For such a passionate fan of film - he even models himself on Andy Garcia and learnt English from watching The Godfather (well maybe not the bits with Marlon Brando) - it was always scripted that Dimitar Berbatov would be the star of the show on his return to Bayer Leverkusen.
The Tottenham Hotspur striker spent five prolific seasons at the German club. And although he has not started quite so productively since his £10.9m move to the Premiership, the 25-year-old now has four goals in just three Uefa Cup games from the total of five he has struck this season.
Last night's winner was a simple tap-in - which he did not celebrate out of respect - but it maintained Spurs' perfect record in Europe. Five games, five wins and they have progressed serenely from Group B into the knock-out stages. "It's a great experience for us and good for the confidence of my team to win in Prague, in Germany and in Turkey," the manager, Martin Jol, said.
They will hope to translate that form a little more convincingly to the League. To do that they need Berbatov to fire more consistently - and Robbie Keane to be less wasteful - with Jol saying of the Bulgarian: "Every time we play in Europe he's outstanding but in the League he's not that yet. But we are confident that he will be the same player."
It aided Spurs' cause that they were able to include both Steed Malbranque and Aaron Lennon to add balance to their midfield. It also aided their cause that Leverkusen were so poor. They are a shadow of the side that reached the Champions' League final four years ago - with Berbatov in their ranks. It was not until after the interval that they roused themselves, with Paul Robinson saving with his legs from the substitute Paul Freier before the winger cut the ball back to Andrei Voronin, who shot straight at the goalkeeper. Bernd Schneider did beat Robinson with a 25-yard drive but the ball hit the post.
But that was nothing as to Spurs' profligacy. Berbatov headed over, then had a drive parried by goalkeeper Jorg Butt, before he swept the ball in after Lennon's shot was parried following a clever ball from Keane.
It was the smartest piece of play by Keane who then crossed behind Berbatov and was then too selfish when he should have found Lennon. Mido came on to replace Berbatov, who was given a standing ovation. He deserved star billing. "He's probably one of the best strikers in the world but has a long way to go," said Leverkusen's coach, Michael Skibbe. Jol will hope so.
Bayer Leverkusen (4-4-2): Butt; Rolfes, Madouni, Juan, Castro; Schneider, Ramelow (De Wit, 80), Barbarez, Barnetta (Schwegler, 15); Voronin, Kiessling (Freier, h-t). Substitutes not used: Domaschke (gk), Stenman, Haggui, Athirson.
Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Robinson; Chimbonda, Dawson, King, Assou-Ekotto; Malbranque (Huddlestone, 68), Zokora, Tainio, Lennon; Keane, Berbatov (Mido, 76). Substitutes not used: Cerny (gk), Lee, Davenport, Ghaly, Defoe.
Referee: M Hansson (Sweden).Reuse content