Werder Bremen and Schalke 04 both warmed up in poor fashion for crunch Champions League clashes tomorrow as they were both beaten at home in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Werder Bremen are at home to Dutch side FC Twente in Group A, but they were beaten 3-2 at home by Nuremberg. Likewise, Schalke are at Hapoel Tel Aviv in Group B, but they slumped to a 1-0 defeat at home to Bayer Leverkusen — die Konigs-blauen’s sixth defeat in 10 games.
Bremen need to beat the Dutch titleholders at home tomorrow at the Weserstadion to keep their dreams of the round-of-16 alive and close the gap behind Group A leaders Inter and second-placed Tottenham Hotspur, but they squandered a possible chance to go third and slumped to their fourth defeat of the season.
“After the early opening goal, we suddenly stopped being as threatening and dangerous,” Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf said. “In the second half, we just made it too easy for our opponents.”
Bremen took an early lead when Hugo Almeida was left unmarked at the far post and Germany winger Marko Marin found him with an accurate cross, the Portugal striker heading home after just five minutes.
However, Nuremberg fought back when midfielder Ilkay Guendogan scored just before halftime, then fellow midfielder Mehmet Ekici put the guests ahead on 47 minutes.
Nuremberg had numerous chances to extend their lead and scored their third goal when Guen-dogan scored his third goal in two games, drilling in his shot on 73 minutes to compound Bremen’s misery.
Werder’s Claudio Pizarro pulled back a consolation goal in the 92nd minute, but it failed to save Bremen’s blushes.
Later on Saturday, Schalke also prepared for their trip to Israel by slumping to their sixth defeat as they lost 1-0 at home to Leverkusen.
The defeat keeps them second from bottom, while Leverkusen go third after midfielder Sidney Sam hit the winner in the 65th minute.
“This has been a difficult start,” Schalke’s Spanish striker Raul said. “We are lacking a good performance in the Bundesliga. We had our chances, but we are not scoring enough goals. That would have given us security and confidence, but instead we are afraid.”
Eintracht Frankfurt went fourth after their 3-1 win at St Pauli.
Veteran Greece striker Theofanis Gekas scored twice to take him onto nine goals and become the league’s top scorer after 10 games.
VfL Wolfsburg striker Edin Dzeko also netted twice in his side’s 2-0 win over VfB Stuttgart, while Hamburg SV were upset 3-2 at Cologne as Milivoje Novakovic scored a hat-trick.
Also on Saturday, Kasierslautern beat Borussia Moenchengladbach 3-0 at the Fritz Walter Stadion.