Holders Inter humbled in Bremen
© AFP

Inter Milan settled for second place in UEFA Champions League Group A as they put in a feeble display in a comprehensive defeat at Werder Bremen.

A first-half header from Sebastien Prodl combined with a glorious volley from former Inter man Marko Arnautovic and a sharp strike from substitute Claudio Pizarro after the break earned Bremen their first win in the group. It could have been even more emphatic for the Germans who hit the post and the bar as they carved open the defending champions in the second half.

"We can be very pleased," said Bremen director of sport Klaus Allofs. "In the second half, the team went up a gear. Regardless of how tough the group was, it's annoying that we're now out of the tournament."

The Italians were woeful, offering almost nothing going forward and conceding their 11th goal of the competition, one more than they let in in their run all the way to the title last term. The result will do little to ease the pressure on boss Rafael Benitez, whose side are also well off the pace in Serie A.

Inter president Massimo Moratti had insisted ahead of the match the visitors would go for the win, but they looked anything but up for the fight in a desperate showing. Paolo Orlandoni, their 38-year-old goalkeeper, kept them on level terms by tipping Hugo Almeida's shot from Aaron Hunt's cross over the top. He was beaten in the 39th minute, though, as Prodl got the run on his marker and met Torsten Frings' high outswinging corner with a firm header into the bottom corner from eight yards.

We can be very pleased.
Klaus Allofs, Werder Sporting Director

Goran Pandev wasted a good chance for Inter when, 25 yards from goal, he chose to shoot despite having better options left and right and the effort was blocked.

Arnautovic, who spent last season on loan at Inter from Twente, doubled the lead in spectacular fashion four minutes after the break. The Austria striker met Almeida's cross from the left on the volley at the near post and swept the ball powerfully into the net with his left foot before Orlandoni could react.

The visitors almost found a lifeline midway through the second half. Pandev's cross was missed by everyone and came back off the inside of the far post with keeper Tim Wiese motionless, Esteban Cambiasso stabbing the follow-up wide under pressure.

At the other end Orlandoni had to be alert to prevent Inter going even further behind, superbly parrying Aaron Hunt's shot. Per Mertesacker then saw his excellent header from a Hunt free-kick come back off the post as Bremen continued to threaten more goals.

The Germans were cutting the defending champions apart almost at will and Hunt, having run at the defence before spreading the ball wide to Dominik Schmidt, met his team-mate's low cross with a shot which deflected off Ivan Cordoba and came back off the underside of the bar. A third goal was coming and it arrived in the 88th minute as Pizarro turned Cambiasso and drilled a low shot in off the post to complete a thoroughly miserable night for Inter.