Werder Bremen 1 Olympiacos 3
Olympiacos finally registered their first away win in the Champions League at the 32nd attempt after coming from behind to see off Werder Bremen.
It looked as though it would be another miserable trip for the visitors when they fell behind to Hugo Almeida’s 32nd-minute opener.
But Panagiotis Lemonis’ side stormed back, equalising through Ieroklis Stoltidis before late goals from Christos Patsatzoglou and Darko Kovacevic secured a dramatic win.
Bremen beat Arminia Bielefeld 8-1 in the Bundesliga at the weekend and they started with the determination of a side full of confidence.
They ought to have opened the scoring just six minutes in. A long punt forward from the back was flicked on by Markus Rosenberg for his strike partner Almeida but, having got clear of the last defender, his shot was straight at the legs of Olympiacos keeper Antonis Nikopolidis.
The Greeks responded with a header from Lomana LuaLua but it lacked the power to beat debutant Christian Vander in the Bremen goal.
Bremen remained the dominant force and only a fine block from Raul Bravo prevented Almeida from slotting home after he cleverly turned inside the area.
The Ethniki Katigoria side were playing primarily on the break but it was a policy which almost reaped its rewards midway through the first half.
Cristian Ledesma’s chip forwards was controlled beautifully by Luciano Galletti but his shot was poor in comparison, straight at the feet of Vander, although the Bremen keeper deserves credit for the way he spread himself.
The home side broke the deadlock shortly after the half-hour mark with a scrappy goal.
Dusko Tosic slipped as he attempted to cross from the left only for the ball to sit up nicely for Daniel Jensen. The Denmark international flicked it to the far post where Almeida controlled well before stabbing it into the net.
Olympiacos almost conceded a second three minutes before the break, Rosenberg’s powerful header from Diego’s left-wing free-kick bringing out a brilliant save from Nikopolidis.
Bremen started the second half in the ascendancy as well and Almeida should have done better than fire a weak shot straight at Nikopolidis seven minutes after the restart.
After that early effort, Bremen then went into their shells, seemingly content to sit on their one-goal advantage.
Olympiacos seized on their opportunity, Galletti coming close with a 30-yard drive which Vander saved superbly while only the offside flag denied Lua Lua after he followed up Stoltidis’ 20-yard drive and tapped into the net.
Soltidis did grab an equaliser with 18 minutes to go, however.
His mazy run and shot was partially blocked by the Bremen defence but the ball fell nicely for substitute Darko Kovacevic, whose first touch was a powerful drive which was well blocked by Vander. The rebound dropped at the feet of Soltidis and he made no mistake.
Nikopolidis saved brilliantly to deny Per Mertesacker from close range and keep his side level before Olympiacos went up the other end and snatched a second.
Petri Pasanen blocked Lua Lua’s goalbound header but the resultant corner was only partially cleared and Patsatzoglou lashed in a magnificent 25-yard drive which flew in via a slight deflection of Mertesacker and the underside of the bar.
Bremen heads dropped and the visitors added a third late on.
Predrag Djordjevic’s volley was parried by Vander and Kovacevic knocked home the rebound to cap a memorable night for the Greeks.