BREMEN, Germany (AFP) - Danish super sub Daniel Jansen struck for Werder Bremen five minutes from time to seal the German side's 2-1 win over Croatian outfit Dinamo Zagreb in Wednesday night's Champions League third-round qualifier.
Dinamo striker Bosko Balaban had put the Croatian champions into the lead with a superb goal at the end of the first half, but Bremen's Hugo Almeida struck back for the Germans less than a minute after his half-time subsitution.
And Jansen bagged the winner with a pin-point accurate strike from 30 yards at the Weser Stadium in front of 23,000 fans which puts his side in the driving seat for the third-round qualifying tie's return-leg in a fortnight.
Zagreb are in impressive form already this season, having scored 16 goals in their first four wins and with a smooth passing game, they proved tough for the Germans to break down.
Dinamo have won the last two championships and in 16 years of Croatian independence they have been Croatian champions an incredible nine times.
In contrast, Bremen have lost world-class midfielder Torsten Frings and fellow German international Tim Borowski with knee injuries and opened their Bundesliga campaign with a 2-2 draw at strugglers VfL Bochum last weekend.
Dinamo were always going to be a difficult draw for Bremen and it was the visitors guests who enjoyed a 1-0 lead at the break after scoring the all-important away goal.
Bremen's striker Boubacar Sanogo had the best chance midway through the first-half when his header forced Zagreb's German goalkeeper Georg Koch into a reflex save.
Zagreb started to put Bremen under real pressure as former Aston Villa striker Balaban went close with half-time approaching, but was denied by Bremen's keeper Tim Wiese.
But in the first minute of injury-time, Zagreb striker Mario Mandzukic slid a superb pass through the Bremen defence and Balaban flicked his shot past Wiese for the opening goal.
Bremen had the perfect reply when less than a minute after coming on, replacement striker Hugo Almeida broke clear of the defence, saw his shot saved by Koch and slid the rebound into an empty net.
His 46th minute goal seemed to be the boost Bremen needed as Sanogo went close moments later when his shot clipped the cross-bar.
Both sides went close in the second-half, but both goalkeepers worked hard to keep the scores locked at 1-1 until Jansen smashed home his long-range winner on 85 minutes which an airborne Koch could do little to defend.
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