Bremen coach Schaaf delighted to go through

Bremen: Werder Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf said he was delighted that his side qualified for the semi-finals of the German Cup after beating Hoffenheim 2-1.

Naldo opened the scoring for the defending champions in the 27th minute and substitute Hugo Almeida found the winner in the 76th, after Prince Tagoe had equalised for the visitors in the 73rd minute.

Schaaf, who earlier in the week was made honorary member at the club he has served since being a junior player, said that the victory was a step forward.

"We wanted to win the game. Not because it is an easy way to qualify for European football, but because playing in a cup final is something special.”

"We did it last year and we want to go to Berlin again to play in the final."

He dismissed speculation that the club was concentrating on the cup as they were too far off the pace in the league to still qualify for Europe through the league.

"There are still a number of games to go and we can start a run," he said.

Playing in difficult conditions after snow, that had fallen the entire day, made the pitch very slippery, the home side completely dominated the opening spell.

Bremen could have opened the scoring in the ninth minute when German international Mesut Ozil was sent through with a defence-splitting pass that beat the offside trap.

Ozil`s pass into the centre to striker Claudio Pizarro was intercepted though before the Peruvian managed to strike.

Midway through the first half Bremen took the lead after Luiz Gustavo fouled Marko Marin on the edge of the area and Brazilian defender Naldo scored from the resulting free-kick.

Surprisingly Bremen then allowed Hoffenheim back into the game and the visitors could have drawn level shortly before the break through Sejad Salihovic and Vedad Ibisevic, but both failed to find the target.

Hoffenheim coach Ralf Rangnick brought on Ghanaian striker Tagoe in the 71st minute and the substitute took just 89 seconds to get his name on the score sheet when he headed a Christian Eichner cross past Christian Vander, who had come on for injured goalkeeper Tim Wiese at half-time.

Bremen substitute Hugo Almeida put the home side back ahead just three minutes later though as he ran onto a Pizarro pass before unleashing a powerful long-range effort from just outside the area.

Hoffenheim then threw caution to the wind as they went forward in search of a winner, but the Bremen defence stood firm to see the defending champions through to the semi-final.

The three other semi-finalists will be determined later Wednesday, as three lower division clubs seek to make it to the last four.

Bayern Munich are at home to second division Greuther Fuerth, while Schalke 04 travel to third division club VfL Osnabrueck. Cologne are away to high-flying second division club Augsburg.