By Mark Bennett & Alois Urban
Werder Bremen want to lay the foundations for a place in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League by beating RSC Anderlecht in the Weserstadion on Tuesday night.
'We will impress'
Bremen are full of confidence as they seek a third straight win in Group G after 2-1 successes against first Valencia CF and then Anderlecht in Brussels. "Champions League matches are always a highlight and we have shown that we can hold our own," said coach Thomas Schaaf. "I am absolutely sure that my players will impress against Anderlecht."
Klose and Klasnic threat
Some of Schaaf's confidence must come from the goalscoring form of Miroslav Klose and Ivan Klasnic. Klose has already been on target seven times in the Bundesliga this season and got the equaliser in the home victory over Valencia, while Klasnic scored both goals in the win in Brussels a fortnight ago. Schaaf has another option in attack too following Angelos Charisteas's return from a back injury.
However, the Bremen coach will have to make further changes at the back. Petri Pasanen - a substitute in Saturday's 1-1 home draw with Hamburger SV - is not available as he has flown home to Finland after the death of his mother. Bremen will also be without the injured Frank Fahrenhorst, Kristián Lisztes and Gustavo Nery while both Tim Borowski and Pekka Lagerblom are doubtful.
However, Schaaf does not expect these absences to affect his side. "I trust my players and know that they won't underestimate Anderlecht.
We will go into the game with the right attitude and each and every one of my players wants to prove that they are good enough," he said, adding: "We will push RSC to their limits."
As for Anderlecht, they have already been pushed to the limit in one sense: after failing to take a single point from their first three matches, if the Belgians want to have a realistic chance of remaining in Europe when the group stage concludes, then they need all three points from their trip to Bremen.
"It is a vital match for us because defeat in Bremen would seal our fate in the Champions League," said Broos, whose side drew 2-2 at KSC Lokeren OV on Saturday. He added: "We watched Bremen again in recent weeks. They have got a very good side, but we will do everything we can to win the match."
Anderlecht's Albanian midfield player Besnik Hasi concurred with his coach that RSC had underachieved so far this season. "We haven't played well in the Champions League, but our hope that we will find our true potential tomorrow and get a good result for the club," he said.
Yet Anderlecht go into this decisive match with numerous players nursing knocks. Hannu Tihinen, Martin Kolar, Nenad Jestrovic and Junior are all definitely out, and both Mbo Mpenza and Vincent Kompany are doubtful.
"We will have to wait and see how Mbo and Vincent get through their fitness tests," said Broos. It is widely expected that the coach will choose to pack the midfield and play with Aruna Dindane as a sole striker up front, looking to hit Bremen on the break.
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