Panathinaikos must beat Werder to keep up hopes of advancing

Panathinaikos must win tonight’s Champions League Group C home game against Werder Bremen if it wants to stand a chance of advancing to the round of 16 of this most prestigious European soccer club competition. The Greek team has not been convincing so far, either in European or domestic competition. It only won its first Greek League match in Sunday’s fourth round against lowly Panionios; in Europe, it made heavy weather of beating a weak Polish team, Wisla, needing an overtime 4-1 win in Athens to overcome a 3-1 defeat in Krakow. Then, it crashed 3-0 against Italian club Udinese, which was playing its first-ever Champions League match. Werder, which lost 2-0 at home to group favorite Barcelona, is also seeking its first win and cannot be taken lightly. «We will be vastly improved in all respects. The Germans have a strong midfield and so we have to be strong there, too. We must avoid defensive mistakes,» Panathinaikos coach Alberto Malesani told reporters yesterday. Malesani’s promise that he has a long-term (five-year) plan to build up a strong Panathinaikos has not sat well with impatient Greek supporters.