Werder Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf confident his side can spring a surprise against the Champions League holders Barcelona.
Werder are in the midst of a terrible run, having not won in their last five matches. However, Schaaf believes his team can come good against the Spanish champions.
“To be honest it doesn’t really matter whether we are the underdogs or not,” he said. “We demand a lot of ourselves and we want to live up to those expectations against Barcelona.”
“We played well against Chelsea but didn’t get the right result,” he continued.
“We also played well in Hamburg and took a point, so we must remember the good things, put Barcelona under pressure and keep a clean sheet.”
Schaaf is able to welcome back Per Mertesacker, Miroslav Klose and Diego, all of whom have recovered from injury.
The Bremen coach believes Barcelona, along with group rivals Chelsea, are the favourites to win this year’s competition. However, Barca coach Frank Rijkaard is not so sure.
“It is much too early to decide on a favourite,” he said. “It’s early days in the Champions League and there are a lot of games to play.”
Rijkaard overcame Bremen twice in last season’s group stage and, Rijkaard is confident that complacency will not be a problem tonight.
“Bremen are an excellent side and made life hard for us here last term,” he said.
“I’m sure they’ve learned from the experience of playing against us, but my players are by no means satisfied with what we’ve achieved so far and we’ll continue to work hard to meet our own expectations. These players have definitely got the right mentality.”
Tim Wiese; Clemens Fritz, Per Mertesacker, Naldo, Pierre Wome; Frank Baumann, Torsten Frings, Tim Borowski, Diego; Miroslav Klose, Ivan Klasni?.
Víctor Valdés; Gianluca Zambrotta, Lilian Thuram, Carles Puyol, Giovanni van Bronckhorst; Andrés Iniesta, Edmílson, Deco; Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto’o, Ronaldinho.