Werder Bremen's director of sport Klaus Allofs hopes that yesterday's 2-2 draw with Bayer Leverkusen will be the turning point in his side's season. Two goals in the last eight minutes earned Bremen a point from the jaws of defeat, and Allofs feels the way his players fought back augurs well for the future.
"You must never give up and sometimes the impossible is possible in football," he said. "This was a win for our morale. It also taught the team something and this lesson should make our job easier. This point will bring the team closer together, but we will still have to win soon to get out of danger. This should be stimulation for all of our games."
Bremen had slipped into the bottom three before yesterday's game, while Leverkusen were aiming to move six points clear of third-placed Bayern Munich in the hunt for the second automatic qualification berth for the UEFA Champions League next season.
Doubts had been raised about whether Thomas Schaaf was the right man to lead Bremen to safety in his 13th season in charge, but Allofs says there cannot be any such doubt. "Of course there are people who say that he is no longer the right coach, but the majority still want him," he said. "And he can see that."
Leverkusen coach Jupp Heynckes revealed himself to be one of Schaaf's biggest fans after the match as he hid his own disappointment at losing two points and praised his counterpart.
"He is one of the greats in the Bundesliga and he is one of the all-time greats," said Heynckes, who was sitting just several feet away from a visibly moved Schaaf at the post-match press conference. I saw Thomas very relaxed and in total control of things today and I can remember all that he has built here in Bremen and those fantastic European cup evenings."
Bremen will probably have to wait more than a year for more of those European nights at the Weser Stadion, although the opportunity to qualify again next season by remaining in the Bundesliga will still be an achievement this season, as was yesterday's point. "To get a draw when you were 2-0 down in our situation is a success," said Schaaf.