Bremen edge derby thriller
Marko Marin put Thomas Schaaf's side ahead in the 25th minute with Hugo Almeida doubling their lead just four minutes later. Ruud van Nistelrooy brought Hamburg back into the game in the 59th minute and Jonathan Pitroipa levelled after another four minutes. But Almeida struck again to seal the win for Bremen before having his third goal incorrectly ruled out in stoppage time.
It was clear from the first 20 minutes that it was going to be an exciting evening as both sides attacked with intent. Van Nistelrooy came close to opening the scoring in the 21st minute, but his shot missed the post by a matter of inches.
Within 60 seconds, Marin put Bremen ahead with a deflected shot off Guy Demel which landed in the far corner. Marin was claiming a penalty just two minutes later when he appeared to be fouled by both Joris Mathijsen and Frank Rost, but referee Thorsten Kinhofer waved away his and Bremen's appeals.
It didn't seem to matter too much when Almeida headed an Aaron Hunt free-kick past Rost two minutes later, but Bremen sat back on their lead a little too early.
Van Nistelrooy brought the visitors back into the game in the 59th minute with a neat backheel after Pitroipa had torn the Bremen defence apart. And the lively Pitroipa brought Hamburg level just four minutes later with a shot which arrowed into the far corner of Tim Wiese's goal from the right-hand corner of the penalty area.
Hamburg were now in the ascendancy, but they left gaps in defence and Bremen midfielder Wesley took full advantage to send in a low cross which Almeida converted from just five yards out in the 85th minute.
Van Nistelrooy had two shots saved in the dying moments before Rost raced forward for a corner in the last minute of stoppage time. Bremen cleared and Wesley squared the ball for Almeida, who walked it into the back of the empty net, but the linesman's flag had been wrongly raised to deny the Portuguese striker a hat-trick.