New Delhi: Werder Bremen have made it into the Uefa Cup following a 2-0 home win over Inter Milan, who have to settle for second place in the group. Second half goals from Claudio Pizarro and Markus Rosenberg settled things in favour of the German side.
A 1-0 win for Panathinaikos combined with their own 2-0 home win over the Nerrazurri has seen Werder clinch a Uefa Cup spot by finishing third in the group. Inter meanwhile have to settle for runners-up spot.
Thomas Schaaf made four changes to the side which lost at Karlsruhe at the weekend with Diego out suspended and Naldo and Hugo Almeida injured. In came Ozil, Prodl, Rosenberg and Boenisch.
Jose Mourinho brought in Marco Materazzi, Nicolas Burdisso, Mancini, Adriano and Ricardo Quaresma as changes to the side that beat Lazio at the weekend.
Werder kicked the game off inside a drizzly Weser Stadion and the German side forced a very early corner and Julio Cesar did well to punch away under very heavy pressure. The Inter keeper required treatment though after being winded by Prödl. The home side kept their early pressure up and forced a second quick corner, but once again it came to nothing.
With five minutes gone a lazy touch by Adriano allowed Bremen to counter attack via Boenisch and Özil, but when the ball came across, Torsten Frings was unable to make a proper contact and the shot went into the arms of the Inter keeper.
The opening 10 minutes saw the hosts dominating in terms of possession and territory with Inter seemingly content to sit deep and soak up the early pressure.
A super period of one-touch football down the left on the quarter of an hour mark saw Rosenberg and Özil combine well to feed Claudio Pizarro. The Peruvian’s goal-bound shot however was tipped around the post by Julio Cesar in the Inter goal for another Werder corner.
Inter’s first real moment of danger as an attacking force arrived on 20 minutes when Brazilian Adriano was sent clear. He attempted to loft the ball over the advancing Tim Wiese, but the ball didn’t travel forward enough and the German keeper gathered it when it came down.
The opening half an hour made it clear that Jose Mourinho had got his tactical set-up just right with the Italians making the space very narrow and frustrating the home side.
Portuguese winger Ricardo Quaresma beat Torsten Frings for pace on 29 minutes only to be brought down by the German international and the Werder midfielder was rightly booked. The ensuing free kick provided Adriano with a good opportunity, but he blasted the ball high and wide.
Inter wasted another good opportunity from a free kick on 34 minutes when some quick thinking from Maicon sent Quaresma in, but the former Porto midfielder slashed his shot horribly and it went well wide. Two minutes later and Werder’s Mesut Ozil had an equally awful effort after he had robbed Zanetti and beaten two defenders.
The best chance of the first 45 minutes fell to Claudio Pizarro on 42 minutes when he got his head to an Ozil corner. He rose well to flick the ball goalwards but Julio Cesar reacted well to keep the ball out.
Inter coach Jose Mourinho obviously wasn’t completely happy with what he saw in the first half as he made a double substitution with Maxell and Ibrahimovic coming on for Materazzi and Adriano.
It was Werder though, who began the second half the brighter of the two sides and they were moving the ball forward with more intent. Rosenberg fired narrowly wide on 46 minutes before Claudio Pizarro lifted his shot over the bar from seven meters out following a good cross from Boenisch.
The first 10 minutes of the second period were a marked improvement on the first with both sides a much better attacking force.
A header from Burdisso following a Cambiasso corner had to be cleared off the line by Clemens Fritz on 55 minutes, whereas three minutes later Pizarro made some space for himself before unleashing a shot that Julio Cesar had to get down well to save.
Werder’s brighter start was rewarded on 63 minutes with the opening goal. A poor clearance from Cordoba gifted possession back to Werder and when the ball arrived at the feet of Mesut Ozil, the youngster fired in a fine shot that Julio Cesar could only parry.
The ball dropped invitingly to Pizarro who took the gift by slotting the ball into the Inter goal.
The goal and news that Panathinaikos had taken the lead against Anorthosis seemed to lift Werder and they had a few chances to double their lead.
With 70 minutes on the clock Mesut Özil let fly and once again Julio Cesar could only parry.
This time however there was nobody on hand to take advantage.
Five minutes later and it was the same story again as the Inter keeper failed to hold a shot from Pizarro, but once again no Werder attacker was on hand to profit.
On 77 minutes, Aaron Hunt fired inches wide from 24 meters as the Werder pressure was maintained.
Inter had a rare moment of danger of their own on 79 minutes, but 18 year old substitute Balotelli headed a glorious chance over the bar from close range, when it seemed easier to score.
That miss was duly punished with nine minutes left when Swedish striker Markus Rosenberg scored Werder’s second.
A great counter attack following an Inter goal kick saw the impressive Mesut Ozil send an inviting ball across the area to Rosenberg, who guided his shot into the bottom corner.
With two minutes left Inter pulled one back via a sublime finish from Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The Swede received the ball just outside the penalty area and when nobody closed him down, he took a touch before curling an excellent shot in off the post to give the Italians a glimmer of hope.
1-0 Pizarro (63)
2-0 Rosenberg (81)
2-1 Ibrahimovic (88)
Frings (29), Fritz (84) / Muntari (69), Balotelli (89)
Werder Bremen: Wiese, Boenisch, Fritz, Mertesacker, Prodl, Frings, Vranjes (Niemeyer 89), Özil (Jensen 92), Hunt, Rosenberg, Pizarro
Inter Milan: Julio Cesar, Cordoba, Materazzi (Maxwell 46), Burdisso, Maicon, Zanetti, Cambiasso, Muntari (Balotelli 71), Mancini, Quaresma, Adriano (Ibrahimovic 46)
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