Rest still chas­ing Dort­mund’s shadow

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

WERDER BRE­MEN de­feated Euro­pean cham­pi­ons In­ter Mi­lan in midweek and hope to carry the mo­men­tum into a Bun­desliga date to­day at record­break­ing lead­ers Borus­sia Dort­mund.

How­ever, Thomas Schaaf ’s men face an up­hill bat­tle, given their own form, re­cent league his­tory and Dort­mund’s as­ton­ish­ing run.

Bre­men have not won in Dort­mund since April 2007 and have beaten them only once in the six games over­all since then.

The same ap­plies in gen­eral this sea­son: one vic­tory in the last six games for a mod­est 10th place, 21 points be­hind Dort­mund, and with­out a goal in the last three away games while al­low­ing 10.

Bre­men said good­bye to Euro­pean foot­ball for the sea­son with a 3-0 win against In­ter, but the Ital­ians fielded only a re­serve team given that they were al­ready qual­i­fied for the knock­out stages.

Cen­tral de­fender Per Merte­sacker ad­mit­ted that “they (In­ter) didn’t re­ally want (to play)” but nonethe­less expressed his hope that the vic­tory “will give us a boost for the league.

“We are slowly get­ting back on track. We have im­proved in de­fence and go­ing for­ward as well,” said Merte­sacker.

Bre­men can only hope that Dort­mund stut­ter for a third time at home af­ter los­ing the sea­son-opener against Bayer Lev­erkusen and later be­ing held by Hof­fen­heim.

Dort­mund have dropped no fur­ther points, win­ning all eight games away from home which are as much a Bun­desliga record as the 40 points they have amassed from 15 games.

They hold a huge 10-point lead over Mainz 05 and are as­sured of top­ping the ta­ble into 2011 through the win­ter break which starts on De­cem­ber 19.

How­ever, mod­esty pre­vails at Juer­gen Klopp’s team.

“This has never hap­pened be­fore. And most prob­a­bly will never hap­pen again. We know how to look at it in the big­ger pic­ture and we re­main ra­tio­nal about it,” said mid­fielder Nuri Sahin.

Mean­while, cham­pi­ons Bayer n Mu­nich need to re­group yet again af­ter a 2-0 de­feat at Schalke 04 when they host St Pauli Ham­burg in what is ar­guably the biggest pos­si­ble con­trast of clubs in the league.

Mu­nich are Ger­many’s num­ber one club by suc­cess and fi­nan­cial re­sources. Cash-strapped St Pauli cul­ti­vate an un­der­dog and left-wing im­age and are fi­nally back in the top flight af­ter sev­eral sea­sons in the lower tiers.

St Pauli fa­mously won the last meet­ing be­tween the two, 2-1 at home in Fe­bru­ary 2002, prompt­ing their fans to print T-shirts that said Welt­pokalsiegerbe­sieger (World­cupcham­pi­onbeater) on them in ref­er­ence to the World Club cham­pi­onship that Bay­ern had won just a few weeks ear­lier.

Mu­nich can’t af­ford a sim­i­lar re­sult as they lan­guish 17 points be­hind Dort­mund in sev­enth place. They have all but kissed the ti­tle good­bye but at least want to get a chance to play Cham­pi­ons League foot­ball for which they must fin­ish at least third.

“It will be tough but you can put other teams un­der pres­sure with a win­ning streak. It is up to us,” Mu­nich goal­keeper Joerg Butt told Thurs­day’s edi­tion of Kicker sports mag­a­zine. – Sapa-dpa

GALLO IM­AGES

IN THE HUNT: Werder Bre­men’s Per Merte­sacker has set his sights on haul­ing in league lead­ers Borus­sia Dort­mund.

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