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VfL Wolfsburg
By ESPN Staff

Werder coach Schaaf grappling with injury crisis

Werder Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf is assessing the walking wounded in his injury-hit squad ahead of Wednesday's UEFA Cup final against Shakhtar Donetsk.

"I do not know who is fit and who can play," Schaaf told a news conference on Tuesday an hour before his side were due to train at the Sukru Saracoglu stadium.

"I am not even thinking about a (team) formation yet."

Schaaf will definitely be without influential playmaker Diego and striker Hugo Almeida, who are suspended, while defender Per Mertesacker is injured and will not play.

Captain Frank Baumann is battling to shake off a muscle strain, as is Brazilian defender Naldo. Strikers Claudio Pizarro and Markus Rosenberg missed the home defeat by Karlsruhe on Saturday after picking up injuries.

Schaaf said Diego, Almeida and Mertesacker "cannot be replaced on a one-to-one basis" but he would still be able to field a strong team.

Brazilian Diego, who has scored six UEFA Cup goals in Werder's run to the final, has been heavily linked with a move to Juventus with German media reporting on Wednesday the deal was worth about 29 million euros ($39.5 million).

Werder general manager Klaus Allofs said a transfer was "still up in the air despite weeks of talks" while Schaaf told reporters Diego had not yet played his last game for the club.

"We still have an important league match against (Bundesliga leaders) Wolfsburg and then the German Cup final (against Bayer Leverkusen)," he said. "Diego will play a part in these games".

Werder have endured a disappointing league campaign and are in 10th place going into their final game but midfielder Torsten Frings said two Cup final appearances went some way to making up for their inconsistent season.

"If we win a trophy then the season will have been a success," he said. "We are not happy with our Bundesliga form but we have the chance to make up for that."


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