Werder fought back to secure their place in the group stage of the Champion's League on Tuesday evening, overcoming Italian club 5-4 on aggregate in a match that was full of drama.
A goal from Pizarro (center) sealed the deal for Bremen
Thomas Schaaf's side lost 3-2 in the second leg of their playoff tie at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris in Genoa, but it was enough to get through to the Champion's League group stage.
Two first half goals from Giampaolo Pazzini put Italian side Sampdoria in command. Pazzini headed the home side in front after eight minutes. Goalkeeper Tim Wiese was able to get a hand to the ball but could only push it inside his near post. Replays suggested Pazzini was offside when the cross was delivered.
Pazzini made life difficult for Werder in both legs of the tie
Pazzini put Sampdoria in a winning aggregate position with his second goal in the 13th minute. The Italian international met a free kick taken from the right touchline with a stunning first-time volley that flew into the back of the net.
A late goal in the 85th minute by Antonio Cassano seemed to seal the fate for the German visitors. Bremen were almost on the way out, when another goal in injury time sent the match into extra time.
Shift in momentum
Then Markus Rosenberg scored for Bremen in the 93rd minute, suddenly putting a halt to Sampdoria's celebrations. The score was now equal on aggregate and both sides had everything to play for.
The momentum had already shifted in Bremen's favor, however, and striker Claudio Pizarro made it 2-3 for the German side 10 minutes into extra time.
Bremen had taken a two-goal advantage to Italy, having won 3-1 at home in last week's first leg. Defender Clemens Fritz, captain Torsten Frings and Pizarro got the goals. Bremen were left kicking themselves though, having conceded a late away goal to Pazzini which gave Sampdoria a chance in Tuesday's tie.
Sampdoria, having failed to make it into the Champions League group stage, now go into the draw for the Europa League.
Author: Tom Sheldrick, Joanna Impey
Editor: Matt Hermann