Sampdoria had jumped to a 3-0 lead and appeared to be heading to the Champions League group stages when Werder Bremen’s Markus Rosenberg leveled the aggregate score at 4-4 with a low, angled shot from beyond the area three minutes into injury time.
Then in extra time Claudio Pizarro secured a famous comeback victory for the German side when his low shot beat Sampdoria’s outstretched goalkeeper, Gianluca Curci. It gave Bremen a 5-4 aggregate victory.
Sampdoria started off great as Giampaolo Pazzini scored his first goal of the night after only eight minutes, heading in at the far post after Antonio Cassano lifted a cross into the area.
In the 13th, Pazzini found the target again with a volley from the center of the area following a free-kick from the right flank.
Cassano thought he had assured Sampdoria of a Champions League place when he redirected a cross with his heel and the ball trickled in off goalkeeper Tim Wiese.
“When you’re winning 3-0 you need to control the lead better,” Sampdoria captain Angelo Palombo said. “Whenever you slow down against expert teams like these they strike at you.”