Schalke were under pressure to find three points at home against Benfica, after losing their opening Champions League match by a score of one goal to nil away to Lyon. Werder Bremen, on the other hand, came back in their opening match after being two-nil down to grab a deserved point. Travelling to Inter, though, pulling off a result like that would be near impossible.
Schalke 04 2 – 0 SL Benfica
I have to say, I didn’t see this one coming at all. I thought Benfica would control the match and the physicality of Oscar Cardozo would provide a massive test for Schalke’s back-line, but at the end of the day it was Schalke who came out victorious. Schalke are now unbeaten in three matches in all competitions, which is a huge step up from where they were just a fortnight ago.
A late flurry of action provided the win for Schalke, with goals from Jefferson Farfan and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who has been on flying form for the Konigsblauen since signing in the summer. This is a big win for Schalke, and will help boost confidence around the camp and relieve the pressure on Felix Magath. They’ll have to keep it up though, or wins like these will be all for nothing. Schalke host Hapoel Tel-Aviv in their next Champions League fixture, and will look to grab another three points to boost their chances of a round of sixteen spot.
Internazionale 4 – 0 Werder Bremen
After so much being made about Inter losing Jose Mourinho in the summer, and about Inter going through a crisis after losing to Roma on the weekend, Inter certainly brushed off the media nonsense and got on very professionally. Werder Bremen were absolutely torn apart here. Inter were rampant. Youngster Coutinho made his full debut for the Italian and European champions, and looked an absolute revelation. His passing was superb, his vision was excellent, and he took Wesley – who slotted in at right-back because of Clemens Fritz’s injury – apart. A star of the future, for sure.
Samuel Eto’o got up to his old ways and scored a fantastic hat-trick, and Wesley Sneijder got one of his own as well. Eto’o was virtually unplayable; Prodl and Mertesacker couldn’t get anywhere near him. His pace was far too much for the Bremen back-line to deal with, and they lost him almost every time he made a forward run. Marko Marin featured, but was completely subdued by Esteban Cambiasso and Cristian Chivu. Even his set-pieces were woeful.
Thomas Schaaf has been under incredible pressure already, and has even had to face the board in an emergency meeting, and this result will not help his cause at all. Werder Bremen travel to Twente for their next Champions League encounter, and will be lucky to get out of Holland with a point if they play like this again. While they were missing Torsten Frings, Clemens Fritz and Claudio Pizarro, the entire side played very poorly and the loss was well deserved.
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