against the Rangers defence - and the defence is on top. Sir Alex Ferguson will know one goal will change the whole tactical landscape at Old Trafford, but it may take some getting against a rearguard well-drilled by Walter Smith."

Half time
2032: HALF-TIME Man Utd 0-0 Rangers

2032: HALF-TIME Werder Bremen 1-2 Tottenham

2031: Wayne Rooney seems to be OK, and should make it to half-time. It's not been United's night so far, though, and their evening has just been summed up by a dreadful cross by Antonio Valencia.

Werder Bremen goal: Wesley hoists over a useful cross from the left and Hugo Almeida gets between Ledley King and Benoit Assou-Ekotto to flick home a header. Carlo Cudicini stayed on his line but I'm not sure he could have done too much about it. We've got a game on our hands now.

2028: GOALFLASH Werder Bremen 1-2 Tottenham (Almeida)

2028: Bad news for Manchester United. Wayne Rooney has turned his ankle, and is limping badly.

2027: Torsten Frings gives the ball to Rafael van der Vaart about 30 yards from goal. The Dutchman fancies his chances from range, but his shot rises over the bar. About five minutes to go until half-time, and Spurs are still well in control of this one.

Pat Nevin at Old Trafford on BBC Radio 5 live: "Manchester United are faced with two walls of four and they're not finding it easy to get through. Rangers aren't stupid - remember, this is the team that reached the Uefa Cup final two years ago. One breakthrough would make all the difference because Rangers would then have to come out, but at the moment the apprentice - Walter Smith - is beating the sorcerer - Sir Alex Ferguson. Rangers set out with a gameplan and, so far, it's working."

2024: The Hunt is on in Bremen. That's Aaaron Hunt by the way, who replaces Philipp Bargfrede for Werder. The home fans aren't happy with what they have seen so far - lots of booing and whistling at the Weserstadion.

Champions League Stevo: "My word. FC Twente have only gone 2-1 ahead against the holders - and it was Inter striker Diego Milito (the 2009/10 Uefa Champions League Striker of the Season) who got all muddled up as he headed into his own net. Barca have also overturned a 1-0 deficit to lead, with David Villa putting them 2-1 up on Panathinaikos. Oh, and how remiss of me. That Anderson Luisao goal for Benfica was the 5,000th in Champo Lge history."

2021: More pressure by Spurs, which ends with a rasping shot from the edge of the area that Bremen keeper Tim Wiese is happy to push away.

2020: BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Grim, attritional stuff here at Old Trafford as Manchester United try to break through the blue massed ranks of defenders assembled by Rangers in front of goalkeeper Allan McGregor. At least McGregor has company - poor old Kenny Miller might need a megaphone to get in touch with his team-mates, so isolated is he as Rangers' lone striker."

Championship Macca: "Good news for fans of Wales-based Championship clubs. Bad news for supporters of sides who consider home to be in the Midlands. Darren Pratley has put Swansea in front at home to Coventry, while Lee Naylor has done similarly for Cardiff at Leicester."

2019: Darron Gibson lets fly for United from about 25 yards out... and looks to the sky in frustration after seeing his shot fly just wide. This might be turning into a frustrating night for United.

gwhitta on Twitter: "And the Spurs go marching on! Haven't felt this good since Ossie's knees were going all trembly!"

2017: Gareth Bale is taking Clemens Fritz to the cleaners every time he gets the ball on the left. This time he goes for goal himself after sprinting into space, and forces Tim Wiese into a sprawling save. Bremen only just clear the loose ball before Rafael van der Vaart can reach it inside the area.

2014: Almost every time I look at the United-Rangers match, the Scottish side are defending in numbers on the edge of their own area... and just about crowding United out. It's not all one-way traffic at Old Trafford, but Sir Alex Ferguson's side are very much on top. It's still 0-0 though.

2012: BBC Sport's Martin Richardson at the Weserstadion: "Spurs fans in raptures in Bremen. What a start!"

Champions League Stevo: "Is the group stage boring? Hmm. Ask FC Twente, for whom Theo Janssen has just curled in a delicious 20-yard free-kick to level it at 1-1 against Inter. Ask Barcelona, who trailed at home to Panathinaikos and Sidney Govou's strike for all of two minutes at a stunned Camp Nou before Lionel Messi equalised. In other news, Lyon lead Schalke thanks to Nicolas Plestan's own goal and Anderson Luisao has put Benfica 1-0 up on Hapoel. Phew."

2010: Better from Bremen. Vedran Corluka loses the ball and Marko Anautovic bends in a cross from the right which Ledley King has to head behind. The corner is cleared, but the German side are soon coming forward again.

Pat Nevin at Old Trafford on BBC Radio 5 live: "Wayne Rooney is quite capable of putting the ball in the back of the net from there but he decided to lay it off to his young striker partner. He should've been more selfish."

From Spurs fan, via text: "I have been waiting for this day for so long. Spurs in the Champions League and we are showing what the rest of Europe has been missing out on."

2006: Wayne Rooney advances to the corner of the Rangers area but elects to cross rather than go for goal himself. The ball deflects off David Weir, and rolls to safety.

Champions League Stevo: "Only once have the Champions League holders lost their first match the following campaign and Inter Milan don't look like making it a pair tonight, as Wesley Sneijder puts them 1-0 up at FC Twente. Elsewhere, Turkish debutants Bursaspor trail early doors to Valencia - Facundo Costa has that goal."

Championship Macca: "A few early goals popping in in the Championship. Watford, who are without a win in the league since the opening day of the season, lead at Bristol City. Leeds are up to third in the as-it-stands table as they are 1-0 up at Barnsley, while Doncaster are sniffing around the as-it-stands play-off places thanks to their 1-0 scoreline at home to Norwich."

Spurs goal: It gets even better for Spurs. Rafael van der Vaart crosses from the left and Peter Crouch escapes Petri Pasanen to plant his header into the back of the net for their second goal of the night. Amazing.

2003: GOALFLASH Werder Bremen 0-2 Tottenham (Crouch)

2002: I don't want to tempt fate for any Spurs fans out there, but your team are bossing things in Bremen at the moment.

Pat Nevin at Old Trafford on BBC Radio 5 live: "I think Kenny Miller's going to take the phrase 'lone striker' to a whole new level tonight. He's a long, long way from any of his Rangers team-mates."

From Yankee Haggis, disgruntled Rangers fan in New York, via text: "Could Rangers get any more defensive? Was hoping Weiss would get a game. Rangers NIL goals tonight."

Spurs goal: What a start for Spurs. Gareth Bale escapes Torsten Frings down the left and his low cross is heading towards Peter Crouch before Werder's Finnish international Petri Pasanen slides in at the near post to divert it into his own net.

1957: GOALFLASH Werder Bremen 0-1 Tottenham (Pasanen og)

1956: From a long way out, Steven Davis curls in a free-kick for Rangers which David Weir gets a head on to in the United area... but the ball is easily collected by Tomasz Kuszczak. At the other end, Javier Hernandez heads just wide after Fabio sends over a decent cross from the left.

1954: With Vedran Corluka backing off him on the edge of the area, Wesley has a pop at goal... and sees his shot zip a few inches wide. I think Carlo Cudicini had it covered anyhow.

1953: Corner for Werder... which is only cleared as far as Marko Marin. He whips in an inswinging cross from the left of the area, but it flies straight through to Carlo Cudicini.

1950: Danger-man Marko Marin gets on the ball for the first time for Bremen, but his attempted through-ball towards Hugo Almeida is easily cut out. Over at Old Trafford, United are still camped in the Rangers half.

1948: United have started brightly too and are knocking the ball around nicely. Rangers have set their stall out very defensively, with Lee McCulloch sitting in front of the back four. Still very early days though...

1947: Tottenham play a bit of keep-ball to settle their nerves, before Aaron Lennon sprints past Mikael Silvestre down the right and sends over a cross that is eventually thumped wide by Tom Huddlestone. A good start by Spurs.

1945: We're under way at Old Trafford... and in Bremen too.

Stevetheposer on Twitter: "Good luck Spurs and Man U. Boy have I missed Champions League."

1942: Right then, the players are out on the pitch at Old Trafford and the Weserstadion. Time for your favourite theme tune... I know you've missed it.

1940: I should add that there are plenty of Spurs fans in Bremen too, and they seem to be enjoying themselves at the moment. Will it last?

AndySzpuk on Twitter: "Spurs line-up is a bit too adventurous I fear. I reckon Bremen could take them apart and dish up a spanking..."

1938: It looks like there is a cracking atmosphere at the Weserstadion in Bremen, which for the most part is a sea of green and white scarves. This is a decent introduction to proper Champions League football for Spurs, and it would be one heck of a result if they come away with the points tonight.

1934: Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson on why Rangers might be difficult to break down tonight: "I know more about Rangers than any other manager in Europe. Their temperament will be good, their commitment will be terrific, and their fitness is great. We will have to be aware of all of that."

1930: Hmmm. There seems to be a bit of difference of opinion from you lot over how 'weakened' this United line-up is. We will find out soon enough...

WiKeD_DeviL on Twitter: "Well I for one think that team selection is great by Fergie. Young, attacking side with points to prove. C'mon United!! 3-1"

From the whole struth and nothing but the struth, via text: "As a Gers fan think we will struggle against any Man Utd team at Old Trafford but I live in hope. There's always our secret weapon Vladimir Weiss."

Weiss is on the bench tonight but it will be good to see him come on at some stage. I was very impressed with how he did for Slovakia at the World Cup - always good to see a player who is willing to try to take on his man.

1918: Here's another stat for you from Infostrada Sports. Rangers defender David Weir becomes the seventh player aged 40+ to play in a Champions League match and the second oldest outfielder (aged 40 years and 127 days). AC Milan's Alessandro Costacurta was the oldest at 40 years and 211 days when he played against AEK Athens in November 2006.

TheFlorianK on Twitter: "Van der Vaart should be highly motivated for Spurs tonight as he knows Bremen from Bundesliga derbies with his former club Hamburg."

Man Utd v Rangers team news
Here's a bit more info on the sweeping changes made by Sir Alex Ferguson. The likes of Edwin van der Sar, Ryan Giggs and Jonny Evans drop to the bench and there is not even a place in the 18 for Nemanja Vidic, Dimitar Berbatov, Paul Scholes or Nani. Rio Ferdinand returns from injury to take the captains armband and partners Chris Smalling in central defence. Rangers make three changes from their weekend victory at Hamilton as James Beattie, Kyle Lafferty and the ineligible Nikica Jelavic are replaced by Lee McCulloch, Kenny Miller and a fit-again Steven Whittaker.

From Riquelminho on 606: "I think Sir Alex has confused the Champions League with the Carling Cup in his old age."

1912: BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Rangers may not know whether to feel insulted or encouraged by Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to make ten changes to the team that drew at Everton, with only Darren Fletcher surviving. As expected Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand return, with the latter taking the captain's armband. Kirk Broadfoot has recovered from the knock that forced him off at Hamilton on Saturday and takes his place in the Rangers side."

From 'Spurs til I die' Rob, in Liverpool, via text: "Never thought I would see Spurs in the Champions League in my lifetime. Going to be an exciting night. Hoping to see some Harry Potter Rednapp magic. Hope I didn't put a jinx on anything by giving all the Everton fans at work a ribbing today."

1907: What's this? MORE team news? Yep, for tomorrow actually, because Chelsea have taken the unusual step of naming their side to face MSK Zilina on Wednesday, just the 24 hours before they have to. The Blues will line up like this: Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, Alex, Zhirkov, Essien, Benayoun, Mikel, Sturridge, Malouda, Anelka - notable because it confirms captain Terry has shaken off a rib injury.

Werder Bremen v Tottenham team news
Pranav Soneji reports: "Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp makes four changes from the team that drew 1-1 with West Brom at the weekend. In comes Ledley King for William Gallas at the heart of defence, while Benoit Assou-Ekotto returns at left-back, with Gareth Bale set to move up the flank. Jermaine Jenas takes over from Wilson Palacios in centre midfield while Luka Modric, who suffered a leg injury at The Hawthorns, has not been risked so Rafael van der Vaart is likely to play off striker Peter Crouch, with Roman Pavlyuchenko dropping to the bench. Bremen have made one change from the team that drew 0-0 with Bayern Munich on Saturday. Forward Aaron Hunt drops to the bench with Portugal international Hugo Almeida returning to the starting XI alongside former Arsenal defender Mikael Silvestre."

quincymcfrog on Twitter: "What is Fergie doing! Does he really believe Rangers are that weak!!??"

1901: BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "So begins another Old Trafford Champions League campaign as Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson pits his wits against his great friend, the Rangers boss Walter Smith. Smith did not exactly use the words "park the bus" at his media conference on Monday, but it was clear caution would be his watchword. Will Smith's approach be altered by the sight of a United team containing ten changes from the side that drew at Everton on Saturday, albeit with Wayne Rooney restored? Unlikely."

1900: I'm not sure what to make of that Man Utd line-up, other than to think it might give Rangers fans a bit more hope than they held previously. Might it have something to do with the fact United play Liverpool on Sunday?

Man Utd v Rangers line-ups
Man Utd: Kuszczak, Brown, Ferdinand, Smalling, Fabio Da Silva, Valencia, Fletcher, Gibson, Park, Rooney, Hernandez. Subs: Van der Sar, Owen, Anderson, Giggs, O'Shea, Jonathan Evans, Macheda.
Rangers: McGregor, Broadfoot, Weir, Bougherra, Papac, Whittaker, Davis, McCulloch, Edu, Naismith, Miller. Subs: Alexander, Lafferty, Foster, Beattie, Weiss, Little, Hutton.
Referee: Olegario Benquerenca (Portugal)

Werder Bremen v Tottenham line-ups
Werder Bremen: Wiese, Fritz, Pasanen, Prodl, Silvestre, Frings, Bargfrede, Marin, Wesley, Arnautovic, Hugo Almeida. Subs: Mielitz, Boenisch, Borowski, Hunt, Huseinovic, Wagner, Jensen.
Tottenham: Cudicini, Corluka, Kaboul, King, Assou-Ekotto, Huddlestone, Lennon, Jenas, Bale, Van der Vaart, Crouch. Subs: Pletikosa, Pavlyuchenko, Keane, Palacios, Gallas, Bassong, Kranjcar.
Referee: Massimo Busacca (Switzerland)

From THFC_Jake on 606: "I'm backing Van der Vaart to get his first Spurs goal tonight."

1850: And here's the Spurs team too: Cudicini, Corluka, Assou-Ekotto, King, Kaboul, Huddlestone, Jenas, Bale, Lennon, Van der Vaart and Crouch.

1848: Darren Fletcher is the only United player to keep his place from the 3-3 draw at Goodison Park - more on that in a second. As for Rangers, they will line up 5-4-1 with the following line-up: McGregor, Whittaker, Broadfoot, Bougherra, Weir, Papac, Davis, Edu, McCulloch, Naismith and Miller.

Werder Bremen v Tottenham
Pranav Soneji reports: "'Ambition' and 'achievement' in Europe have been mutually exclusive at White Hart Lane since 1984, the year of Tottenham's Uefa Cup victory over Anderlecht. Fast forward 26 years and Spurs fans are still straining their eyes in disbelief at the prospect of the club's first full season in the Champions League. But don't expect free-flowing football on their full debut in Germany - manager Harry Redknapp has already said he will not play a 4-4-2 at the Weserstadion."

1845: Right then, an hour to go until kick-off around Europe and team news is starting to drop. Wayne Rooney starts for Manchester United, who have made 10 changes from Saturday's draw with Everton.

1843: It's fair to say that the police have adopted a safety-first approach for the return of Rangers to Manchester after the rioting that took place after the 2008 Uefa Cup final at the City of Manchester Stadium. The coaches that Dan (below) reports have begun to arrive at Old Trafford are bringing around 4,000 ticket holders to the ground from a holding zone at Wigan's DW Stadium.

From Luke, via text: "Re 1739 and 1758, you're both wrong, the best trophy in football is the FA Cup. No one grew up wanting to win the Champions League or World Cup, it was holding the FA cup on those magic Wembley steps after scoring the winning goal in the 95th minute. So that's that settled, or the South Wales 4 Walls league Division Two Trophy. That's a cup."

Ah, but this year someone WILL be able to hold up the Champions League trophy on those magic Wembley steps. In fact, the whole team will be able to. And don't rule out David May popping up again - I always look out for him after his antics on the podium in 1999, even when Manchester United aren't playing...

Champions League Stevo: "Away from Old Trafford and the Weserstadion, there's plenty to look forward to around Europe tonight. Holders Inter get their defence under way at debutants FC Twente, while 2009 winners Barcelona face Panathinaikos only three days after a shock 2-0 league defeat at home against newly-promoted Hercules. Elsewhere, Benfica host Hapoel Tel-Aviv, Bursaspor entertain Valencia, FC Copenhagen meet Rubin Kazan and Lyon welcome Schalke to the Stade Gerland."

From Chris in Basingstoke, via text: "The stage is set for Mr Rooney tonight, he shall be untouchable! Hat-trick is on the cards I feel. 4-1 saw it here first."

1822: A few of you cheeky devils are questioning my Harry Redknapp stat at 1758 BST, claiming Steve McClaren was in the Champions League with FC Twente last year. Sadly for Steve, he lost in the qualifying rounds to Arsenal so that doesn't count. Well, not in my book anyway.

From Jason, Spurs fan, via text: "I'm excitedly rushing home from work tonight like a kid down the stairs at Christmas!"

1815: It's not just Tottenham that are new to this Champions League lark you know. Only 12 of the sides who were in the group stages last year are back for more this time around and, as well as Spurs, there are five other teams involved who have never been so far in this competition before. Have a read of Phil Minsull's blog to see why this might be the most unpredictable Champions League for ages.

From manx_blue on 606: "Not too optimistic about Rangers' chances of a result tonight, however if Goram, Gough, Amoruso, Numan, Laudrup, Gazza, De Boer, McCoist and Hateley fancy pulling their boots on tonight I might feel a bit better."

On that note, can I just wish Brian Laudrup well in his battle with cancer. One of the best footballers of the 1990s, and his brother Michael was one of the reasons the 1986 World Cup will live long in my memory.

1809: By the way, if you haven't seen Werder Bremen play before, I can assure you that you're in for a treat. Well, maybe everybody apart from Spurs fans is in for a treat. The Bundesliga side only know one way to play, and that's all-out attack. They don't seem to be missing Mesut Osil much either, mainly because of Marko 'the German Messi' Marin and Anglo-German forward Aaron Hunt, who I caught up with last week for a chat about why he would love to end up playing in the Premier League one day himself.

happygilmoreuk on Twitter: "Can't see Rangers scoring more than 1 goal, and I can't see United scoring less than 3! Rooney has something to prove."

From gunner_caot89 on 606: "Re 1739. Sorry Chris, the best trophy in football is the World Cup trophy, no contest."

No chance. Although I admit I would love to kiss it (like Diego Maradona did in 1986), the current World Cup trophy is not even the best World Cup trophy. That was the Jules Rimet (which is still gleaming, if you believe the Three Lions song). Anyway, the Champions League trophy is a proper cup - and big enough for about four people to hold at the same time.

1758: While I wait for a wave of replies from optimistic Rangers fans I will deliver my first stat of the night, courtesy of Infostrada Sports. Harry Redknapp is the first English manager in the Champions League for eight years. The late Sir Bobby Robson was the last and his Newcastle team lost their first three group matches that season but still qualified for the next round, the only team to ever do this after losing their opening three fixtures.

1753: I also want to know if any Rangers fans think their side will take anything away from Old Trafford tonight? Everton boss David Moyes, whose side held United in a remarkable game on Saturday, thinks they can spring a surprise... but am I right in thinking there is not much optimism north of the border for the Gers?

From Loyal_Spurs_Fan on 606: "I intend to savour every moment as a Spurs fan. Having suffered so many false "new dawns" over the years, I know only too well that it could be a long time before we grace the CL again. A draw tonight would do nicely."

1746: Lots to talk about between now and kick-off (1945 BST pretty much all round) then, from how Spurs will fare in Bremen to Wayne Rooney's (expected) return for Manchester United. You know what to do: Tweet me on text me via 81111, or drop me a line on 606. Go on, it won't be the same without you.

1743: There is also a full programme of Championship games taking place too, with the pick of the bunch probably being Roy Keane's Ipswich taking on leaders QPR. Oh, and a 'Battle of the (almost) Bankrupt', with Portsmouth taking on another side who almost went under last season, Crystal Palace. Fair to say that both of them could do with a win.

From Stu in London via text: "What a moment to be a Spurs fan! At long last our time has come. A draw tonight would set us up nicely."

1739: Who else is dining at European football's top table tonight then? Try defending champions Inter Milan, who get their defence of the best trophy in football (show me a better one) under way against FC Twente, and Barcelona, who take on Panathinaikos. There are eight games in all, in groups A, B, C and D.

1735: Yes, I know. The group stage is sometimes a little, er, predictable isn't it? Not this time, though, I promise. For a start, some of you have probably noticed that Tottenham are involved for the first time - and they start their campaign in Group A tonight against Werder Bremen. Not only that, there's a 'Battle of Britain' taking place this evening too. That's Manchester United against Rangers of course.

1730 BST: Yes, it's back... and with a bang. The 2010/11 Champions League group stage starts in a couple of hours or so, and there are some new faces at this year's party. Excited? Er, give me one good reason why I shouldn't be.

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Champions League results

14 Sep 2010 23:59 UK

Champ Lge Group A table snapshot

As it stood on 14 Sep 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Inter Milan 1 0 1
2 Tottenham 1 0 1
3 FC Twente 1 0 1
4 Werder Bremen 1 0 1

Champ Lge Group B table snapshot

As it stood on 14 Sep 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Benfica 1 2 3
2 Lyon 1 1 3
3 Schalke 04 1 -1 0
4 Hapoel Tel-Aviv 1 -2 0

Champ Lge Group C table snapshot

As it stood on 14 Sep 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Valencia 1 4 3
2 Man Utd 1 0 1
3 Rangers 1 0 1
4 Bursaspor 1 -4 0

Champ Lge Group D table snapshot

As it stood on 14 Sep 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Barcelona 1 4 3
2 FC Copenhagen 1 1 3
3 Rubin Kazan 1 -1 0
4 Panathinaikos 1 -4 0

Champ Lge Group E table snapshot

As it stood on 14 Sep 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS

Champ Lge Group F table snapshot

As it stood on 14 Sep 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS

Champ Lge Group G table snapshot

As it stood on 14 Sep 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS

Champ Lge Group H table snapshot

As it stood on 14 Sep 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS

see also
Tuesday's football photos
14 Sep 10 |  Football
Man Utd v Rangers as it happened
14 Sep 10 |  Scottish Premier

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