Under-pressure Schaaf gets Allofs' backing

Werder Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf has received backing from the club's director of sport Klaus Allofs, despite last season's Bundesliga runners-up dropping to tenth in the league. Werder's erratic form this season continued when they were humbled 1-0 at Schalke yesterday, putting them seven points from a place in Europe for next season.

"What is important is the work of Thomas Schaaf and in his field there is no doubt," Allofs said. "The team played well [against Schalke] and you can see the work of the trainer."

But the league table speaks for itself; Bremen are 13 points behind leaders Hoffenheim. "I do not look at the league table with any pleasure, but I believe that we have the potential to improve," said Allofs.

Schaaf, 47, has coached Bremen since May 1999 and under his leadership, Bremen have been one of Bayern Munich's main domestic rivals. Under his stewardship, Bremen won the 2004 Bundesliga title and have also been in the UEFA Champions League every year since 2004. The fact that Bremen's chief playmaker Diego has been suspended since December has not helped the cause and Allofs admits Schaaf's position is not completely secure.

"One is not bound by an oath of fidelity and the question [of his departure] could be posed one day, but that will not be in the near future," Allofs said.

As Borussia Moenchengladbach and Stuttgart have both parted company with their coaches thus far this season, Schaaf could well be the third Bundesliga trainer to go unless things improve.