The huge exhale you hear is everyone at White Hart Lane breathing a sigh of relief over the news that Gareth Bale will be fit for Tottenham Hotspur's first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal tie against Real Madrid on Tuesday. The star winger's health has been in question since he was sent home by Wales prior to their Euro 2012 qualifier against England and all reports were that Bale's hamstring made his fitness a near 50/50 bet. On Sunday though, Spurs' manager Harry Redknapp revealed that Bale trained on Friday and is expected to be fit for his club's trip to the Bernabeu on Tuesday.
"I think Gareth should be fit," Redknapp said. "He has been out doing some work with us, did a bit with the fitness coach and trained at about 80%, so I see no reason why he wouldn't be OK. It was just felt that if he played against Wigan [on Saturday] then he could stiffen up and he definitely wouldn't play Tuesday."
Bale had missed six weeks with a back injury earlier in the year and the 90 minutes he played against West Ham two weeks ago marked the first time that he went a full match since injuring his back. After that match, Bale went off with Wales only to injure his hamstring before even playing for his country.
Tottenham are facing a slew on injuries and any healthy bodies is a plus for Redknapp's crew, although getting good news on someone like Bale is obviously a bigger boost than most. Spurs only have two fit center backs in Michael Dawson and Sebastian Bassong and with Alan Hutton ruled out of the season with knee surgery, they don't even have the option of playing Hutton at right back and Vedran Corluka in the center because Corluka is the only fit right back.
With all of the injuries at the back, Spurs will have to be quick and tidy in the midfield. The emergence of Sandro gives Spurs one quality central midfield option and with Luka Modric next to him, Tottenham have a quality center pairing. With Bale healthy and looking like he'll be on the left with Aaron Lennon getting healthy enough to play on the right, Tottenham just may have the midfield to give themselves a shot, although there's no doubt that Madrid remain the heavy favorites.