Frings finds late winner
Torsten Frings scored two minutes into stoppage time to give Werder Bremen a last-minute 2-1 victory over Hoffenheim and the much-needed strong start to the second half of the Bundesliga season.
Claudio Pizarro gave Bremen the lead in the 36th minute and Hoffenheim appeared to have gained an away point through Boris Vukcevic's equaliser in the 87th minute. But captain Frings struck in stoppage time for the victory.
Bremen had collected just one win in their last eight league games of 2010 but the three points gave Thomas Schaaf's team a much needed boost, while Hoffenheim saw their five-game undefeated streak brought to a halt.
The winter break was a hectic one for Hoffenheim, who saw head coach Ralf Rangnick replaced by his assistant Marco Pezzaiuoli. In addition, Luiz Gustavo went to Bayern Munich, while Demba Ba was absent today having been set for a move to Stoke, though that move fell through this afternoon when he failed a medical.
Bremen nearly went ahead after 12 minutes as Sebastian Prodl's header blasted against the crossbar. The hosts had more run of play but the next chance went to Hoffenheim, though Clemens Fritz cleared Vedad Ibisevic's shot off the line in the 28th minute.
Bremen took the lead eight minutes later as Marko Arnautovic held off a defender to pass into the run of Pizarro, who hit home into the far right corner. Pizarro was close to doubling his tally in the 45th minute but the Peruvian striker found only the crossbar.
Hoffenheim keeper Tom Starke made a superb save from Arnautovic after 66 minutes to keep the visitors in the game. And Hoffenheim's first chance of the second half was the equaliser. Bremen struggled to clear the ball and Isaac Vorsah played it into the middle where Vukcevic did a fine job beating Bremen keeper Tim Wiese to make it 1-1.
Bremen refused to give up and were awarded a free-kick from 30 yards out two minutes into stoppage time. Captain Frings blasted his shot into the top-left corner for the winner.