|Back in the race: Werder Bremen players celebrate after Aaron Hunt’s goal [AFP]|
Werder Bremen stunned Real Madrid 3-2 to revive their chances of advancing to the Champions League’s second round.
Bremen now has six points in Group C, while Madrid stayed on eight.
Olympiakos also has eight after winning 2-1 at Lazio, which stayed on five.
Bremen could now advance to the knockout stage if it wins at Olympiakos in the final round.
Madrid plays Lazio at home and a draw would see it through.
Markus Rosenberg put Werder ahead after four minutes and Robinho tied the game in the 14th, before Boubacar Sanogo again put the home side ahead in the 40th.
Aaron Hunt, playing his first game in seven months after various injuries, gave Bremen a two-goal cushion in the 58th, but Ruud van Nistelrooy pulled one back for the visitors in the 71st.
Rosenberg scored after a cross from the right from Clemens Fritz, who appeared to have pulled a hamstring only moments before.
Boubacar Sanogo flicked the ball with his shoulder over to Rosenberg, who mistimed the shot but the ball bounced over Iker Casillas into the net.
Madrid however soon hit back as their next attack produced the equaliser.
A long ball from Madrid’s half found Robinho on the left, and he beat Per Mertesacker and curled a perfect shot inside the far post.
Naldo nearly restored Bremen’s lead but Casillas stopped his shot in the 34th.
Six minutes later, Sanogo was on target after a brilliant run on the right from Rosenberg, who carried the ball from his own half down the flank and evaded Fernando Gago and Christoph Metzelder before sending a low cross for Sanogo to connect with a perfect volley.
In the 70th, Rosenberg’s shot went outside the far post.
But instead of Bremen increasing the lead, it was Madrid that cut the deficit.
Van Nistelrooy chased down a ball and then chipped it over Bremen’s goalkeeper Christian Vander from a narrow angle, with Robinho touching it after it had crossed the line to give the German fans some anxious moments in the dying stages.
Olympiakos inch closer to last 16
Meanwhile in the other Group C match, Darko Kovacevic scored the deciding goal Wednesday to give Olympiakos a 2-1 win over Lazio.
The former Lazio player scored in the 64th minute off a cross from Predrag Djordjevic, who beat the Roman club’s offside trap.
Luciano Galletti equalized for Olympiakos in the 35th with a powerful shot from the edge of the area after Goran Pandev had given Lazio the lead in the 30th off a pass from Tommaso Rocchi. Replays showed the ball was out of bounds when Rocchi made the pass.
In Group D, defending champions AC Milan clinched a place in the second round with a 1-1 draw at Benfica.
Milan’s fluid passing gave it an early advantage in Lisbon and Andrea Pirlo scored in the 15th minute.
Kaka received a throw-in on the left and tapped the ball back for Pirlo who put the visitor into the lead with a long-range shot.
|SL Benfica’s Nuno Gomes is left frustrated [AFP]|
Maxi Pereira levelled with a solo effort five minutes later.
He raced down the right wing, broke inside and hit a dipping left-foot shot into the far corner of the net beyond Dida’s reach.
The equaliser lifted Benfica, with Rui Costa and Cristiano Rodriguez finding their rhythm in midfield, but it was Cristian Brocchi who tested Quim in the 30th.
The rebound fell to Alberto Gilardino, who shot straight at the goalkeeper.
Pereira looked poised to snatch his second goal before halftime with a shot inside the area that Dida stopped with his legs.
Celtic get Italian job
Massimo Donati scored an injury-time goal to give Celtic a 2-1 win over Shakhtar Donetsk.
Aiden McGeady pulled a cross toward the back of the penalty area and Donati scored with a low shot through a crowded area.
Brandao gave Shakhtar the lead in the fourth minute, but Jiri Jarosik levelled for the hosts in the final minute of the first half.
The Ukraine team appeared set to hold on to a point which would strengthen its chances of going through to the second round, but Donati’s goal means Celtic moved ahead of Shakhtar into second place behind AC Milan.
Milan leads Group D with 10 points, one more than Celtic, and can clinch the top spot if it at least draws against the Scottish club in its final game.
Shakhtar Donetsk has six points and Benfica has four.