Bremen – SV Werder Bremen ensured Borussia Mönchengladbach’s woeful start to the season continued by recording a 2-1 victory at home in the final game of Matchday 3.
It was an intensely fought affair at the Weserstadion right from the off, with the action flowing from end to end. Gladbach had the first chance of the game when Granit Xhaka tested Felix Wiedwald from distance but it was Bremen who opened the scoring when USA international Aron Johannsson confidently converted from the penalty spot. However, Lars Stindl levelled on the stroke of half-time following a superb team move.
Yet the hosts restored their advantage within minutes of the restart when Jannik Vestergaard headed home from a corner. Gladbach pushed for an equaliser and Patrick Herrmann should have restored parity when put through on goal by Xhaka, only to fire wide. Bremen should have scored another after being awarded a penalty late on – with Xhaka sent off for fouling Assani Lukimya – but Felix Kroos fired wide.
Man of the match
Gladbach are known for their speed and pressing, a strategy that Bremen circumvented by playing plenty of long balls forward. The tactic worked well thanks to the ability of Nigerian striker Anthony Ujah, whose strength, movement and awareness gave the home side an edge. He was also a constant threat to Yann Sommer’s goal, firing off more shots than anyone else on the pitch (eight).
Gladbach showed glimpses of the swashbuckling, free-flowing side that stormed the Bundesliga in the second half of last season, but such instances were all too rare. At present Lucien Favre’s men appear to be struggling to find their rhythm as they adjust to the departures of key players Christoph Kramer and Max Kruse, while their newcomers will need time to settle in.
Stats of the match
Johannsson scored his first ever Bundesliga goal with his fourth shot.
Vestergaard has netted five of his six Bundesliga goals from corners, of which four have been headers.
Xhaka has now been sent off three times, but has never been shown a straight red card.