Munich - After a stirring performance to keep the Bundesliga flag waving proudly in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday, Eintracht Frankfurt now return to domestic duties hoping to build on their 2-2 draw at FC Porto when they host SV Werder Bremen on Sunday (kick-off 14:30 GMT/15:30 CET).
The Eagles overturned a two-goal deficit, scoring two goals to give them every chance of reaching the last 16 when they host the Portuguese side next Thursday.
Before then, though, Frankfurt need three points in the Bundesliga to give them a bit more breathing space at the bottom. "Now we're focusing on Bremen," said captain Pirmin Schwegler only minutes after one of the most memorable nights of European football in the club's recent history. The positive memories should come in particularly useful against a side level on points with them in the Bundesliga.
"We're all a little tired right now, but this result should give us a push," said Marco Russ, who will miss the return leg with Porto on Thursday due to suspension, although even that had a positive aspect for the 28-year-old. "It's bitter, but at least I can then play against Napoli," he added. The Italian Serie A side could lie in wait for the winners, although Frankfurt are trying not to think that too far ahead just yet.
No jetlag concerns
Bremen is all that matters right now, and recharging the batteries in time for Sunday's clash, less than 48 hours after Frankfurt set foot back on German soil on Friday, is not too big a concern for coach Armin Veh. "When you are successful, then you always recover quicker," he said. "I expect us to be fresh and there's a chance that we play with the same starting XI."
Bremen coach Robin Dutt hopes otherwise. "I'm not sure how they will be able to cope with the travelling," he said. More pertinently for him, he is keen to see how both Santiago Garcia and Aaron Hunt react to their returns to training this week. "If things work out, then we'll have a full squad to choose from for the first time," Dutt said. "That would leave us with some decisions to make."
Hunt missed Bremen's 1-1 draw with Borussia Mönchengladbach last weekend, only the second time he has not featured all season after also missing Matchday 19's 3-1 defeat to FC Augsburg. In his absence, Eljero Elia has failed to take his chance in the starting XI, but he has vowed to improve on that, acknowledging he can and must do more.
"We didn't play well in our last two games, and I didn't play either, and the coach has told me so," said the fleet-footed winger. "Things are not going that well for me right now, but in two or three weeks, things are going to be different. I'm going to put my foot down." If the Dutchman can take flight on Sunday, then so too can Bremen, who are as keen as Frankfurt are to leave the bottom three at a safe distance below them.
Frankfurt: Trapp - Jung, Zambrano, Russ, Oczipka - Schwegler - Rode, Flum - Meier - Aigner, Kadlec
Bremen: Wolf - Ignjovski, Prödl, Caldirola, Garcia - Bargfrede, Kroos - Junuzovic, Obraniak - Di Santo, Petersen