Bremen must turn draws into wins

Werder Bremen have not yet been beaten in this UEFA Champions League campaign but neither have they tasted victory and after three draws they will be trying to deepen Panathinaikos FC's woes at the foot of Group B.

Bremen's Hugo Almeida celebrates salvaging a point in Athens
Bremen's Hugo Almeida celebrates salvaging a point in Athens ©Getty Images

After three draws, Werder Bremen will be looking to accelerate their UEFA Champions League challenge in Group B with victory against a Panathinaikos FC side who have taken only one point from their three fixtures. Last season's Bundesliga runners-up would be happy to repeat the scoreline when the Greek side last visited the Weserstadion, three years ago.

• In that UEFA Champions League campaign, Bremen won 5-1 in the final group fixture to clinch their place in the knockout stages. An early Johan Micoud penalty and two Nelson Valdez goals gave Bremen an unassailable lead before half-time with further efforts arriving from Miroslav Klose and Torsten Frings after the interval. Panathinaikos' sole reply came from Nasief Morris.

• The teams for that meeting on 7 December 2005 were:
Bremen: Andreas Reinke, Frank Fahrenhorst, Frank Baumann (Daniel Jensen), Jurica Vranješ, Nelson Valdez (Aaron Hunt), Johan Micoud, Miroslav Klose, Patrick Owomoyela, Leon Andreasen, Torsten Frings, Christian Schulz (Petri Pasanen).
Panathinaikos: Mario Galinović, Nasief Morris, Flavio Conceição, Ezequiel González, Dimitrios Papadopoulos, Alexandros Tziolis, Loukas Vintra, Igor Bišćan, Mikael Nilsson (Elias Kotsios), Filippos Darlas (Nordin Wooter), Sándor Torghelle (Evangelos Mantzios).

• The game in Athens earlier in the campaign – Bremen's first ever meeting with a Greek club in an official game – had ended 2-1 to Panathinaikos. Ezequiel González gave them the lead with a fifth-minute penalty and Evagelos Mantzios doubled the advantage three minutes later. Bremen pulled a goal back through Klose just before the break but, reduced to ten men when Ivan Klasnić was sent off, the visitors could not find an equaliser.

• When Bremen – who are competing in their fifth successive UEFA Champions League campaign – next played host to Greek opponents, in last season's group stage, it was a far different result to that 5-1 success. The German club went down 3-1 against Olympiacos CFP and also lost the away fixture 3-0. That second meeting, on Matchday 6, was decisive with both teams knowing victory would propel them into the first knockout round. As it was, Olympiacos claimed that prize with Bremen moving into the UEFA Cup.

• This time round, Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf's team were disappointed to draw 0-0 with Anorthosis Famagusta FC on Matchday 1 but drew confidence from their next two fixtures, coming from behind at San Siro on Matchday 2 after FC Internazionale Milano took a 13th-minute lead through Maicon. Claudio Pizarro equalised for the visitors to the frustration of opposing manager José Mourinho, who had signed the Peruvian striker for Chelsea FC in 2007.

• On Matchday 3 Hugo Almeida's late equaliser saved a point for Bremen in a tense encounter at the OACA Spiro Louis Stadium. The visitors had gone in front in the 29th minute when Per Mertesacker lashed in a free-kick. Two superb headers from striker Vangelis Mantzios either side of half-time pointed Panathinaikos towards a first victory but Almeida contributed the third headed goal of the night seven minutes from time. It gave the home team their first point in the competition while Bremen's three points leaves them one behind Anorthosis and four adrift of Inter.

• Panathinaikos started with a 2-0 home defeat against the Milan club, goals in each half from Mancini and substitute Adriano making the difference for the Serie A champions. They hoped for a better result two weeks later when they made the short journey to Cyprus to take on Anorthosis but José Sarriegi's own goal and a header from Siniša Dobrašinović in the first 15 minutes put Henk ten Cate's team on the back foot. Dimitris Salpingidis reduced arrears from the spot but Iraqi substitute Hawar Taher put the result beyond doubt with 12 minutes left.

• Panathinaikos lost all three away games in their previous UEFA Champions League campaign in 2005/06, scoring just once and conceding 13 goals in the process. The previous season they managed two draws and a defeat away from home. Their last victory on their travels came in December 2003 when they gained a 3-1 win at Rangers FC. Since then they have played seven away games, registering five defeats and two draws.

• This is Panathinikos' tenth match in Germany in UEFA club competition, with their record showing three wins and six defeats. The sequence started falteringly with four straight defeats although they enjoyed a run of success in the country with three consecutive wins between 1993 and 2002.

• As assistant coach to Frank Rijkaard, Ten Cate helped FC Barcelona to win the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League. In the group stage, the Spanish side beat Bremen 2-0 away and 3-1 at home.

• As coach of AFC Ajax, Ten Cate also faced Bremen in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup Round of 32. The German side won the home leg 3-0 and it proved enough to take them through after Ajax won the return 3-1.

• Panathinaikos' Andreas Ivanschitz played for Austria against Germany in a UEFA EURO 2008™ Group B match in Vienna. Frings, Clemens Fritz and Mertesacker were on the opposing side.

• The other game in the group is between Anorthosis and Inter.

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