S.S. Lazio welcome Werder Bremen to Rome hoping to record their first victory in the group stage in more than four years to retain realistic hopes of progress.
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S.S. Lazio welcome Werder Bremen to the Stadio Olimpico needing to record a first victory in the UEFA Champions League group stage in over four years if they want to climb off the foot of Group C and retain realistic hope of progress.
• Lazio sit bottom of the section with two points from a possible nine following their 2-1 loss to Bremen in Germany on 24 October. Boubacar Sanogo (28 minutes) and Hugo Almeida (54) put Bremen in control at the Weserstadion before Christian Manfredini (82) reduced the deficit late on.
• That success earned Bremen their first points, lifting them into third place and giving them hope of repeating their recovery of the 2005/06 season when they qualified for the last 16 despite losing their opening two fixtures.
• The size of the task now facing Delio Rossi's Lazio can be measured by the fact they have not won any of their last eight UEFA Champions League group stage games. Their most recent victory in the competition, qualifying rounds apart, was on 16 September 2003 when goals from Jaap Stam and Stefano Fiore secured a 2-0 success at Beşiktaş JK.
• Prior to their Matchday 3 defeat in Bremen, Lazio had drawn 1-1 at Olympiacos CFP – Luciano Zauri's 77th-minute equaliser rescuing a point – and then 2-2 at home against Real Madrid CF. Goran Pandev struck a goal in each half against the Merengues to twice cancel out Ruud van Nistelrooy strikes.
• Bremen opened their campaign with a 2-1 loss at Madrid where Sanogo's first-half goal appeared to have put them on course for a point before Van Nistelrooy's 74th-minute winner. The Bundesliga club then suffered a damaging home defeat by Olympiacos CFP on Matchday 2 when they surrendered a 1-0 lead given them by Hugo Almeida, conceding three goals in the closing 17 minutes to go down 3-1.
• Bremen's overall record against Italian teams is six wins, seven draws and five defeats. In Italy, they have recorded two wins, two draws and five defeats.
• Their most recent trip to Italy ended in defeat with a 2-1 loss at Juventus consigning them to elimination on away goals in the first knockout round in 2005/06. Bremen led 3-2 from the first leg and although Johan Micoud extended their advantage early in the return, second-half efforts from David Trezeguet (65) and Emerson (88) inflicted a painful defeat on the German side.
• Bremen last tasted victory on Italian soil when they won 3-2 at holders SSC Napoli in the third round of the UEFA Cup in 1989/90. Frank Neubarth, Karl-Heinz Riedle and Wynton Rufer were the scorers.
• Lazio's most recent German opponents were Bayer 04 Leverkusen with whom they played out 1-1 draws both at home and away in the first group stage of the 1999/00 UEFA Champions League.
• Prior to that the Rome club's only other encounter with a Bundesliga team was in the 1994/95 UEFA Cup where they met BV Borussia Dortmund in the quarter-finals, winning 1-0 at home but going down 2-0 away.
• Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf had mixed fortunes as a player against Italian sides. He was part of the first Bremen team to win in Italy, recording a 1-0 victory at Hellas-Verona FC in the 1987/88 UEFA Cup quarter-final. Two seasons later, however, he tasted defeat on away goals against ACF Fiorentina at the semi-final stage of the same competition.
• Bremen defender Pierre Womé has played for six clubs in Italy during his career, including a short spell at the Stadio Olimpico with Lazio’s city rivals AS Roma in the 1998/99 season. The other Italian clubs he has represented are Vicenza FC, AS Lucchese Libertas, Bologna FC, Brescia Calcio and FC Internazionale Milano.