Bremen - Bayer 04 Leverkusen turned on the style in the second half to beat SV Werder Bremen 3-0 on Saturday afternoon, tanking confidence ahead of their UEFA Champions League meeting with FC Barcelona on Tuesday.
Goals: 0-1 (Mehmedi 31’), 0-2 (Brandt 58’), 0-3 (Kampl 65’)
As this was the third match in the space of a week for each side, both coaches opted to rotate their starting line-ups heavily. As such the early stages of the game were rather hectic, as the teams looked to establish their rhythm. Bremen had the better of the early chances but it was Leverkusen who took the lead when Admir Mehmedi cut in from the left and netted his first Bundesliga goal for the Werkself with a deflected shot.
The visitors were much improved after the break and extended their lead through a superb direct free-kick from Julian Brandt which went in off the underside of the crossbar. That strike put the wind in Leverkusen’s sails and they sealed the victory moments later when substitute Kevin Kampl scored with a wonderful long-range effort.
Man of the match
As has so often been the case over the past year or so, Karim Bellarabi was Leverkusen’s most dangerous outlet here. The visitors were out of sorts initially at the Weser Stadion but the 25-year-old was on his game, driving at the home defence with his pace and fearless direct running, opening spaces for his team-mates to exploit.
Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt can afford to breathe a sigh a relief. His side had lost three league matches in a row, but picked up maximum points on Matchdays 6 and 7. Furthermore, this victory ended Bayer 04’s disappointing recent record against Bremen, who had won their last two fixtures at home against the Werkself.
Stats of the match
- Claudio Pizarro made his first start for Bremen since rejoining the club over the summer. The last time he started a Bundesliga match was also against Leverkusen, back in May 2015 for Bayern.
- Mehmedi netted his first Bundesliga goal for Leverkusen with his seventh shot.
- Brandt scored from the first direct free-kick he ever took in the Bundesliga.
Bremen: Wiedwald – Gebre Selassie, Lukimya, Vestergaard, Garcias – Fritz, Kroos (Zander 56’), Öztunali (Hilßner 56’) – Junuzovic – Ujah, Pizarro
Leverkusen: Leno – Donati, Tah, Papadopoulos, Boenisch – Kramer, Bender – Bellarabi (Kampl 59’), Brandt (Calhanoglu 72’), Mehmedi (Hernandez 76’) – Kießling