Hamburg were beaten 2-1 at Manchester City and Bremen only drew 3-3 at Udinese Calcio, but both clubs’ first-leg leads were enough to see them through.
Werder Bremen's Diego scores one of his two goals on Thursday
Werder Bremen and Hamburg, long-time northern German rivals, will be getting to know each other even better in the coming weeks. Both teams sewed up UEFA cup quarter-final wins, setting up an all-German semi-final tie. The two sides will meet in the German Cup semi-final, as well as once more in the league.
Bremen carried a 3-1 first-leg lead into their match in Udine, and were put on their heels in the 15th minute when Turkish international Gokhan Inler put the home side ahead 1-0. Bremen's talismanic Brazilian number ten Diego evened the scoreline in the 28th minute, but Fabio Quagliarella added two more for the Italians before half-time, meaning the tie was on a knife's edge at the break.
Quagliarella nearly made it three in the early stages of the second half, turning a shot just wide of the post. Diego, though, turned the match in the 60th minute when he headed in a rebound off the post from a Hugo Almeida shot.
Peruvian striker Claudio Pizarro scored another for Bremen in the 73rd minute, putting the match on ice – and Bremen through.
Tested in Manchester
Dennis Aogo and Hamburg are still standing
Like Bremen, Hamburg went into its away leg at the City of Manchester Stadium with a 3-1 lead. And they too were made to work before booking their passage for the semi-finals.
It was a dream start for Hamburg as Paulo Guerrero fired his team in front in the 12th minute. But the Peruvian's strike was cancelled out just five minutes later as City's Brazil midfielder Elano scored from the penalty spot.
Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli had adjudged, rather questionably to many viewers, that Piotr Trochowski had handled an Elano cross.
From then on City went on the attack, and they very nearly took the lead through a Elano free kick in the 42nd minute that hit the crossbar.
Five minutes into the second half, City were up 2-1 as beefy Ecuadorian striker Felipe Caicedo beat Hamburg keeper Frank Rost from close range.
Hamburg fans then spent 40 very long minutes watching their team do little but defend their slim aggregate lead.
In one of their few forward forays, however, Hamburg caught a big break. With 15 minutes to go, City captain Richard Dunne committed a rash late challenge on Hamburg's Dennis Aogo. He had been booked early on, and thus was sent off.
From then on it was a more equal affair, but neither team scored.
Hamburg and Bremen's wins mean the two sides will square off four more times in the next three and a half weeks.
They'll be getting to know each other even better
This coming Wednesday, Hamburg hosts Bremen in the semifinal of the German Cup, the DFB Pokal.
The two teams then play home and away to each other on the 30th of April and the 7th of May.
And just three days later, on May 10th, they play again, this time in Bremen.
The other half
In the other two UEFA Cup quarterfinals, Ukrainian sides polished off French opponents.
Niether Dynamo Kyiv nor Paris Saint-Germain had scored in their encounter last week in Paris, and thus both had all to play for in the Ukrainian capital.
But only one team showed up – Dynamo, who were 2-0 up after just over a quarter of an hour and cruised to a 3-0 win.
Meanwhile in Marseille, Shakhtar Donetsk took down Olympique 2-1, winning the tie 4-1 on aggregate.