A draw is not a draw – Bremen realise
5 April 2004
HAMBURG – Werder Bremen woke up to the painful realities on Monday that not every Bundesliga draw is of the same quality.
“Will Werder keep their nerves?” asked Kicker sports magazine.
The Bild daily said: “Werder get the title jitters.”
Eight days ago Werder were hailed for their three-time comeback in a thrilling 4-4 Bundesliga draw at VfB Stuttgart.
On Sunday, however, there was no praise when they were held 1-1 at home by 10-man SC Freiburg, one of the worst away teams in the league.
Bremen are undefeated in 18 games but their lead has shrunk from 11 to seven points over Bayern Munich within a week with seven rounds left to play – including a meeting between the two in Munich.
But the Bremen camp furiously denied they were getting the jitters.
“We are not getting scared. We knew it would be a tough match,” insisted coach Thomas Schaaf.
“We are not thinking about the title and are not getting nervous. That was not the reason for the draw. We didn’t convert our chances, that’s why we didn’t win,” Schaaf said.
But Sunday’s mediocre showing and the result played heavily into the hands of Munich, who themselves won 2-0 at Kaiserslautern on Saturday.
Munich are now at home to Schalke while Bremen travel to struggling Frankfurt next weekend.
“Lets see what Bremen will do now,” said Munich playmaker Michael Ballack on Monday.
Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said even before Bremen’s match: “We won’t give up. We must be ready if Bremen start dropping points.”
Munich could draw encouragement from a look at the Bundesliga past.
Two years ago Bayer Leverkusen blew a five-point lead in the final three matches as Borussia Dortmund snatched the title.
And Bremen themselves have lost the title on the home stretch, most famously in 1986.
In the penultimate round that year Jan Kutzop fired a last-minute penalty against Munich against the post, the game ended 0-0 instead of Bremen taking the title with a win, and Munich stole the trophy in the final round.
In 1995, Bremen lost 3-1 in Munich in the final round which lifted Dortmund to the title.
But the Bremen camp insisted that Sunday’s match was not the start of a slump and that they were not paying any attention to the words from Munich.
“We are not interested in what Munich are doing. We must do our homework, then we will reach our goals,” said sports director Klaus Allofs.
Schaaf said: “We were delighted when we led by four points. So why should we become nervous with a seven-point lead?”
Subject: German news