Humbled Werder look to learn from Lyon defeat
Thursday 10 March 2005
Werder Bremen say their mortifying 10-2 aggregate defeat by Lyon has made the club all the more determined to qualify for the Champions' League again next season and set the record straight.
The German champions, beaten 3-0 at home in the first leg two weeks ago, were thrashed 7-2 by the French side in the return leg on Tuesday - a result that equalled the heaviest defeat by a German side in the Champions' League.
"Our goal must be to qualify for the Champions' League again, to show that we can learn from this experience," said the Werder captain, Frank Baumann. "We also now need to prove that we're worth a place at the highest level."
The margin of defeat matched Werder's own 5-0 loss to Porto in the Champions' League 11 years ago, and the aggregate score was the worst suffered by a German club in the 50-year history of the European Cup.
The scoreline was all the more incredible given that when the draw was made, the tie between the German and French champions was billed as evenly matched.
Even after the first leg there was a glimmer of hope for the Germans. Back in the 1999-2000 season, Werder had lost 3-0 in the first leg of their Uefa Cup third round tie against Lyon, albeit away from home, before storming back to win the return 4-0.
This time, there was never even a hint of heroics, as Lyon showed the skill and composure that helped them finish above Manchester United in the group phase.
"The knockout phase is a different world," said Valerien Ismaël, who scored Werder's 57th minute penalty. "You have to run more, jump higher and take every chance you get."
Werder are by no means certain of being in the Champions' League again next season. A 1-0 defeat by Bayern Munich on Saturday left them in the third and final Champions' League qualifying slot in the Bundesliga, with four teams pushing them hard.
The Werder sporting director, Klaus Allofs, believes qualifying again will be vital to the club's mission of matching Lyon's improvement. "We beat Lyon five years ago," Allofs said. "Since then they've always been competitive in international competitions and have won their championship for the past three years. That helps a team mature and it strengthens them. That's got to be our goal as well.
"The result shows that we have a lot to learn and a long way to go before we've reached the top in Europe."
* Spain's Anti-violence Commission is to ask for tougher punishment for the national coach, Luis Aragones, for the abusive remarks he made about France striker Thierry Henry. The Spanish Football Federation's (RFEF) disciplinary committee handed Aragones a 3,000 euro (£2,080) fine for the comments made last year. "We do not agree with the (RFEF's) Disciplinary Committee that the offence is merely one of decorum," said the Anti-violence Commission president, Rafael Blanco. He added that the government-run body considered Aragones's remarks to be linked with racism and xenophobia.
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