By Heiko Lütkehus
The fans of Werder Bremen need to possess nerves of steel. This time the squad seemed to enjoy putting their supporters on the rack until the 93rd minute. To be honest, the entire performance affirmed the disappointing team impression of the past Bundesliga weekend. On Saturday, TSG Hoffenheim exposed the shocking defense problems of Werder and left Pizarro and his teammates stunned and speechless after a 4-1 defeat. And the first 15 minutes of the re-match for the Champions League qualification promised no advance.
Team coach Thomas Schaaf was forced to change his starting line-up because of the injuries of Hugo Almeida and Aaron Hunt. German youngster Sandro Wagner and World Cup hero Marko Marin replaced them on Tuesday evening.
The words of the Sampdoria coach Domenico di Carlo must have affected his players. In fact the Italian team perfectly implemented the tactical strategy. Pazzini equalized Werder Bremen`s two-goal-lead from the first game in less than 15 minutes. Obviously, the Stadio Luigi Ferraris pushed the Sampdoria squad with frenetic support and created an outstanding atmosphere. The worry lines on the forehead of Thomas Schaaf steadily grew because of the fact that the team seemed to be unable to score the magic goal to finally reach the Champions League. Most hopes must have been abandoned after Cassano (photo) scored for 3-0 in the 84th minute.
However, sometimes even unpopular players can turn into heroes. Markus Rosenberg, a 27 year old Swedish striker, who is said to be a slowpoke on the field, scored the longed-for goal just seconds before the referee was able to blow the final whistle. Werder Bremen reached the overtime at the last moment. The funniest thing about Rosenberg`s goal is that the coach just decided to send him on the pitch because of the blood-smeared jersey of Sandro Wagner and the fact that the assistant coaches weren´t able to find an alternative jersey. Since fate had decided that, Werder Bremen earned the chance to turn over the entire match in the overtime. The Sampdoria players seemed to be dead on their feet, that´s why Pizarro finally scored the second goal for Werder Bremen. Even though the overall impression of the team was disappointing, the outcome is substantial and important for the development of the club. In addition to the transfer fee for Mesut Özil, the management is now capable to improve the defense of the squad, which is necessary for being competitive in the Champions League. Next time it would be desirable to show a more confident performance rather than leaving nervous wrecks in the fan corner.