Ruud van Nistelrooy's 50th UEFA Champions League goal proved to be a winner as Real Madrid CF marked another European milestone with a 2-1 win against Werder Bremen.
The club's 300th match in the European Champion Clubs' Cup also brought them their first opening-night win in the group stage in four seasons. Van Nistelrooy set up Raúl González to head Madrid's opener after 16 minutes but Bremen struck back swiftly through Boubacar Sanogo. The visitors created enough chances to merit a point but the 31-year-old Van Nistelrooy dashed their hopes
Describing the goal that gave Madrid the win after 74 minutes, Van Nistelrooy said: "It was good build-up play from midfield with Guti playing in Raúl on the edge of the area. Raúl then played me in. I made the keeper think I was going to place it in the far corner but I cut it inside as he was on the wrong foot. I was happy to see it going in."
The striker won the title last season under Fabio Capello in his first campaign in Spain, but has seen the coaching regime change over the summer, with former FC Barcelona, Madrid and German midfielder Bernd Schuster taking command. The change, he insists, has been a beneficial one. "There hasn't just been a change of coach here - there has also been a change in the squad too," the striker explained. "We have so many attack-minded players and with an attack-minded coach like Schuster it's going to be good for all of us."
'It was close'
Bremen were clearly disappointed as the final whistle sounded. Despite an injury crisis and a poor start to their Bundesliga campaign, Thomas Schaaf's men acquitted themselves well and earned Van Nistelrooy's respect. "Today was a tough game," he said. "They made it very hard for us and it was close. They had chances on the counterattack so in the end we're very happy with the win."
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