A header from Johan Micoud two minutes into added time earned Werder Bremen a dramatic victory against Juventus and gave the German side a slender but potentially crucial advantage to take to Italy for the second leg of their UEFA Champions League first knockout round tie in a fortnight's time.
The home team struck first through Christian Schulz late in the first period, but two goals in nine minutes late in the second half, from Pavel Nedvěd and David Trezeguet, seemed to have turned the match in the visitors' favour. Bremen refused to buckle, however, and a clever finish from Tim Borowski three minutes from time revived their hopes, before Micoud nodded in from a corner seconds before the final whistle to the delight of the vociferous home support.
Bremen had vowed to take the game to their illustrious opponents but instead the away side carved out the first chance of the night, Mauro Camoranesi rippling the roof of Tim Wiese's net with a header from Nedvěd's corner. The warning served to spark the hosts into action, with Micoud growing in influence and on 13 minutes Torsten Frings found Miroslav Klose with a searching ball that the German international headed into the path of Ivan Klasnić, but the Croatian blazed over. Frings then had a shot himself before his low pass narrowly eluded Klose.
Five minutes later Klose returned the compliment, finding Frings unmarked and in space at the far post only for Gianluigi Buffon to turn his half-volley away, before the Juventus goalkeeper stretched to keep out Frank Fahrenhorst's powerful header. Play was swinging from end to end, Klose again going close while in the next breath Zlatan Ibrahimović was sent clean through only to shoot tamely wide.
When a goal did come, however, it was the home team who got it, as their increasing pressure finally paid off six minutes before the interval. Klasnić tricked Manuele Blasi with a delightful back-heel that sent Schulz through and, although Buffon blocked and Klose's follow-up was stopped on the line, Juventus were unable to clear the danger and Fabio Cannavaro's attempted clearance rebounded off Schulz and flew into the net.
The Bianconeri might have levelled almost immediately as Patrick Vieira strode through only for Wiese to come to Bremen's rescue with a brave block at the Frenchman's feet. In the second half the German side opted for a slightly less cavalier approach but nevertheless continued to threaten with Borowski going close twice in the space of a minute.
Juventus coach Fabio Capello reacted to Bremen's continued dominance by introducing Alessandro Del Piero but it was Trezeguet who was left cursing his luck when he raced through only to miss the target from ten metres. Juve were not to be denied for long, though, as Del Piero cut in from the left and found Vieira, whose through-pass was picked up by Nedvěd and the Czech international committed Wiese and side-footed his team level.
With eight minutes to go, Juve were in front as Del Piero's flick caused problems and Trezeguet capitalised on some indecisive defending to head in. As Juventus looked to consolidate, however, Bremen came again and Frings's teasing right-wing cross was met at the near post by Borowski, who turned his shot beyond Buffon. The goal raised the roof at the Weserstadion, and the celebrations became even louder in added time when the visitors failed to deal with Borowski's corner allowing Micoud to head past Buffon and finally settle a gripping encounter.