Bremen: Werder Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf said he was pleased his side bowed out of Europe with an impressive, but alas meaningless, 3-0 win over Champions League holders Inter Milan.
Goals either side of half-time by Austrian defender Sebastian Proedl and compatriot Marko Arnautovic sealed the win against Rafael Benitez’s lacklustre Italians before sub Claudio Pizarro added the third near the end on Tuesday.
With Tottenham Hotspur drawing 3-3 at FC Twente to win Group A, Inter go through as runners-up, but despite their first win of the competition Bremen finish last and have failed to even claim a Europa League place.
Inter were clearly distracted by their involvement in the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi later this month, but nevertheless Schaaf was happy his side finally proved themselves in Europe.
“We put in a good performance and have at least said a decent goodbye to the group,” said Schaaf, whose side are tenth in the Bundesliga and face leaders Dortmund on Saturday in the German league.
“The victory is worth a lot: everything we set out to do, we implemented.
“We now need to build on this.
“Dortmund will certainly test us more than Inter did, but this is our chance to prove ourselves against the leaders.”
Despite having already secured their passage into the next round, Inter failed to impress on a bitterly cold night in north Germany.
A shot count of 20-6 in Bremen’s favour told its own story and may once again reignite the debate over the future of Inter coach Benitez.
“It was hard for us to react after the first goal, we had a few young players out there and they found it tough going,” said Benitez.
“The first goal hurt us and we didn’t have many chances to get back in the game after that.”
Werder Bremen’s director of sport Klaus Allofs took satisfaction from a job well done.
“We can be very pleased,” he said.
“In the second half, the team went up a gear.
“Regardless of how tough the group was, it is annoying that we are no longer in the tournament.”
After both sides took their time to get into the match, Bremen won seven corners without reply and made their seventh count when centre-back Proedl rose highest and headed home on 39 minutes.
Bremen made sure of victory when striker Arnautovic latched onto a superb pass from Almeida and volleyed home his shot on 49 minutes which gave the Inter goalkeeper no chance.
Inter hit the post when Argentinian midfielder Esteban Cambiasso connected after the Italians won their first -- and only -- corner of the game on 65 minutes in what proved to be their best chance of the match.
Bremen kept their foot on the gas until the final whistle and were rewarded when Pizarro netted the final goal in the 88th minute to end his team’s European sojourn in style.