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Bremen searching for an elusive victory

After saving themselves from defeat on Matchday 5 with a late goal, Werder Bremen will be looking for their first win in Group B to give themselves a chance of going into the UEFA Cup after the winter break.

Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf with his players in training
Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf with his players in training ©Getty Images

Werder Bremen staged a great recovery to rescue a point on Matchday 5 against Anorthosis Famagusta FC, but it was not enough to keep their UEFA Champions League qualifying prospects alive and as Group B reaches its conclusion the best they can do is finish third and claim a UEFA Cup berth. Against FC Internazionale Milano, who have already booked their place in the next phase, the German team will be hoping to strike a winning note for the first time in the section.

• For the visitors, there is first place to play for and also the opportunity to rid themselves of the memory of a surprise home setback at the hands of Panathinaikos FC on 26 November when José Sarriegi's second-half strike consigned them to defeat. However, their first defeat in this season's competition did not prevent them clinching their ticket to the first knockout round thanks to the 2-2 draw at the GSP Stadium the same night.

• Bremen's game in Cyprus was goalless at half-time but thereafter Anorthosis took a firm grip on proceedings with goals from Nikos Nikolaou and Sávio. Yet the visitors were not done for and hit back through Diego's 72nd-minute penalty and Hugo Almeida's strike three minutes from the final whistle. It was the fourth time in the five Group B fixtures so far that last season's Bundesliga runners-up had played out a draw.

• One of those came at San Siro on Matchday 2 when a second-half goal from Claudio Pizarro – a player Inter coach José Mourinho had signed the previous year for Chelsea FC – cancelled out Maicon's opener. It followed a frustrating start to the campaign for Bremen whose game with Anorthosis at the Weserstadion ended 0-0. Their other home game in the group resulted in a demoralising 3-0 reverse at the hands of Panathinaikos with Petri Pasanen's own goal following earlier efforts from Vangelis Mantzios and Giorgos Karagounis.

• The away game with the Greek team turned out to be a tense encounter with Bremen leading in the 29th minute when Per Mertesacker lashed in a free-kick only for two superb headers from Mantzios either side of half-time pointed the home team towards victory. Almeida grabbed a late equaliser to alter the script at the OACA Spiro Louis Stadium once again.

• The German club have won their last three home games against Italian opposition in competitive fixtures and in ten meetings as hosts have still to be beaten. Their record on their own soil shows five wins and five draws. One of those draws came against Inter in the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League group stage which ended 1-1. Valérien Ismaël struck from the penalty spot for Bremen at the start of the second half but an equaliser arrived six minutes later as substitute Obafemi Martins converted after Dejan Stankovic's shot deflected back off the bar.

• The lineups for that game on 24 November 2004 were:
Bremen: Andreas Reinke, Petri Pasanen, Fabian Ernst, Frank Baumann, Paul Stalteri (Angelos Charisteas), Johan Micoud, Miroslav Klose, Ivan Klasnić (Nelson Valdez), Ludovic Magnin, Tim Borowski (Daniel Jensen), Valérien Ismaël.
Inter: Francesco Toldo, Iván Córdoba, Javier Zanetti, Andy van der Meyde, Edgar Davids (Cristiano Zanetti), Julio Cruz (Obafemi Martins), Siniša Mihajlović, Giuseppe Favalli, Esteban Cambiasso, Dejan Stanković (Giorgos Karagounis), Christian Vieri.

• Both of Inter's last two games in Germany have ended 1-1 – the most recent was against FC Bayern München in the group stage two seasons ago – and they were unbeaten in the three previous trips as well. In 13 visits they have recorded four wins and two defeats.

• In Inter's last away game they flirted with an embarrassing scoreline in Cyprus as Anorthosis took an improbable 3-2 lead five minutes into the second half through Nikolaos Frousos' goal. Ten minutes from time Julio Cruz rescued Mourinho's side. Mario Balotelli had given the visitors an early lead only for Nicolás Burdisso to slip and allow Cédric Bardon to level. Marco Materazzi put Inter ahead once more with Georgios Panagi finding an equaliser before half-time.

• The Nerazzurri's first away game produced a 2-0 victory in Athens as goals in each half from Mancini and substitute Adriano – both taking advantage of approach play from Zlatan Ibrahimović – saw off the challenge of Panathinaikos. At home they followed the draw with Bremen by beating Anorthosis thanks to Adriano's headed goal.

• A win in the Weserstadion would confirm Inter finish as group winners. It would be a fine start for Mourinho, a UEFA Champions League winner with FC Porto in 2004, at his new team and the fourth time in the last five campaigns that the club will have finished top of their section. Bremen need to win and hope that Anorthosis do no more than draw away to Panathinaikos, which will see Thomas Schaaf's team move into the UEFA Cup for the third successive season.

• Per Mertesacker was on the losing team in Dortmund when Germany went down 2-0 to Italy after extra time in the semi-final of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Marco Materazzi was on the winning side.

• The draw for the UEFA Champions League first knockout round will take place at 12.00CET on Friday 19 December at UEFA's headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. Group winners will be paired against runners-up from different sections with the second-placed teams playing the first leg at home. Clubs from the same associations cannot be drawn together.