Bremen beat Hamburg on penalties

BERLIN - Werder Bremen goalkeeper Tim Wiese saved three penalties against hosts Hamburg on Wednesday to send his team through to the German Cup final against Bayer Leverkusen. Wiese kept out three of four Hamburg penalties following a 1-1 draw after extra time to silence a 56,000 crowd in the Nordbank Arena. Werder scored all three of their spot-kicks. Per Mertesacker had put Bremen ahead early in the first half before Ivica Olic levelled in the 67th minute. Hamburg, still in the title hunt, will play bitter rivals Bremen another three times in the coming weeks for a place in the UEFA Cup final and in the league title race. "In cup matches we always have a clear aim. The team really puts in their best performance at these matches," Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf said, who can now still hope of competing in Europe next season after a disappointing Bundesliga season. Visitors Bremen looked the livelier side from the start and struck on 11 minutes when defender Mertesacker slotted home after Hamburg keeper Frank Rost palmed away a curling free kick from Diego. COMMANDING DIEGO Hamburg, playing with three strikers and playmaker Piotr Trochowski on the bench, had difficulty controlling the midfield with Bremen's Diego in commanding form. Hamburg coach Martin Jol brought on speedy Jonathan Pitroipa for the tired-looking Paolo Guererro, who added pace and did not take long to set up striker Olic. The Croatian initially failed to beat Wiese but managed to score on the rebound by flicking in a Guy Demel shot. Hamburg were forced to play extra time with ten men after captain David Jarolim was sent off for a foul on Mesut Ozil in stoppage time. Joris Mathijsen scored the first penalty for Hamburg before Wiese made three stunning saves against Jerome Boateng, Olic and Marcell Jansen, each time stretching to push them wide. Claudio Pizarro, Ozil and Torsten Frings converted theirs for Bremen. "We fought until the end but with 10 men it was hard," Jol said. "At the penalties we already were missing our specialists like Guerrero, Jarolim and (Mladen) Petric." Leverkusen beat second division Mainz 4-1 after extra time on Tuesday to advance to the final to be held in Berlin's Olympic stadium on May 30.