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Buoyant Bremen gunning for goals

Published: Wednesday 2 November 2005, 16.18CET
Werder Bremen hope the return of strikers Miroslav Klose and Ivan Klasnić will help kick-start their UEFA Champions League bid against Udinese Calcio.
by John Muldoon & Andreas Alf
from Bremen

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Goals scored16
Attempts on target48
Attempts off target68
Fouls committed162
Yellow cards13
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Published: Wednesday 2 November 2005, 16.18CET

Buoyant Bremen gunning for goals

Werder Bremen hope the return of strikers Miroslav Klose and Ivan Klasnić will help kick-start their UEFA Champions League bid against Udinese Calcio.

German representatives Werder Bremen will be relying on all-out attack as they search for their first victory in UEFA Champions League Group C on Wednesday evening, when they face Udinese Calcio in front of their own supporters.

Klose available
"If we want to keep alive our hopes of reaching the next round, we have to win," acknowledged Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf. For that reason, Schaaf is relieved to have his leading striker Miroslav Klose fit for the visit of the Italian club. The German international, who has scored eleven Bundesliga goals this season and once in the UEFA Champions League as well, has recovered from a calf injury.

Striking fillip
Croatian international Ivan Klasnić will also be back after missing the 1-1 Matchday 3 draw in Udine through suspension, allowing Schaaf to select the pair to spearhead Bremen's attack. "Together they are quality," said Schaaf. "It's good to know you can count on something that you know works well.

Domestic repeat
"We have proven in the Bundesliga that we can create an enormous amount of pressure up front, it's time we showed that on the European stage," Schaaf added. Bremen have averaged almost three goals per game in their domestic competition, while only managing to find the net twice in three UEFA Champions League outings, leaving them bottom of Group C. Goalkeeper Andreas Reinke agrees with his coach that the onus is on them to win the game. "It's like a final for us," he said. "We have to win, and we will. I expect the Italian side to set out their stall defensively."

Onus on Bremen
But Schaaf believes his team need only worry about how they perform, rather than focus on opposition tactics. "The result depends on us, how strongly we perform and how much we allow them to play." However, Bremen will have to achieve a result without centre-back Petri Pasanen who is short of match fitness.

Cosmi respect
Despite holding a three-point advantage over their hosts, and knowing victory in Germany will put them on the brink of qualification, Udinese coach Serse Cosmi feels it is the home side who go into the game as favourites. "They've deserved more than they've achieved in this competition, and are favourites to win on Wednesday," he said. "But that doesn't mean we'll be going there to get a draw."

Contrasting fortunes
Udinese may have made a better start than Bremen in the UEFA Champions League, but their league record of 14 points from ten Serie A matches cannot compare to their rivals', who can go top of the Bundesliga with three points at FC Bayern München on Saturday. "When you see what Bremen have done in the Bundesliga of late, you've got to have a great deal of respect for them - in particular their attack," Cosmi admitted.

Pressure on Bremen
"One shouldn't forget that we are Udinese, not AC Milan or FC Barcelona," the coach went on. "Yet we are here in the UEFA Champions League and that is a huge success for us. We will do our best to play well in Bremen and they have to win, which could work to our advantage."

Last updated: 02/11/05 14.19CET