On Saturday afternoon Werder Bremen hosted SV Darmstadt 98, both teams find themselves where most people predicted at the start of the season, near the bottom. Werder Bremen sit in the relegation play-off spot after just five wins and five draws, a win against Darmstadt would see them move within a point of their visitors. Darmstadt have found that they play much better away from home and another away victory would do them some good after two straight losses.
The meeting in September between the two teams saw Darmstadt come out on top as a Sandro Wagner brace secured a 2-1 victory.
Limited chances however both nets rippled
Darmstadt started the brighter of the two teams, however it was the home side that were able to carve open the games first chances. The first opportunity came from the left, a cross into the area found Anthony Ujah, however Slobodan Rajković was alert and managed to get across to block. The second chance saw Zlatko Junuzović break free and bursting well into the Darmstadt half, unfortunately his effort was very poor and it trickled wide.
The first decent chance for the visitors fell to Wagner and the striker despite having some space could only fire his volley over after a freekick dropped perfectly to him.
After the twenty minute mark Darmstadt managed to produce the best effort of the game so far, a corner found it’s way to Konstantin Rausch on the edge of the area and his excellent volley saw Felix Wiedwald get across to make a fingertip save.
Darmstadt started to look very threatening as the game went on and they almost scored once more from a set piece. A freekick was cleared by Bremen and the ball was eventually knocked down to Jérôme Gondorf and the midfielder’s effort swerved just over the bar.
The home side had barely had a chance in the first half and against the run of play they took the lead. A simple throw in picked out Junuzović in space, he was allowed to cross and after the ball was headed up into the air Sambou Yatabaré leapt to head back across goal and despite not striking the ball cleanly Ujah’s effort bounced past Christian Mathenia and Rajković.
Bremen were looking a lot more confident after the goal, unfortunately for them they conceded a penalty just before the break. A lovely bit of play saw Jan Rosenthal play Wagner through on goal and after rounding Wiedwald the Darmstadt striker went down after minimal contact. The penalty was given and it was the former Bremen man that stepped up to calmly slot the penalty past Wiedwald for his ninth of the season and his third against his former team.
Dominating Bremen punished by Sulu before bouncing back
The second half was a slow started and it took seven minutes before we witnessed a decent attacking move, Theodor Gebre Selassie flew forward down the right side and his cut back found Ujah, however his effort was quickly blocked and saw the ball loop up for an easy catch for Mathenia.
Werder Bremen were dominating the second half but chances were still lacking, in the 67th minute however they came a yard away from taking the lead again. Another cross found it’s way to Ujah, his close range effort on the turn produced a brilliant save from Mathenia and Rajković was on the line. The defender’s clearance did provide a nervy moment as it struck Claudio Pizarro and fortunately went out for a goal kick.
Darmstadt looked tired in the second half and were certainly settling for the point, the home side though were struggling to break them down. Even when they did manage too Mathenia was there to deny them.
Bremen felt hard done by as just before the game entered the last ten minutes Sulu kicked Ujah in a late challenge and with the Darmstadt captain already on a booking they felt he should’ve been sent off. Surprisingly though he managed to stay on the pitch.
Moments later Darmstadt took the lead against the run of play and yes you guessed it, the goalscorer was Sulu. Tobias Kempe delivered in a freekick and two Darmstadt players were left free and Sulu only needed to flick the ball over Wieldwald and into the empty net.
Bremen almost found an equaliser soon after going behind, however once more Mathenia showed up for his team to save. László Kleinheisler delivered a great ball into the area and at the back post Papiss Djilobodji headed down and Mathenia reacted at his near post.
The home side had one of the chances of the game when a header went through to Pizarro, who did look offside, play resumed and Mathenia managed to produce a tremendous save. The resulting corner however saw the ball in the back of the net, Pizarro at the near post was free and he easily headed home a powerful header.
Both teams pushed and pushed for a late winner but it wasn’t to be for either side. Darmstadt will be the happier of the two sides as they move up a place.