Inter hunt top spot, Bremen playing for pride

Bremen: Werder Bremen are looking to end their unhappy Champions League campaign on a rare high on Tuesday when they host defending champions Inter Milan who are aiming to finish top of Group A.

Inter are already through to the last 16, but they need a convincing win at the Weserstadion if they want to finish the group phase on top of the table.

The Italians are second behind Tottenham Hotspur by virtue of their rivals’ head-to-head superiority and need to better the London club’s result at Twente if they are to advance as group winners.

Inter are sixth in Serie A and suffered a 3-1 defeat at Lazio on Friday, their fourth of the season.

The Lazio defeat has piled further pressure on under-fire coach Rafael Benitez, who admitted his struggling side had one eye on the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi later this month.

“That is our most important appointment,” Benitez said.

“We knew this match would be difficult because our heads are already on the Club World Cup.

It’s also important to do well at Werder Bremen, as first place in the Champions League group is better than second.”

Bremen have no hope of progressing and their 3-0 defeat at Tottenham a fortnight ago means they will finish last in the group and there will not even be a Europa League place for them after Christmas.

Werder have had a dreadful start to the season in the German league and coach Thomas Schaaf, who has been in charge since 1999, is in danger of losing his job, unless results improve.

They have won just two of their last ten games.

A heavy 6-0 defeat at Stuttgart in the German league was followed by a 4-0 reversal at Schalke 04 recently and the club have held a series of crisis’ meetings to try and turn things around.

Bremen held Wolfsburg to a goalless draw on Saturday as captain Torsten Frings had a late penalty saved while Wolfsburg striker Edin Dzeko fired his spot kick over the bar just minutes later.

Werder are 10th in the league and although defender Mikael Silvestre and striker Claudio Pizarro resumed training with the first team on Monday after back and leg problems respectively, Schaaf is unlikely to risk the pair.

Bureau Report