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Bremen fightback earns final place

Hamburg 2-3 Werder Bremen (agg: 3-3, Bremen win on away goals)
Thomas Schaaf's men stormed back after conceding an early goal to stun their local rivals and set up a UEFA Cup final against FC Shakhtar Donetsk.

Claudio Pizarro celebrates scoring
Claudio Pizarro celebrates scoring ©Getty Images

Werder Bremen stormed back from a goal down to beat Hanseatic rivals Hamburger SV 3-2 in a thrilling derby duel and book their place in the UEFA Cup final against FC Shakhtar Donetsk.

Flying start
Hamburg had won last week's first leg 1-0 and Ivica Olić gave them a flying start to the second when he fired home in the 13th minute. But Diego equalised soon after and Claudio Pizarro made it 2-1 to the visitors midway through the second period before Frank Baumann stooped to head their third seven minutes from time.

Away goals
The goal flurry was not over and there was still time for Olić to nod in to make it 3-3 on aggregate – not enough, though, to prevent Bremen from sealing their place in Istanbul on 20 May on the away-goals rule.It came at a cost for Thomas Schaaf's men, who will be without Diego and Hugo Almeida for the final because of yellow cards collected here.

Olić strike
Hamburg made the better start and took the lead when defender Joris Mathijsen was allowed to bring the ball deep into the Bremen half before slipping a defence-splitting pass through for Olić, who nipped in to dink the ball over the advancing Tim Wiese. Bremen had moments earlier gone close when Pizarro failed to direct a close-range downward header on target, and any ideas that the tie was already over were scotched in the 29th minute when Diego matched Olić's finishing.

Diego reply
The Brazilian fed Pizarro and continued his run, timed perfectly to collect the return pass and deftly lift the ball over Frank Rost. It was a superb finish by a player whose four goals had almost single-handedly dumped Udinese Calcio out of the quarter-finals. Hamburg manager Martin Jol had described Diego before the game as one of the best players in the Bundesliga and he provided more evidence of his prowess in the 36th minute when he cracked a shot from 25 metres that rattled the crossbar.

Close calls
Both sides came out fighting after the restart, with Diego still in commanding form despite a yellow card issued just before the break which would rule him out of the final. Bremen's early pressure was nearly rewarded when Pizarro's stooping header found the back of the net, only for the effort to be flagged offside. Hamburg should have scored minutes later when Marcell Jansen broke down the left flank and fizzed a low ball across the face of goal but Jonathan Pitroipa was unable to stab it home from point-blank range. Wiese then blocked with his legs when Piotr Trochowski followed up with a tight-angled shot.

Shock in store
If the match looked to be turning Hamburg's way there was a nasty shock in store for the home fans in the 66th minute, when Pizarro picked up possession just outside the semi-circle and made a short run before unleashing a booming shot from distance that found its way past Rost. To their credit, HSV shrugged off the setback and replied almost immediately when Alex Silva blasted in a low drive which Wiese did well to block. But Baumann added Bremen's third after substitute Almeida had nodded on a corner and it proved enough despite Olić's late header.