Werder Bremen host already-qualified Internazionale knowing they must win to stand a chance of earning a UEFA Cup spot.
Thomas Schaaf’s side can still claim third position and a UEFA Cup place should they beat Inter and Anorthosis fail to win at Panathinaikos.
“We definitely want to win, but considering the season we’ve had, the response of the team is much more important – I want each and every player to show they have the will to turn our season around,” said Schaaf. “We are in a very tough position at the moment and we all know Inter are an excellent side. Beating them would perhaps give us confidence for the challenges ahead.”
With Diego suspended, Bremen’s hopes have been hit by a number of injuries. Hugo Almeida is out with a bad back while Naldo (toe) and Frank Baumann (calf) are both doubtful after picking up knocks during Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Karlsruher. However, midfielder Daniel Jensen is set for a recall after nearly two months out.
“I have asked him to stay with the team,” confirmed Schaaf. “He will not be able to play 90 minutes but he could make an impact off the bench.”
Bremen’s disappointing form in the competition has come as a susprise to inter coach Jose Mourninho.
“At the draw for the group stage we all thought Inter and Bremen would progress from this group, but results have told a different story. We have only eight points ourselves and I am not happy with that,” said the Portuguese.
“We obviously want to win the match and win our group, but Thomas Schaaf is a friend and I also have a lot of respect for [Bremen] general manager Klaus Allofs.”
“The atmosphere in the team is great because I have not told anybody who is playing,” the former Chelsea manager said. “Players who have been regular starters in recent weeks want to keep their places while others cannot wait to get in the side.”
Mario Balotelli and Davide Santon are hopeful of a start tonight, and with Inter likely to be without Patrick Vieira (thigh), Julio Cruz (thigh) and Cristian Chivu (knee), they may get their chance.