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Pre-season match report: Werder Bremen 3-3 Villa
Thriller at the Werserstadion in final pre-season clash.
11th Aug 2012
Pre-season match report: Werder Bremen 3-3 Villa


By Dan Harrison

Darren Bent was on target twice as Villa completed their pre-season campaign with a six-goal thriller against Werder Bremen.

Villa went ahead on two occasions at the Werserstadion but the Bundesliga outfit refused to lie down and deservedly came away with a draw.

But manager Paul Lambert will have been impressed by some of his team's attacking play in their final workout ahead of next Saturday's Barclays Premier League opener at West Ham.

Captain Bent looked particularly sharp after his recent thigh injury, while Ciaran Clark added to Villa's goal tally with a clinical finish.

Lambert made five changes from the side that lost 3-1 to Nottingham Forest last weekend.

The Scotsman opted for Shay Given over Brad Guzan in goal, while Enda Stevens, Fabian Delph, Andreas Weimann and Bent replaced Stephen Warnock, Barry Bannan, Stephen Ireland and Nathan Delfouneso.

The boys in claret and blue staged an excellent first-half comeback after a shaky start.

The visitors trailed after just 11 minutes when Niclas Fullkrug found space to meet Eljero Elia's corner and head past Given.

But it took less than five minutes for Villa to restore parity.

Weimann made a clever run to beat the offside trap before unselfishly setting up Bent for the simplest of tap-ins.

More good work from Weimann moments later almost resulted in a quick-fire second goal.

The Austrian rounded goalkeeper Sebastian Mielitz but fired into the side netting from a tight angle.

On 22 minutes, Villa edged in front after Bremen failed to clear an inswinging Charles N'Zogbia free-kick from the right.

Clark reacted quickest with a classy turn and shot to leave Mielitz with no chance.

But Aaron Hunt was unlucky not to equalise for the home side, hitting both posts with long-range efforts.

Bremen started the second-half strongly and it came as no surprise when Elia equalised on 52 minutes.

At first it looked as though the former Juventus winger's left-wing cross had been guided home by Fullkrug, although replays showed the deceptive delivery went straight in.

Despite a period of sustained pressure from the hosts - in which Zlatko Junuzovic fired off target and Sokratis Papastathopoulos headed over - Villa managed to restore their advantage.

N'Zogbia's corner found its way through to Bent at the back post and the England forward drilled a shot low into the corner of the net on 68 minutes.

The pendulum swung again three minutes later with Hunt powering home a left-foot shot from the edge of the box after good work down the right hand side from on-loan Chelsea attacker Kevin De Bruyne.

Villa had Given to thank in the closing stages - the Irish keeper making a wonderful save down to his right to scoop Elia's header over the bar.

WERDER BREMEN: Mielitz, Selassie, Sokratis, Prodi, Schmitz, Fritz, Junuzovic, Hunt, De Bruyne, Fullkrug, Elia. Subs: Wolf, Lukimya, Ignjovski, Bargfrede, Trinks, Ekici, Wurtz [for Fullkrug, 71].

VILLA: Given, Lichaj, Vlaar, Clark, Stevens, Delph, El Ahmadi, Holman, N'Zogbia, Weimann, Bent. Subs: Guzan, Marshall, Ireland [for Holman, 65], Bannan [for Stevens, 65], Baker, Gardner [for N'Zogbia, 77].

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