José Mourinho enjoyed his return to the UEFA Champions League as FC Internazionale Milano got off to a winning start and they next face Werder Bremen, who could only draw with Anorthosis Famagusta FC last time.
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FC Internazionale Milano gave coach José Mourinho, a UEFA Champions League winner with FC Porto in 2004, a victorious return to the competition with a 2-0 success at Panathinaikos FC on Matchday 1. Now, back on home ground, they will be seeking to make it six points from two games as they take on a Werder Bremen side who started with a 0-0 home draw at home to Anorthosis Famagusta FC.
• Almost a year to the day since he parted company with Chelsea FC, Mourinho looked on with delight as goals in each half from Mancini and substitute Adriano – both taking advantage of Zlatan Ibrahimović assists – brought the Serie A champions maximum points in Group B.
• Inter lost 1-0 away at the start of both the last two editions of the competition, at Fenerbahçe SK (2007/08) and Sporting Clube de Portugal (2006/07), so the result in the OACA Spyro Louis Stadium was a considerable improvement as they set out on their ninth attempt to win the UEFA Champions League.
• Inter and Bremen met in the opening group game in the 2004/05 edition when two goals from Adriano got the Italian side off to a comfortable win. The writing was on the wall for the visitors as early as the fifth minute when defender Valérien Ismaël was sent off for a professional foul.
• The line-ups for that game on 14 September 2004 were:
Inter: Francesco Toldo, Iván Córdoba, Javier Zanetti (Zé Maria), Emre Belözoğlu, Andy van der Meyde, Adriano, Juan Sebastián Verón, Giuseppe Favalli, Marco Materazzi, Dejan Stanković (Esteban Cambiasso), Christian Vieri (Alvaro Recoba).
Bremen: Andreas Reinke, Frank Fahrenhorst, Petri Pasanen, Fabian Ernst, Frank Baumann (Ludovic Magnin), Paul Stalteri, Johan Micoud, Ivan Klasnić (Angelos Charisteas), Tim Borowski, Valérien Ismaël, Nelson Valdez (Miroslav Klose).
• Bremen and Inter played out a 1-1 draw in the return fixture at the Weserstadion on 24 November 2004, Obafemi Martins scoring in the 55th minute to cancel out Ismaël's opener from the penalty spot seven minutes earlier.
• Until 27 September 2006, Inter had won all four of their home games against German visitors in the European Champion Clubs' Cup. That proud record ended at the hands of FC Bayern München as Claudio Pizarro – now a Bremen player – and Lukas Podolski scored in the last ten minutes. Inter ended the game with nine men, Ibrahimović and Fabio Grosso receiving late red cards.
• In UEFA club competition Inter have won nine and lost four of the 13 fixtures they have staged against German visitors. In the 1980s and 1990s the contests were all in the UEFA Cup and one of the victories came in the two-legged 1996/97 final against FC Schalke 04. Both home games ended 1-0 to the host team with Inter eventually losing out on penalties.
• The Nerazzurri lifted the UEFA Cup in 1994 and again four years later and each time they beat German teams in the quarter-finals. Revenge against Schalke came in 1998 with BV Borussia Dortmund having lost out four years before.
• Inter's progress in last season's UEFA Champions League came to a shuddering halt with a 1-0 defeat at home to Liverpool FC in the first knockout round which left them nursing a 3-0 aggregate defeat. Over the long haul their record at San Siro is impressive however, winning 14 of the last 20 UEFA Champions League games there including qualifying. Three matches were drawn and three lost. Last season Inter won all three home games in their group, scoring nine and conceding two.
• Thomas Schaaf's Bremen team missed several chances and were left frustrated on Matchday 1 as Anorthosis made an impressive UEFA Champions League debut at the Weserstadion, Pizarro, Mesut Özil and Hugo Almeida all failing to convert when well placed. It meant that the Bundesliga runners-up have still not started a campaign with a victory though at least it was an improvement on the defeats with which they had begun all five of their previous group-stage challenges.
• This is the fourth occasion Bremen have been involved in a game at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza but only the second time they have faced Inter having lost to AC Milan 2-1 in the 1993/94 group stage and 1-0 in the 1988/89 European Cup quarter-finals. Overall, Bremen have played ten matches on Italian soil, winning twice, drawing twice and losing on six occasions.
• They faced S.S. Lazio in last season's group stage, losing the Rome game 2-1. That was also the score in the away leg when they were drawn against Juventus in the 2005/06 first knockout round and after winning the home game 3-2 it meant Bremen departed from the competition on away goals.
• Last season Bremen lost all three away games in their UEFA Champions League group, also going down at Real Madrid CF (2-1) and Olympiacos CFP (3-0). They last tasted victory on their travels in 2006/07 against PFC Levski Sofia, the only success in their last eleven away games in the competition proper. Only one draw has been achieved in that sequence.
• Materazzi was on the winning side in Dortmund when Italy beat Germany 2-0 after extra time in the semi-final of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Per Mertesacker was on the opposing team.
• The other Group B fixture features Anorthosis against Panathinaikos.