Hamburg wary of Werder Bremen in UEFA Cup

Martin Jol knows what it's like to be beaten in a penalty shootout by Werder Bremen and has asked his players to avoid a repeat in the UEFA Cup.

updated: May 06, 2009 11:32 IST
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Hamburg manager Martin Jol knows what it's like to be beaten in a penalty shootout by Werder Bremen and has been putting his players to work to avoid a repeat in the UEFA Cup.

Hamburg needs only to avoid defeat at home on Thursday to reach this month's final, and Jol has said he will make his squad practice penalties following last month's German Cup defeat against the same opponent.

With Hamburg leading 1-0 following last week's first-leg match and Dynamo Kiev tied at 1-1 ahead of its trip to Shakhtar Donetsk, both semifinals are finely poised.

The only thing that is certain is that it will be a Germany vs. Ukraine final in Istanbul on May 20.

Two games without a Bundesliga win have made Hamburg an outsider for the German league title, so the UEFA Cup represents its best chance of a trophy in Jol's debut season.

"Things are going good," Jol said. "It's May and we have only important games left. It's the best for a player."

With the UEFA Cup set to be revamped as the Europa League next season, this is Hamburg's last chance to add the title to its other continental wins.

Hamburg won the European Cup, the precursor to the Champions League, in 1983 and lifted the now-defunct Cup Winners' Cup in 1977.

Hamburg will be bolstered by the expected return of striker Mladen Petric, who has been out for two weeks because of a cut on his shin.

Petric, who has 20 goals for Hamburg this season, is likely to line up alongside fellow Croatia international Ivica Olic with Paolo Guerrero suspended.

Defender Axel Silva is nursing a thigh injury but Jol expects him to be fit for the third of four matches between the two teams in 19 days.

Bremen, which is five places and 16 points behind Hamburg with four games remaining in the Bundesliga, expects to have midfielders Diego and Mesut Oezil back after both missed a 1-0 loss at Cologne at the weekend.

Both were officially reported injured _ Diego with back problems and Oezil with knee problems _ but many suspect they were simply rested.

Striker Hugo Almeida is still doubtful though after suffering a big cut on his leg in the first leg in Hamburg, while defender Petri Pasanen is definitely out.

Dynamo Kiev has a superior European record than Shakhtar, winning the Cup Winners' Cup in 1975 and 1986 during its Soviet heyday.

And while Dynamo needs only to avoid defeat in one of its last four Ukrainian league matches to replace Shakhtar as national champion, it faces a far tougher task on Thursday.

En route to its first European semifinal, Shakhtar has not conceded a goal in its last four European matches at Olympic Stadium in Donetsk. It beat Basel 5-0 in the Champions League group stage then enjoyed three 2-0 victories in the UEFA Cup.

Dynamo Kiev has shown it knows how to progress after an unfavorable result at home. Facing a similar situation in the round of 32 following a 1-1 first-leg draw with Valencia, Dynamo drew 2-2 in Spain to advance on away goals.

"We were in the same situation against Valencia," goalkeeper Stanislav Bogush said. "In my opinion, Valencia are a better team then Shakhtar. I'm confident we will go through to the final."

Dynamo also progressed on away goals against fellow Ukrainian side Metalist Kharkiv in the round of 16, hinting that another draw represents its best chance since it is winless in its last four away matches in Europe.

"The tactic of such matches is well known _ to score an away goal," Shakhtar captain Darijo Srna said. "We have secured a narrow advantage. Let them think of us now.

"It's clear that they will have to score."

Dynamo will be without injured defender Taras Mikhalic, although striker Artem Milevskiy, who scored six goals in eight matches in Europe this season, is likely to recover from the hip injury he sustained in the first leg.

Coach Yuri Syomin rested most of his key players in the domestic league 1-0 win over Zarya Lugansk on Sunday.

Shakhtar reported no injuries after Sunday's 1-0 league victory over Kryviy Rig, but could be without suspended defender Aleksandr Kucher.

"The second game will be even more tough," Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu said. "Sometimes it's more difficult to play at home than away."