Werder Bremen v. Hamburg SV
UEFA Cup – Semifinal Preview
First Leg: Thursday, April 30, 2009 – Weserstadion, Bremen, Germany
Second Leg: Thursday, May 7, 2009 – HSH Nordbank Arena, Hamburg, Germany
The UEFA Cup has taken on a domestic flavor as two German teams will square off in one Semifinal and two Ukrainian teams will clash in the other.
If Liverpool and Chelsea have seen enough of each other, both domestically and abroad, they have nothing on Werder Bremen and Hamburg SV. If familiarity breeds contempt, then these two clubs will detest each other by the time they meet in the league on May 10, 2009, by which time, they will have played each other four times in just under three weeks. If nothing else, these two clubs should be well-prepared for each other.
It’s already getting personal, with Hamburg skipper David Jarolim referring to Werder’s star midfielder, Diego, as a primadonna. However, Werder have won the first round, as they eliminated Hamburg in the Semifinals of the DFB Pokal on penalty kicks. That result ruined Hamburg’s bid for three trophies and will give Martin Jol’s club a lot of incentive as they gear up for another meeting with Werder Bremen.
Hamburg have been erratic in the Bundesliga, and if they miss out on the league title (as of April 26, 2009, they sit three points behind leaders Wolfsburg), they’ll have no one but themselves to blame. They’ve lost four out of their last eight league matches, including a humiliating 4-1 loss to Borussia Monchengladbach (who currently sit third-from-bottom).
They nearly blew their UEFA Cup Quarterfinal tie against Manchester City, holding on for dear life as City came within one goal of pulling off an incredible comeback after dropping the first leg, 3-1. In fact, after beating Manchester City in that first leg of the UEFA Cup Quarters, Hamburg have dropped four out of their last five matches.
Out of the five teams in the Bundesliga that are currently ticketed for Europe next season, Hamburg have, by far, the worst goal-differential at plus-two. That’s hardly the kind of form that Martin Jol wants out of his club.
Especially against a team that’s been scoring like Werder Bremen. Since the beginning of March, they’ve won seven and drawn five out of 14 matches, and have scored three or more goals on five occasions, including a 5-2 beatdown of current league leaders, Wolfsburg, and a 3-3 draw at Udinese in the second leg of the Quarterfinals.
They have plenty of firepower up front, including former Chelsea striker Claudio Pizarro (23 goals in all competitions), the aforementioned Diego (11 goals in all competitions), and Portuguese international Hugo Almeida (10 goals in all competitions). Plus, they have a number of well-respected German internationals in midfielder Torsten Frings and Per Mertesacker who will, no doubt, raise their games to another level now that they’re so close to a Cup Double.
Who will win between these two German clubs? Will Werder deny Hamburg once again? Or will Hamburg get revenge?
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