Bremen - A tumultuous affair between SV Werder Bremen and 1. FC Nürnberg ended 3-3 at the Weserstadion on Sunday afternoon.
Eljero Elia hit a brace for Bremen after Berkay Dabanli's own-goal, while Hiroshi Kiyotake, Josip Drmic and Adam Hlousek were on the scoresheet for visitors, who remain without a win this season.
A Bremen side set on righting the wrong of their last home performance - a 3-0 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt - came out of the blocks full of intent and verve. The ball was moved through midfield comfortably and freely in the early stages, before Mehmet Ekici picked out a charging Santiago Garcia in the eighth minute. Garcia drove past Nürnberg right-back Timothy Chandler before firing a cross-cum-shot into the danger area where centre-back Berkay Dabanli only succeeded in firing into his own net.
The Bremen midfield of Cedrick Makiadi, Zlatko Junuzovic, Aaron Hunt and Ekici were further boosted by the goal, often finding the surging runs of Elia and Garcia behind a flat Nürnberg back-line. Elia was particularly impressive, and he and Garcia were combining to devastating effect with Hunt. Twice the duo created chances for the club vice-captain, whose late arrival around the box forced the Nürnberg defence into several scrambling blocks.
Lifeline for Nürnberg
Hunt was involved again in the 34th minute, after good work on the left from Garcia and Ekici found the rampaging German in space on the edge of the box. The 27-year-old was aware enough to pull the ball back for an arriving Elia, whose superb first time finish found the top right-hand corner for his first goal in a Bremen shirt since 2010. Nürnberg were at sixes and sevens defensively, but when Garcia committed a cardinal defensive sin in the 44th minute by allowing Hlousek’s ball to bounce over him blindly, Der Club were given a lifeline. Kiyotake was prowling behind the Argentinian, and unleashed a volley of the highest-quality into the top corner to make it 2-1 at the break.
A side as resilient as Nürnberg, who have come from behind three times already this season for a point, were unlikely to allow a one-goal deficit deter their charge, and so it proved. Eight minutes after the break, centre-forward Tomas Pekhart found himself on the right, and whipped in an inviting low cross. Substitute Drmic took the invitation and his twisting finish found its way past a flailing Sebastian Mielitz.
Nürnberg began to build some pressure, Kiyotake looking particularly likely to make the breakthrough with his searching passes from deep, but the visitors always looked vulnerable defensively. A 66th-minute Bremen corner was cleared only as far as Eljero Elia, who lashed a low strike into the bottom left-hand corner from 25 yards to complete his brace.
The lead was short-lived though, as four minutes later a beautiful throughball from Kiyotake took three players out of the game to find an onrushing Hlousek, whose delicate finish made it 3-3. A haphazard second half concluded with Nürnberg on top, Drmic hitting the bar with a fantastic turning volley from the edge of the box, and soon after wasting a good crossing opportunity, which could have perhaps forced a winner.
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