FC Barcelona's dreams of becoming the first UEFA Champions League holders to retain the trophy are still alive after they ended Werder Bremen's hopes at Camp Nou.
A moment of magic from Ronaldinho put the Spanish league leaders on the way against their German counterparts and a quickfire second from Eidur Gudjohnsen ensured the victory. Although they eased off after a powerful first-half display, Barcelona had done enough to take second spot in Group A behind section winners Chelsea FC. Bremen, who kept going until the end, will have to content themselves with entering the UEFA Cup.
Barcelona were determined from the start. Ludovic Giuly almost supplied the opener after three minutes, but his low cross just evaded Gudjohnsen before Deco warmed Tim Wiese's gloves from distance. With the Bundesliga side playing an attacking formation, Giuly revelled in the space and he went close in the ninth minute when connecting with Tim Borowski's clearing header yet Wiese did well to turn the ball away.
The Blaugrana pressure paid off when Ronaldinho opened the scoring with an inspired free-kick on 13 minutes. Expecting a flighted effort from the edge of the area, the visitors' wall jumped in anticipation only for the Brazilian to slide the ball underneath and into the bottom corner of the net. Barça doubled their advantage five minutes later as Ronaldinho's cross-field pass picked out the run of Giuly and the winger crossed for Gudjohnsen to convert from close range.
The duo combined again soon after when Giuly was picked out by Gudjohnsen, but his shot flew wide. That was followed by Daniel Jensen powering a drive that evaded Víctor Valdés but went off target. Gudjohnsen was hungry for a second and in the 35th minute, following a strong 60-metre surge from Deco, he weaved his way past four Bremen defenders before slipping the ball against the post. From the rebound, Giuly fired wide with the goal gaping.
With half-time approaching, Miroslav Klose narrowly missed out on an inviting cross which flew right across the penalty area, before the visitors saw Naldo cannon a free-kick centimetres to the wrong side of the post. As was to be expected, Bremen pushed forward in the second period but their early efforts could only produce an ambitious overhead kick from Diego which drifted wide.
Nine minutes after restart, though, they found an opening in the Barça defence as Klose battled his way into the box only to lift his shot to the left of the goal. The hosts could have put the result beyond doubt moments later when Ronaldinho made a wonderful reverse pass to send Gudjohnsen clear, but the forward paused allowing Naldo to track back and clear.
Bremen continued to probe, yet were unable to profit. In the 58th minute Hugo Almeida's outstretched leg met Diego's drive, with Valdés saving the deflection. The Portuguese striker was then caught on his heels when a lofted effort from Jensen deceived Valdés and struck the junction of crossbar and post. Visiting coach Thomas Schaaf looked to increase his team's attacking options by introducing Aaron Hunt in place of Pierre Wome, but Barça held firm to finish the group stage one point better off than Bremen, enough for a last-16 place.
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