By Alois Urban & Mark Bennett
Werder Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf is expected to turn to strikers Miroslav Klose and Ivan Klasnic to get the goals against Olympique Lyonnais as the Bundesliga side look to make home advantage count in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League first knockout round tie at the Weserstadion.
The prolific front pair both sat out Saturday's 4-1 win at 1. FC Nürnberg, but Klose is expected to recover from illness while Klasnic is fit again after a thigh injury. Bremen's "K-and-K" attack managed seven goals between them during their side's impressive group stage campaign, and Schaaf is looking to the front pair to add to that tally against the French champions.
"Both of them have trained well and could make the starting lineup," the Bremen coach said. "But then again the other players have done well in their absence." In particular, youngster Mohamed Zidan has caught the eye recently with two goals since his transfer from FC Midtjylland while Aaron Hunt and Nelson Valdez started on Saturday, but both are expected to drop to the substitutes' bench against Lyon.
It is the first time Bremen have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League, but they will draw inspiration from their dramatic recovery against Lyon in the third round of the 1999/00 UEFA Cup. Trailing 3-0 from the first leg in France, Bremen stormed back to win the second leg 4-0 at home and advance 4-3 on aggregate. "Lyon have been trying to forget the match in recent years but they can't," Bremen sporting director Klaus Allofs said. "We often see the Lyon officials and every time that match comes up."
Lyon, understandably, take an alternative view, and on Tuesday coach Paul le Guen insisted that result would be far from his players' minds. "There is only one player left in my squad from the 1999 team so I don't think it will be talked about," the 40-year-old said. "I wasn't around then, the team is different - it is a different match altogether."
Le Guen will have to make do without injured defenders Claudio Caçapa and Anthony Réveillère as well as striker Bryan Bergougnoux. He admitted: "Their absence is a blow but the team is good enough to deal with it.
We are ready for Bremen and have a good chance of getting a result."
"We won't be going out for a goalless draw," he added. "We want to score but that doesn't mean we will attack Bremen from the word go. We want to defend well, too." Lyon's French international striker Sidney Govou, however, is hoping for more, saying: "We have set our sights on getting a draw, but depending on how the match develops there could be more in it for us."
That is something Bremen's influential playmaker Johan Micoud wants to ensure his side avoid. "We need to keep a clean sheet because Lyon shouldn't be underestimated," the Frenchman said of the Ligue 1 leaders. "
A 1-0 win would suit me fine, but 2-0 would be better." Bremen's cause has not been helped by suspension to captain Frank Baumann, while Frank Fahrenhorst is not fully fit. Gustavo Nery also misses out as his transfer to SC Corinthians nears completion.
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