Europa League Preview: Werder Bremen - Valencia

Posted Friday, March 19, 2010 by Goal.com

The hosts will be the favourites to progress from this tie...

Kick-Off: Thursday, March 18, 2010, 18:00 CET.
Weserstadion, Bremen, Germany.


Advantage Bremen

Werder Bremen created a shock at the Mestalla last week when they almost defeated Valencia in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie. The game eventually finished in a 1-1 draw but not before the Spanish side had a man sent off.

That away goal has now put the impetus in Bremen's favour and the German side, who are currently just a point off a Europa League spot in the Bundesliga table, will be looking to take full advantage of it. Bremen have a formidable record too, as they have won all their games at home in the Europa League so far. Bremen have a good record against Valencia, as prior to their meeting last week, they confronted Los Che in December 2004 in a Champions League group stage match and actually won then at the Mestalla.

Staring At Elimination

Valencia were being hailed as one of the favourites for the Europa League but their dream of winning a major European competition since 2004 could fly out of the window on Thursday. Valencia weren't particularly bad against Bremen last week at the Mestalla, but drawing 1-1 at home in Europe is not a very good result, at least not in the knockout rounds.

Last Thursday, Valencia had their chances to win the game but couldn't take them. The story continued at the weekend too when they were clearly the better side in their league game against Barcelona on Sunday night in the first half but failed to take their chances and eventually went down 3-0, thanks to a superb Lionel Messi hat-trick.

Given Valencia's quality it wouldn't be particularly diffcult for them to win away from home on Thursday but they will have to score, and score early.

FORM GUIDE

Werder Bremen

March 14 v TSG Hoffenheim (A) - WON 1-0 (Bundesliga)

March 12 v Valencia (A) - DREW 1-1 (Europa League)

March 6 v VfB Stuttgart (H) - DREW 2-2 (Bundesliga)

February 27 v Mainz (A) - WON 2-1 (Bundesliga)

February 25 v Twente (H) - WON 4-1 (Europa League)

Valencia

March 15 v Barcelona (A) - LOST 3-0 (La Liga)

March 12 v Werder Bremen (H) - DREW 1-1 (Europa League)

March 8 v Racing Santander (H) - DREW 0-0 (La Liga)

February 28 v Atletico Madrid (A) - LOST 4-1 (La Liga)

February 25 v Club Brugge (H) - WON 3-0 (Europa League)


TEAM NEWS

Werder Bremen

Torsten Frings suffered a hip injury on Sunday and missed training on Monday to undergo treatment, while Mesut Ozil missed the weekend fixture but could be back for Thursday evening's match.

Probable Line-up (4-3-3): Wiese, Fritz, Mertesacker, Naldo, Abdennour;  Ozil, Frings, Borowski; Marin, Pizarro, Hunt

Valencia

David Albelda and Bruno are both injury concerns but there is hope that both will recover in time for Thursday's fixture. David Villa is back in training.

Probable Line-up (4-2-3-1): Cesar, Miguel, Marchena, Dealbert, Alexis; Fernandes, Baraja; Joaquin, Mata, Silva; Villa


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Claudio Pizarro (Werder Bremen)

The former Chelsea striker is currently the top scorer in the Europa League, having notched an impressive eight goals. Pizarro's time at Chelsea was not very fruitful but he has rejuvenated himself at Bremen. Although he was unable to score at the Mestalla, the Peruvian will be hopeful of doing so at home on Thursday.

David Villa (Valencia)

The Spanish international striker missed the league game against Barcelona due to an injury but he is back for the trip to Bremen. Villa is arguably the best striker in the world and his presence will certainly inject Valencia with a healthy dose of confidence. Valencia created chance after chance against Barcelona at the weekend but they lacked a finisher like Villa.


PREDICTION

Valencia won't find it easy against Bremen in Germany but they do have the firepower to score. This game could go into extra time and after that it is either side's match.

Valencia 1-1 Werder Bremen (4-3 on penalties)



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