Bayern Munich cruised past Maccabi Tel-Aviv in the Champions League on Tuesday night to reach the knock-out phase but Bayer Leverkusen and Werder Bremen need to win their last games after drawing in their matches.
Bayern went through but the fate of Bremen and Bayer is still undecided
German champions Werder Bremen face a daunting trip to Spanish champions Valencia in 12 days time if they are to qualify for the last sixteen of the Champions League following a 1-1 draw with Inter Milan on Wednesday.
Frenchman Valerien Ismael converted a spot-kick to forge Bremen ahead in the 49th minute but Nigerian substitute Obafemi Martins levelled six minutes later thanks to a moment of genius from Dejan Stankovic.
Inter have already qualified for the knockout phase but Bremen must avoid defeat in Valencia after the Spaniards won 2-1 in Anderlecht. Bremen have ten points compared to Valencia's seven and have already defeated the Spaniards 2-1.
However, a 1-0 win for Claudio Ranieri's Valencia side will send Bremen crashing out. "The team went forward for the 90 minutes and showed how much they wanted to win," said Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf. "We have our fate in our own hands and that is important" Werder midfielder Fabian Ernst added, "It is all or nothing now."
Inter fielded a so-called reserve team having already qualified for the next stage but the presence of Dutch international Edgar Davids, Argentine international Javier Zanetti and Italian striking ace Christian Vieri underlined their strength-in-depth. Vieri was put clean through on goal after five minutes but lost his footing at the crucial moment to the relief of the Bremen supporters.
The hosts probed but did not create their first opening until the 28th minute. Croat Ivan Klasnic whipped an inviting cross for strike partner Miroslav Klose but the German international headed wide of the post.
Inter saw little of the ball but looked dangerous on the counter attack and Argentine midfielder Estaban Cambiasso came close near half-time with his shot whistling past the post of Bremen goalkeeper Andreas Reinke.
Bremen's Valerien Ismael.
While the first period had few noteworthy incidents the first ten minutes of the second half were action packed. With 49 minutes gone Inter's Argentine Julio Cruz pressed the self-destruct button fouling Ludovic Magnin as a corner from the right was delivered and referee Gilles Veissiere pointed to the spot. French defender Ismael (photo), sent off in the opening 2-0 loss against Inter in Milan, stepped up to slot home the spot-kick.
Inter stage magic comeback
The celebrations at the Weserstadion were short-lived though as they were carved apart by a moment of magic from Serbia and Montenegro star Stankovic six minutes later. Stankovic produced a sublime chip that rebounded off the post and Nigerian substitute Martins, only on the pitch for three minutes, reacted first to bullet in a header.
"Bremen really wanted to beat us but my team stood firm," said Inter coach Roberto Mancini. "I was happy with the display and think the draw was a fair result."
Klose went close for Bremen late on with a header but Francesco Toldo produced a low save to keep the scores all square. Bremen must now show their metal at the Mestalla Stadium where Valencia are typically strong.