Bremen braced for Al Ain challenge

Werder Bremen head coach Thomas Schaaf says the friendly match against Al Ain is "very important".

DUBAI// Werder Bremen head coach Thomas Schaaf said tonight's friendly match against Al Ain was "very important". The UAE-Germany Super Cup game wil be one of two games the German side will play in the Emirates as they prepare for the second half of the Bundesliga season. The German top division will return to action on January 16 after the winter break with Werder travelling to Eintracht Frankfurt.

"We are here to find a successful rhythm for the league," said Schaaf. "We are starting very early this year. So it is necessary to be on a good level for the restart. "We do not have much time to prepare, so this is a very important match for us. "We will be taking it very seriously and I hope we can play well and make the best use of this opportunity. "We have another game [against Tunisia on Friday], and we are banking on these two games to show us the right way forward."

Werder are sixth in the table, just seven points behind leaders Bayer Leverkusen. "We need to get ready really fast," said Werder captain Torsten Frings. "Making a good start to the second half of the season is very, very important. So the first game will be crucial." "We are hoping to catch up with the team who are fighting for the title. The important thing will be to convert the draws into wins."

For Al Ain, the game will be a chance to test themselves against a top-class side ahead of the AFC Champions League and resumption of the Pro League. "We believe it will be a great opportunity for our players to gain experience by playing against different football schools," said Al Ain assistant coach Marco. Al Ain v Werder Bremen, 8pm, Abu Dhabi Sports 1