Werder Bremen have drawn 3-3 with Nuremberg in a game where the hosts dominated much of the first half. Attacking midfielder Eljero Elia broke his lenghty goal drought in style for Bremen, twice.
Werder Bremen gave Nuremberg no time to breathe in the first half on Sunday afternoon, constantly pushing forward, and often down the left flank.
Loanee left-back Santiago Garcia impressed going forward in the opening minutes and was almost credited with the opening goal. His low cross, or perhaps shot, took a big deflection off Berkay Dabanli on its way into Raphael Schäfer's net. The goal, on Garcia's first game in Bremen, was classified as an own goal.
If possible, Bremen's second goal came from an even less likely source than opposing defender Dabanli.
Eljero Elia put a dominant home team two goals to the good with a first-time shot from just outside the box, after a neat square pass from Aaron Hunt. Elia had not scored in the Bundesliga in 48 games, or 3,356 minutes of playing time.
An unnecessary lifeline
Hiroshi Kiyotake pulled a goal back for Nuremberg out of nowhere on the stroke of half time. A looping Adam Hlousek cross bounced inexplicably across the face of Werder's goal, Kiyotake met the ball with a fierce volley. Werder Bremen described the build-up that allowed the ball to reach Kiyotake as "completely unnecessary" on Twitter, with that evaluation becoming even more pertinent in the second period.
Nuremberg coach Michael Wiesinger, understandably unimpressed with his side's first-half showing, brought on Josip Drmic as a second striker at half time.
Within seven minutes, Drmic had tied the game at 2-2. Full back Garcia, so impressive going forward for Werder, again looked out of place defensively in the build-up, allowing a cross from Pekhart on the right. Drmic finished with either a little good fortune or a no nerves whatsoever, flicking the ball low into the far corner with his left foot at full stretch.
Elia again, then Nuremberg again
Goals were rather like buses for Elia (pictured) on Sunday; having waited forever, two suddenly came along at once. The Dutch winger doubled his money in the 66th minute with a splendid long-range strike.
Within four minutes, however, Nuremberg were level again. Kiyotake was the architect as Hlousek tied the score. The Japanese playmaker timed his pass to Hlousek perfectly, rejecting another pass to a teammate who was offside.
After 70 high-octane minutes, the game's conclusion was a little more pedestrian. Still, Nils Petersen came close for Bremen and super-sub Drmic tickled the crossbar for Nuremberg. A point puts Bremen level in eighth in the table and also just pulled Nuremberg out of the drop zone, at Hamburg's expense.
Stuttgart batter brave Braunschweig
Relegation zone mainstays Eintracht Braunschweig put up quite a fight in front of faithful fans in the evening fixture, but were ultimately undone 4-0 by Stuttgart.
The visitors got the lead against the run of play in the 40th minute from a slick set piece. Vedad Ibisevic got the faintest of touches to a dangerous delivery from Romanian Alexandru Maxim.
Five minutes after the break, Maxim extended Stuttgart's lead on the rebound after Marjan Petkovic parried an Ibrahima Traore shot. This second goal, enabled by a defensive blackout, took the wind out of Braunschweig's sails.
Winger Traore was perhaps Stuttgart's busiest second-half attacker, scoring the third after several near misses on 76 minutes. Heavily invovled to the final whistle, Traore also provided the low cross for substitute Martin Harnik to complete the rout in the closing minutes of the match.
Braunschweig are rooted to the bottom of the Bundesliga table, still without a win, while Stuttgart climb up to sixth place after their slow start.