BREMEN (Germany) (AFP) Werder Bremen proved there is life after Mesut Ozil with a convincing 3-1 win over Sampdoria at home in the first leg of the Champions League qualification match here on Wednesday. Bremen have never lost to an Italian side at home and Thomas Schaafs men maintained their proud record which puts them in pole-position for next Tuesdays second-leg in Sampdoria. The three goals by Clemens Fritz, captain Torsten Frings and Claudio Pizzaro came just 24 hours after Bremen sold Germanys rising star and playmaker Ozil to Real Madrid. Bremens loss may be Reals gain, but the north German club took a big step towards a lucrative Champions League place by seeing off the Italians. Sampdoria gave themselves a late lifeline as striker Giampaolo Pazzini out-leapt Germany centre-back Per Mertesacker to score a valuable away goal ahead of the second leg. But Bremen are favourites to join fellow Bundesliga sides Bayern Munich and Schalke 04 in the draw for the group stages. I am sure that we will score a goal in Genoa, but it is annoying that we conceded a goal late in the game, said Bremens director of sport Klaus Allofs. And Schaaf admitted he was relieved to see his side score three goals. We made life hard for ourselves at the start, but we improved after the break and - thank god - we scored some goals, said Schaaf. Both Bremen and Sampdoria had their chances to score in the first half as Bremen striker Hugo Almeida could only head over the bar after a deflected shot from Pizzaro. At the other end Pazzini, missed an early chance as Sampdoria made a bright start, but it finished 0-0 at the break. Germany midfielder Fritz broke the deadlock in the 51st minute when defender Fernando Tissone made a mistake just outside the penalty area. The 29-year-old unleashed an unstoppable shot which screamed past Italian goalkeeper Gianluca Curci and into the back right-hand corner of the net. Bremen then made sure they will take the ideal result to Italy next Tuesday when defender Stefano Lucchini hauled down Bremens Sebastian Proedl in the penalty area on 66 minutes. The referee Stephane Lannoy wasted no time showing him a second yellow card and the subsequent red while awarding Werder a penalty. Former Germany midfielder Torsten Frings slotted home the penalty. Pizarro made it 3-0 just two minutes later when Almeida back-heeled the ball back into the path of the Peru international and he wasted no time in rifling his shot past Curci on 69 minutes, before Pazzinis late header. Sampdoria now have it all to do ahead of Tuesdays return leg at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.