Berlin - Hertha Berlin climbed above FC Schalke 04 into sixth in the Bundesliga, at least for a night, thanks to a thrilling 3-2 win over SV Werder Bremen.
Bundesliga at its best
Nils Petersen put the visitors in front, but an Adrian Ramos brace turned the game on its head. Aaron Hunt levelled before Ronny earned the hosts all three points in a spectacular Friday night encounter.
If ever there were a perfect advertisement for the Bundesliga, then this was it. Two sides hungry for victory producing flowing attacking football, neat touches and a denouement with plenty of twists and turns – this game had all of the Bundesliga's most fascinating ingredients condensed into a pulsating 90 minutes of action in the German capital. Not even the menacing mist over the Olympiastadion could threaten to obscure a game which came to life from the very first whistle.
Bremen, still perhaps reeling after a 7-0 defeat to FC Bayern München last weekend, showed determination from the get-go. Unsurprisingly, they were rewarded with the opening goal after just 15 minutes. Shortly after Petersen failed to connect sweetly with Hunt's cross from the left, he put all of his pent-up frustration into the next delivery from his strike partner to blaze a shot past Thomas Kraft from 20 yards out.
To and fro
Bremen then shot themselves in the foot. Within two minutes, Theodor Gebre Selassie tripped Per Skjelbred inside the area and a penalty was awarded. Ramos sent Raphael Wolf the wrong way, and it was game on again. The visitors went straight back down to the other end only for Eljero Elia to head a cross into the ground and over from close range. There was not even time to catch your breath before Ramos exchanged passes with Skjelbred and, at full stretch, turned the ball beyond Wolf to give the hosts the lead.
Shortly past the half-hour mark, a similar exchange between Hunt and Petersen at the other end saw Bremen get back on terms with the fourth goal of the game. Ramos went close to completing his hat-trick from Tolga Cigerci's cross before the referee sounded the half-time whistle to provide some respite. With their batteries recharged, Berlin came out with renewed vigour and promptly took the lead within minutes of the restart. Petar Pekarik's header was pushed out by Wolf only as far as Ronny, who guided the rebound into the empty net.
Threatened with a fourth defeat in five games, Bremen had to throw caution to the wind, and the game opened up further. Marcel Ndjeng capitalised on the room which opened up in the Bremen defence, but dragged his shot wide, before Mehmet Ekici was sent on by Bremen coach Robin Dutt to try to provide more creativity to his side's attacking play.
Luca Caldirola sent the ball over after it pinballed around the Hertha penalty area, but even with luck against them Bremen refused to let up. Hunt's free-kick was fumbled against the post by Kraft, who was grateful to see Levan Kobiashvili covering to clear the ball away from the approaching Eljero Elia, who was denied a last-gasp equaliser as the hosts held on to register a second win in a row.
Line-ups and statistics