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Thomas Schaaf promised that his free-flowing Werder Bremen side will defend their narrow away-goals advantage over Valencia CF from the front as the sides vie for a quarter-final place.
"It's important we play our own game, and generally our style is to attack," said Schaaf, whose side are top scorers in this season's UEFA Europa League with 22 goals from nine games even if they only managed one in last week's 1-1 draw in Spain. Those offensive ambitions will be aided by the availability of Mesut Özil, Marko Marin and Torsten Frings after injury and illness, while the Weserstadion pitch has been re-laid "so we will have excellent conditions for passing".
Sunday's 1-0 victory at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim extended Bremen's unbeaten run to six games, and Valencia will not dwell on the German side's home record in the competition this season. Including the play-offs, they have won all five games, scoring 19 goals in the process, though Schaaf is urging at least a measure of caution. "We also have to be very compact at the back: the key is finding the balance between attack and defence. I am anticipating an intense match."
Schaaf's mantra was echoed by Valencia counterpart Unai Emery. "We have to score and must not concede, which will be very difficult, but we want to play from the front," he said. "Bremen will put us under pressure and we will try to improve on our last match against FC Barcelona [a 3-0 defeat on Sunday]. It presents a great chance to get back on track."
Those chances dwindled after David Albelda and David Navarro were both ruled out through injury on Tuesday. With Éver Banega and Pablo Hernández already suspended, it is a significant blow though David Villa is available after a shoulder complaint. "It's a pity that some players are missing but we must accept it," said Emery. "Our ambition is to go to Hamburg and to play the final there."
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