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Giorgos Karagounis's first UEFA Champions League goal in over six-and-a-half years, in between strikes from Vangelis Mantzios and a Petri Pasanen own goal, revived Panathinaikos FC's Group B aspirations and put a serious dent in those of Werder Bremen.
Karagounis had not registered in European football's premier club competition since February 2002, but his goal 20 minutes from time at the Weserstadion was worth the wait. The midfielder allowed a Nikos Spiropoulos throw-in to bounce past him before unleashing a dipping volley from the apex of the penalty area to leave Tim Wiese helpless. It put the visitors 2-0 up following Mantzios's opener just before the hour and Alexandros Tziolis helped put the gloss on a fine second-half performance from the Greek side by driving in a fierce shot which Pasenen turned into his own net for the third seven minutes from time.
As Panathinaikos ended the game on top, so had they started it, almost taking an early lead when Giorgos Karagounis' perfectly-weighted free-kick was met by the chest of Mantzios. The Greek striker failed to get anything more on the ball, however, allowing Wiese to collect and having been sounded a warning the hosts took stock, going close themselves when Diego's effort from the edge of the area was deflected wide.
Panathinaikos coach Henk ten Cate had warned his side of Bremen's threat at set-pieces, but it was the Greek outfit that looked likeliest to exploit that avenue. On 13 minutes Wiese misjudged a Karagounis free-kick, straying off his line in expectation of a cross and, as it sailed over his outstretched arms, he was grateful to the intervention of the crossbar, the goalkeeper then making partial amends by denying Mantzios from the rebound.
With the Weserstadion pitch slick after heavy rainfall, Mario Galinović in the Panathinaikos goal did not appear too comfortable either, palming away one long-range effort from Markus Rosenberg after an awkward bounce. He looked far more convincing in denying Claudio Pizarro soon after as Bremen cranked up the pressure, picking up where they left off after half-time. Indeed, it was somewhat against the run of play when Panathinaikos broke the deadlock on 58 minutes. Tziolis' clever pass found Mantzios on the edge of the area and the striker held off Petri Pasanen before calmly dispatching his shot past Wiese.
Bremen's aspirations of a first Group B win looked even further removed 12 minutes later as Karagounis made it 2-0 in spectacular fashion. Bremen were rocked, and it was to get worse when Tziolis's half-volley from the edge of the area went in via a heavy deflection from Finnish defender Pasanen. It sealed a win that left Panathinaikos above Bremen in Group B, a point behind second-placed FC Anorthosis Famagusta.
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