Juventus were within two minutes of elimination from the UEFA Champions League when Brazilian midfielder Emerson accepted an unexpected gift from Werder Bremen to earn the Serie A leaders a place in the quarter-finals.
Like the first leg in Bremen, won 3-2 by the German side, there was drama from first minute to last in Turin. The scorer of the deciding goal at the Weserstadion, Johan Micoud, broke the deadlock after 13 minutes before Juve staged a stirring second-half comeback to win the tie through strikes from David Trezeguet and Emerson - the latter after young Bremen goalkeeper Tim Wiese inexplicably spilled the ball under no pressure near his penalty spot.
Juve went close to taking the lead with their very first attack after three minutes, when Pavel Nedvěd appeared behind the visiting rearguard and struck a dangerous low ball across goal from the right-hand side of the box. With Trezeguet shaping to score with a trademark close-range shot, Patrick Owomoyela stretched to clear to safety narrowly ahead of the striker. When the opening goal arrived ten minutes later, it was from the boot of a Frenchman, though not one of Trezeguet's. Micoud expertly finished a delightfully simple move which sliced open the heart of the Bianconeri defence.
Receiving the ball in midfield, Tim Borowski passed first time to Christian Schulz who, in turn, found Micoud advancing into the Juventus area. The playmaker drew Gianluigi Buffon towards the ball before delicately and deliciously flicking it over the Italian international with his right foot. Fabio Capello's men took the game straight back to the visitors, with Nedvěd heading a corner straight at Wiese on the quarter-hour mark and Schulz almost nodding a long ball into his own net with the outrushing Wiese completely stranded following a breakdown in communication.
From the ensuing corner, Zlatan Ibrahimović pounced on a loose clearance only for his half-volley to be charged down by Owomoyela. The lively Germany full-back then picked out Ivan Klasnić with a searching pass from the halfway line which the Croatia striker blazed over with his left foot as the match swung from end to end. Klasnić was again denied by Buffon when he turned and shot in the box following more good running from Owomoyela, yet it was Juventus who had the better of the flurry of late opportunities in the half.
With another outswinging corner deceiving the Bremen back line, Nedvěd pounced on the loose ball on the edge of the area and unleashed a fierce effort which Wiese blocked. The ball fell at the feet of the unmarked Emerson who - like everyone in the Delle Alpi - looked on in disbelief as the 24-year-old goalkeeper turned his follow-up shot over the bar with his body. It was a measure of Juve's intent that they returned for the second period early, and worked four openings in as many minutes with Nedvěd involved each time.
Having withstood that early storm, Bremen almost struck a second as Borowski fired wide under pressure from Fabio Cannavaro in the 53rd minute. Capello responded by bringing on Alessandro Del Piero and Adrian Mutu and within eight minutes the Serie A leaders were level. Trezeguet started the move and finished it, lifting the ball over the Bremen defence for Nedvěd, who took it on his chest and sped towards the edge of the area where Trezeguet stole in to dispatch a low drive beyond Wiese.
Wiese was then equal to everything that Juventus threw at him until he presented the tie to the two-time winners in the 88th minute, Emerson atoning for his earlier miss by rolling the ball into an unguarded net.
©UEFA.com 1998-2014. All rights reserved.