Bremen - SV Werder Bremen took the honours in the northern Germany derby with a dramatic 3-2 win over Hannover 96.
Tale of two penalties
Szabolcs Huszti gave the visitors the lead - their first away goal this season - only for Bremen’s Aaron Hunt to restore parity. Cedrick Makiadi briefly put Bremen in front shortly afterwards, but Hiroki Sakai levelled matters with a pearler, setting the stage for a grandstand finale in which Santiago Garcia provided the late twist with Bremen’s winner.
With both sides losing heavily last weekend, it was hardly surprising that those defeats still appeared to be lingering in the players’ minds in the cautious opening exchanges. Bremen displayed a touch more urgency though, and Zlatko Junuzovic tested Ron-Robert Zieler in the 13th minute, albeit with the linesman’s flag raised.
Hannover’s first attack of sorts resulted in the first of two penalties in the game. Huszti was felled by Clemens Fritz inside the area and the Hungarian’s spot-kick was placed powerfully in the bottom right-hand corner with Sebastian Mielitz unable to get there, despite diving the right way. Bremen responded well and earned a penalty of their own soon after when Salif Sane tripped Eljero Elia and Hunt stepped up to send Zieler the wrong way.
The game was now an open, end-to-end encounter and Leon Andreasen went close to putting the visitors ahead once more with a 25-yard volley which whistled just wide of the post with Mielitz beaten. Edgar Prib’s volley from closer range was saved by Mielitz before Junuzovic’s next effort on goal turned into an assist for Makiadi to open his Bremen account at the far post with the easiest of headers.
The home team's lead lasted just two minutes, though, before Sakai submitted his contender for goal of the season, opening his Bundesliga account in style with a 30-yard stunner which dipped and struck the underside of the crossbar on its way in.
Goalscoring opportunities were not as frequent in the second period, but Makiadi did have a glorious chance to give Bremen the lead again when he lifted his shot over the crossbar from 10 yards. Hannover’s response was somewhat sluggish until substitute Deniz Kadah looped a header just wide before lamenting Huszti’s selfishness in shooting from a tight angle when he was unmarked in the middle.
The game remained on a knife edge but Garcia was to have the final say. The Argentinian got two bites of the cherry from Hunt’s free-kick, his first header saved on the line by Zieler, but the ball fell back to him to poke underneath the Hannover goalkeeper before celebrating what was only his side's second home win this term.
Line-ups and statistics
The Weser Stadion was rocking at full-time. Check out Bremen's home in all its glory, courtesy of the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: