Bremen, Germany: Veteran Claudio Pizarro came off the bench two days after his 40th birthday to help Werder Bremen to a 2-0 defeat of Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga on Friday.
The win moves Werder level on points with Borussia Dortmund at the top of the table before the rest of the weekend programme.
Dutch midfielder Davy Klaassen swept in to finish from inside the area in the 35th minute to put Bremen ahead after Wolfsburg failed to clear Theodor Gebreselassie’s cross from the right.
Pizarro came off the bench in the 75th minute, and the Peruvian’s presence immediately lifted the home side after a spell of Wolfsburg pressure, creating a half chance with a deft touch and minutes later shooting high over the bar.
The former Bayern Munich striker and record Bremen goalscorer then provided the pass for 83rd-minute substitute Johannes Eggestein to finish for Werder’s second four minutes from time.
Bremen have now gone 16 home matches without defeat under coach Florian Kohfeldt since his appointment last season and move to 14 points.
The win was the perfect 36th birthday present for the coach, four years Pizarro’s junior.
“I wasn’t quite satisfied today with the performance,” Kohfeldt told Eurosport. “Pizarro made the difference... he nearly always makes the right decision and hardly makes a mistake when on the ball.”
Leaders Borussia Dortmund, who have the better goal difference, greet Augsburg on Saturday.
Champions Bayern Munich, a point behind, entertain Borussia Moenchengladbach on Saturday after three competitive matches without a win. Hertha Berlin, also on 13 points, are at Mainz.
Wolfsburg, who began the season with two victories, are now five matches without a win.
“We put in a lot of effort, played well for the first 25 minutes but then Bremen began to find gaps,” Wolfsburg coach Bruno Labbadia said.
“After the break, we came out well but didn’t get the reward for all the effort we had to put into the game. All in all it was a bitter defeat.” — dpa