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Bremen complete latest Wunder von der Weser

SV Werder Bremen 5-3 RSC Anderlecht
The German champions staged one of the greatest comebacks in the competition's history, recovering from 3-0 down to earn a famous win.

Going 3-0 down is not the sort of habit you want your team to adopt at the start of the UEFA Champions League group stage; particularly not when the reward for a top-two finish is a place in the semi-finals.

Yet that is exactly what happened to Otto Rehhagel's charges when his SV Werder Bremen side conceded three goals for the second successive match. The difference between the 3-2 defeat at FC Porto on Matchday 1 and the visit of RSC Anderlecht, however, was that this time the German champions staged one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the competition.

The Belgian champions were a side of great calibre, and their quality was soon in evidence when Philippe Albert returned Oliver Reck's weak punch back past him with 16 minutes gone. Two minutes later Danny Boffin pounced on Filip Haegdoren's mis-hit shot to double the lead, and when the 18-year-old winger curled in a sumptuous shot soon after home fans began making for the exits – the game was little more than half an hour old.

The hosts were eager to hang around, though, and after digging in they gradually became expansive. They pulled one back through Wynton Rufer on 66 minutes – too late, surely? Yet once the crack was made the dam burst spectacularly. Filip De Wilde's ill-judged departure from goal enabled Rune Bratseth to head his side into a position of genuine hope and a wonderful piece of skill by Rufer then set up Bernd Hobsch for the headed equaliser.

Bremen were back from the brink and they were not finished yet: there were still nine minutes left to find a winner. In the event it took only two for Marco Bode to score a fourth, rifling left-footed through Anderlecht's panic-stricken rearguard.

Johan Boskamp's side might have levelled late on when Reck superbly turned Luc Nilis's pile-driver over the bar, but it was not their match. This night belonged to Bremen, and Rufer, who crowned an outstanding performance with another goal to complete what will forever be known as the Wonder at the Weser, a reference to the river that snakes around Bremen's home ground.