Bremen sneak dramatic contest
By Patrick Whyte. Last Updated: 02/11/05 9:35pm
Werder Bremen finally recorded a victory in Group C with a 4-3 triumph over Udinese in a compelling match at the Weser Stadion.
Miroslav Klose, Frank Baumann and Johan Micoud put Bremen three up but two goals from Antonio Di Natale and an own goal by Christian Schulz set up a tense finish before Micoud scored the winner.
Bremen were desperate for a result to give themselves any hope of qualifying for the next stage.
Their coach Thomas Schaaf had promised attacking, free-flowing football and in the first 45 minutes that is just how they played.
The Germans scored twice in the first half and always looked a threat. Klose was a constant pain to the Udinese defence and on 15 minutes he latched onto a Nelson Valdez cross and headed home, unmarked, from eight yards.
The home side doubled their lead on 24 minutes with Klose again involved. The German international surged down the left-hand side of the area and slipped the ball to Valdez. His attempted control bounced kindly for Baumann who lifted the ball over the onrushing keeper whilst the defenders appealed for offside.
Bremen had other chances to increase their lead when Micoud hit the bar with a dipping shot from a Torsten Frings cross.
Udinese, on the other hand started slowly and were forced into an early tactical change with forward Di Natale replacing the defensively minded Sulley Ali Muntari.
This change spurred them into action and the Italians were unlucky not to pull a goal back before half time.
Vincenzo Iaquinta wasted their best chance shooting against the post when the pass looked a better option.
If the first half was entertaining football then the second was simply pulsating.
Bremen started as they did the first and scored six minutes into it. A slide rule pass found Nelson Valdez who floated a pin-point cross onto the head of Micoud and the Frenchman duly dispatched it.
Bremen were coasting at 3-0 but their dominance could not have prepared them for the stunning Udinese comeback which was started when Di Natale's shot from the edge of the area skidded under keeper Andreas Reinke.
The keeper's mistake gave the Italians hope and they scored their second on 57 minutes when David Di Michele slid the ball to Di Natale who chipped over the diving Reinke and into the corner.
Udinese spectacularly levelled when a dangerous ball in was turned into his own net by Schulz.
However, the advantage lasted only seven minutes as some dreadful Italian defending enabled Micoud all the time in the world to turn the ball in from a Torsten Frings cross.
Udinese's hopes of rescuing a point were dealt a blow when Giampiero Pinzi was sent off for a second bookable offence. The midfielder needlessly lunged in on Valdez and the referee had no choice but to send him off.
Pinzi's dismissal effectively ended the contest and gave the Germans several chances to seal the victory. Tim Borowski and Frings twice missed opportunities but in the end it did not matter as their victory gave them a chance of qualification.
Bremen move onto four points, level with both Panathinaikos and Udinese with all three teams battling it out for that second qualifying spot.
Werder Bremen v Udinese player ratings
|Werder Bremen||Team Statistics||Udinese|
|2||1st Half Goals||0|
|8||Shots on Target||4|
|14||Shots off Target||3|
UEFA Champions League
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