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Europa League Classics: Werder Bremen 4-4 Valencia

Watch this stunning tie IN FULL on UEFA.tv – first, we set the scene.

David Villa's hat-trick in Germany proved decisive
David Villa's hat-trick in Germany proved decisive Getty Images

This UEFA Europa League round of 16 tie stood at 1-1 when Werder Bremen welcomed Valencia on 18 March 2010; it turned out there were a lot more goals to come.



Juan Mata's second-half goal had given Valencia a 1-1 draw in their home leg after Torsten Frings had converted a 24th-minute penalty, but the Spanish side had to go to Germany without Éver Banega – sent off in the first game – the also-suspended Pablo Hernández, and injured pair David Albelda and David Navarro. However, David Villa was passed fit following a shoulder problem to face a Bremen team with five perfect wins and 19 goals in their home matches in the competition to date.

First leg highlights: Valencia 1-1 Bremen

Key players

David Villa In his fifth and final season with Valencia before joining Barcelona, the Spain striker had become one of world football's most prolific goalscorers – and would underline that in Bremen.

David Silva Also enjoying his last Valencia campaign, before a move to Manchester City, Silva's assists were to prove as crucial as Villa's goals in taking his team through.

Juan Mata The first-leg goalscorer was also to make a crucial contribution in the return fixture. At 21, Mata was already a vital cog for Valencia.

What happened?

Within three minutes Villa had struck, set up by Silva, who also played Mata through to make it 2-0 on the quarter-hour. Bremen boss Thomas Schaaf sent on Hugo Almeida and the substitute quickly pulled one back, only for Villa to turn in Silva's centre just before half-time.

Six of the best Europa League knockout ties

But the tie was not over. Frings converted a 57th-minute penalty after Jordi Alba brought down Marko Marin, who just past the hour made it 3-3 on the night with an angled shot.

Four minutes later, Villa had his hat-trick following brilliant work by Mata. Bremen, though, did not give up and Claudio Pizarro's flicked header on 84 minutes took the score to 4-4. Valencia held on to progress on away goals.


David Villa, Valencia forward: "It was the craziest game I've ever played in. The scoreline's actually a bit low – there were that many chances to score, there should have been even more goals! It was like playing at school, those kinds of games where there are loads of chances and loads of goals."

Juan Mata, Valencia midfielder: "We weren't afraid, but we knew it would be a difficult game and the atmosphere was tough to play in. It was the craziest game I've played in. We had to fight for it."

Thomas Schaaf, Bremen coach: "We did not defend, we just ran alongside our opponents. We conceded goals too easily."

Elsewhere that evening

The same evening: Fulham stun Juventus

There was heart-stopping action everywhere: Fulham went 4-1 down on aggregate early in their home second leg with Juventus but incredibly turned the tie to go through 5-4 overall. Atlético pipped Sporting on away goals, Benfica beat Marseille with an added-time winner in France, Hamburg saw off Anderlecht 6-5 on aggregate despite a 4-3 loss in Brussels, and Wolfsburg ousted Rubin with a 119th-minute goal.


Valencia's campaign was ended in the quarter-finals on away goals by Atlético, who went on to beat Fulham in the final. However, Valencia's third-place Liga finish booked a UEFA Champions League return, albeit Villa and Silva were among several players to depart that summer. Bremen also managed a top-three league spot and reached the German Cup final; they have not finished as high or got to a knockout European tie since.