Bremen boss Schaaf hits back at critics

German Football
By German Football May 7, 2009 14:38

Bremen boss Schaaf hits back at critics

Werder Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf has hit back at critics who have accused him of distorting the Bundesliga by fielding a weakened side.

Schaaf left Diego and Mesut Ozil out of the team which was beaten 1-0 by Cologne last Sunday as he turned his attention to Thursday night’s crucial UEFA Cup semi-final against Hamburg.

With nothing left to play for in the Bundesliga, where Bremen are languishing in mid-table, the northern Germany side are instead concentrating on the UEFA Cup and DFB-Pokal, which are their only remaining hopes of silverware.

However, some of Cologne’s fellow Bundesliga strugglers, who are scrapping to avoid relegation, have accused Schaaf of putting them at an unfair disadvantage by fielding a weakened side and, thus, making life easier for Cologne.

Schaaf is furious at the suggestions, saying they are nonsense.

”I cannot listen to this any longer,” he said. ”We are always being accused of something which is simply not true.

”I don’t agree with this current criticism. Anybody who accuses us of anything in this respect should look at our games against Leverkusen and Bochum, for example.

”That should make it clear to them how easily we gift points and don’t care about the Bundesliga anymore.

”Everybody should take a look at themselves and make sure they do their own things right and let us work in peace and quiet here.”

Schaaf insists Diego and Ozil were both injured at the weekend while neither are certain to return on Thursday night.

Bremen trail 1-0 from the first leg and travel to their local rivals knowing they need to score to stand any chance of reaching the final in Istanbul, which is why having Diego and Ozil in top condition would enhance their chances of success.

”I am fighting to have the chance to still play against HSV on Thursday, but I cannot give the green light yet,” said Ozil.

”I still have pain in both knees, but things are getting better. I really want to play on Thursday and reach the final in Istanbul.”

Diego added he ”really could not have played in Cologne”, but he too is confident of recovering for Thursday`s game.

”This is a very important game for the club and I would never do anything to jeopardise my involvement against Hamburg.”

Hamburg have the upper hand in three previous meetings with Bremen this season, beating them in the Bundesliga and in the first leg of this semi-final tie, although they lost out in the semi-final of the DFB-Pokal after a 1-1 draw.

Unlike Bremen, they also have ambitions in the Bundesliga, where they trail league leaders Wolfsburg by five points with four games of the season remaining, but this competition still ranks high on their list of priorities.

”The city of Hamburg needs a title,” said defender Guy Demel in the Hamburger Morgenpost newspaper.

”After missing out on a place in the DFB-Pokal final, I was sad and couldn’t sleep very well.

”We want to take our next chance.”

Hamburg are without the suspended Jose Paolo Guerrero, but Mladen Petric is set to return after recovering from the deep wound he suffered against Bremen in their DFB-Pokal tie a fortnight ago.

”It is high time that he plays again,” said Jol, who could do with his top scorer, particularly on a night when a penalty shoot-out is a possibility.

Hamburg lost out to Bremen on penalties in the DFB-Pokal semi-final, but are set to practice them in training.

[Soccernet]

German Football
By German Football May 7, 2009 14:38
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