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Bremen win prolongs European campaign

Werder Bremen 2-1 FC Internazionale Milano
Claudio Pizarro and Markus Rosenberg both hit second-half goals as the German hosts rose to third in Group B, leaving Inter to settle for second.

Claudio Pizarro celebrates after breaking the deadlock
Claudio Pizarro celebrates after breaking the deadlock ©Getty Images

Werder Bremen ended their UEFA Champions League with a bang as second-half goals from Claudio Pizarro and Markus Rosenberg earned the German side the consolation of a place in the UEFA Cup, leaving FC Internazionale Milano to settle for second in Group B.

Just reward
The hosts were the better, busier side throughout and finally broke through on 63 minutes, Júlio César for once unable to rescue Inter as he failed to hold on to Mesut Özil's shot and Pizarro beat Maxwell to the rebound. The lively Özil was again the provider nine minutes from the end when his cross was turned in by Rosenborg and though there was still time for Rosenborg's Swedish international team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimović to pull one back, Bremen had their reward.

Bremen initiative
With a UEFA Cup place at stake the hosts started with hunger and bite, controlling the opening 15 minutes as Torsten Frings bristled with intent. The German international was charged with patrolling the area in front of the back line but was just as involved in the attacking third, forcing Júlio César into the first save of the game with a long-range effort on ten minutes. Bremen's build-up play was not always married to poise in front of goal, though just before half-time Júlio César had to be on his guard to sprint off his line and collect Özil's through-ball with Rosenberg lurking ominously.

Özil threat
The Nerazzurri offered little in return, Ricardo Quaresma rushing his effort after one rare sortie into the Bremen half and Thomas Schaaf's team were soon back on the offensive. Özil, in particular, was growing in confidence and did well to beat two defenders at one point even if his subsequent shot failed to test Júlio César. The 20-year-old was more accurate on the cusp of half-time, his corner finding Pizarro's head but the Peruvian international's effort was palmed around the post.

End to end
Inter coach José Mourinho had seen enough. On came Ibrahimović and Maxwell and as the second half got under way the Nerazzurri woke from their torpor, only the timely goalline intervention of Clemens Fritz keeping out Nicolás Burdisso's header following an Esteban Cambiasso corner. Bremen, too, stepped it up and soon after Pizarro had gone close with a nimble turn and shot that sent Júlio César scurrying to turn it around the post, they were ahead.

Precarious lead
With Panathinaikos FC beating Anorthosis Famagusta FC in Athens, Inter's grip on top spot in the section was loosening but it did not spur them into action and instead Bremen continued to press, Özil and Aaron Hunt both going close. Nonetheless, Inter substitute Mario Balotelli gave the hosts a major scare when he headed over. Rosenborg soon allayed fears only for Ibrahimović to set up a grandstand finale two minutes from time, shrugging off a challenge before firing a lovely curling effort inside the post from outside the area. Bremen, though, had done enough.