HAMBURG - Werder Bremen stormed into their first UEFA Cup final after scoring two second-half goals to win 3-2 at Hamburg SV on Thursday. They will face Ukraine's Shakhtar Donetsk in the May 20 showdown in Istanbul after winning on away goals when their semi-final tie ended 3-3 on aggregate. Shakhtar became the first Ukrainian team to reach the final when they beat Dynamo Kiev 2-1 for a 3-2 aggregate win. Werder, who recovered from losing the first leg 1-0 in Bremen, will be without inspirational playmaker Diego and striker Hugo Almeida in the final after they were booked. Werder went ahead in the 12th minute through Ivica Olic before Brazilian Diego levelled before the half-hour. Claudio Pizarro and Frank Baumann then scored in the final 24 minutes with Olic pulling one back three minutes from time. "It was a great, open game. Just sensational," Werder coach Thomas Schaaf told reporters. "We kept faith and kept going forward." However, he said Diego's absence was a major blow. "For Diego this is of course a nightmare. We could have used him a lot in the final," Schaaf said. In an entertaining and physical match between the northern German rivals, Werder squandered a big chance early in the first half when Peru striker Pizarro shook off defender Joris Mathijsen but saw his bouncing header fly over the bar. As Werder's players shook their heads in disbelief over the miss, Mathijsen quickly fed Olic down the middle and he raced into the box to chip over goalkeeper Tim Wiese. MASTERFUL DIEGO Werder levelled in the 29th after some quick passing between Pizarro and midfielder Diego, with the Brazilian beating keeper Frank Rost from close range. Diego almost grabbed a second goal minutes later when he unleashed a shot from 18 metres only for Rost, at full stretch, to tip the ball on to the bar. But two minutes later he was booked for a verbal dispute with fellow Brazilian Alex Silva of Hamburg. Hamburg, without suspended striker Paolo Guerrero but with Mladen Petric back fit, came agonisingly close to taking the lead again on the hour when Jonathan Pitroipa, in front of an open goal, failed to connect with a Marcell Jansen cross. Werder struck six minutes later when Pizarro's long range effort slipped past Rost and their captain Baumann then headed in a corner seven minutes from time to make it 3-1. Olic's second goal, three minutes from time, was too late to save the tie for luckless Hamburg, who also lost to Werder on penalties in the German Cup semi-final last month. "This is a bitter disappointment," said Hamburg coach Martin Jol, whose only chance of silverware now is an outside shot at the Bundesliga title. "With a bit of luck we could have scored more goals and got to the final. But Werder were more accurate," he said.
7 May 2009
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