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Bremen held at home by minnows Anorthosis

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 16 Sep 2008

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Werder Bremen made a low-key and unimpressive start to their Champions League campaign on Tuesday night with a scoreless draw against Cypriot debutants Anorthosis Famagusta.

Anorthosis became the first Cypriot team to reach the competition's group stage after beating Greece's Olympiakos in the final qualifying round, but neither side produced much in the way of attacking football here.

“We were hunting for a goal right up until the last minute, but didn't produce enough pressure to force our opponents into a mistake,” Germany defender Per Mertesacker said.

“Perhaps there was some quality missing in our finishing.

“But we are very disappointed and must improve.

“Werder Bremen are famous for our comebacks.”

With Inter Milan and Greek side Panathinaikos also in Group B, both Bremen and Famagusta will need to play much better if they are to have any chance of making the Champions League's knock-out phase.

With Germany midfielders Clemens Fritz and Torsten Frings playing alongside Brazilian Diego, Bremen were at full-strength, but lacked much in the way of finishing as they failed to convert a string of chances against a poor defence.

While Famagusta are top of their domestic league with two wins from two, Bremen only picked up their first Bundesliga win of the season last Saturday at the fourth attempt and their lack of form was clear on Tuesday night.

And the Cypriots rarely threatened Tim Weise in the Bremen goal.

Former Chelsea striker Claudio Pizarro was the most industrious player in the first half with his best effort being a header straight at Famagusta goalkeeper Arjan Beqaj on 24 minutes.

On 54 minutes, Bremen's Swedish striker Markus Rosenberg found the back of the net to much celebration, but he was judged off-side and the score stayed 0-0.

Germany midfielder Fritz went close just after the hour mark, but the best chance of the second-half fell to Portuguese substitute Hugo Almeida who fired his shot over the bar on 78 minutes.

Anorthosis' best chance of the night came with five minutes left when Greek defender Traianos Dellas hammered in his shot from 25 metres out, but Weise dealt with the threat.

Bremen will have to raise their game when they travel to Milan to face Inter in the next round on October 1, while Anorthosis will host Panathinaikos in Cyprus.

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