Niclas Füllkrug fired Werder Bremen back into the automatic promotion places at the expense of Darmstadt, who lost Klaus Gjasula to a first-half red card.
Bremen created the first real opening as Füllkrug released Eren Dinkci, who couldn't beat Darmstadt goalkeeper Marcel Schuhen one-on-one. Darmstadt were already on the backfoot when central midfielder Gjasula's challenge on Romano Schmid was upgraded from a yellow to red card upon a VAR review. Füllkrug shot wide and tested Schuhen as Ole Werner's promotion candidates looked to ram home their numerical advantage, before Niklas Schmidt struck a post and the steely-eyed Schuhen repelled a well-struck Felix Agu strike.
Bremen forged ahead in the 52nd minute when Füllkrug turned in Dinkci's cross at the far post for his 14th Bundesliga 2 goal of the campaign. Schuhen kept the Lilies in with a shout with another smart save to thwart Dinkci, but the visitors rarely threatened the Werder goal. When they did, in the 80th minute through substitute Braydon Manu, Jiri Pavlenka was in the way - and the offside flag up. Schmid and Nick Woltemade were denied some late gloss by the woodwork and Schuhen respectively as Bremen crossed the finish line level on points with leaders St. Pauli, and three clear of Darmstadt, with seven rounds of fixtures to go.
- Werder's 16-goal top scorer Marvin Ducksch, who has fired off a league-high 115 shots on goal, missed a game for the first time since his August move from Hannover.
- Füllkrug has scored 10 of his 14 Bundesliga 2 goals this season since Werner came in as coach.
- Bremen are unbeaten in six home games under Werner (W5, D1).
- The Green-Whites avenged their 3-0 loss in the reverse fixture.
- Darmstadt’s top scorers are Phillip Tietz (13 goals) and Pfeiffer (12 goals). However, the former has netted just once in his last 11 outings; the latter is 11 without a goal.
- Darmstadt lost away for the first time in nine league matches.
Bremen: Pavlenka - Rapp (Gruev 73'), Veljkovic, Jung - Groß - Mbom, Schmidt (Schönfelder 90'+1), Schmid, Agu - Füllkrug, Dinkci (Woltemade 83')
Unused subs: Zetterer, Park, Mai, Straudi, Chiarodia, Assale
Out: Bittencourt (not included), Ducksch (not included), Friedl (abdominals), Plogmann (concussion), Toprak (calf), Weiser (thigh)
Coach: Ole Werner
Darmstadt: Schuhen - Bader, Müller, Isherwood (Sobiech 80'), Holland (c) - Skarke (Honsak 65'), Kempe, Gjasula, Mehlem (Celic 84') - Seydel (Manu 65'), Tietz (Pfeiffer 65')
Unused subs: Behrens, Karic, Riedel
Out: Ronstadt (muscular), Schnellhardt (illness)
Coach: Torsten Lieberknecht
Matchday 27 round-up
Schalke 2-1 Hannover
Goals: 1-0 Itakura (43’), 1-1 Teuchert (50’), 2-1 Zalazar (54’)
Schalke interim head coach Mike Büskens made it two wins from as many games after his side edged a tight encounter 2-1 at home to Hannover to keep up the pressure at the top of the Bundesliga 2 table. The match hung in the balance for much of the first half until Ko Itakura broke the deadlock on 43 minutes following a corner. Former Schalke forward Cedrick Teuchert equalised for the visitors soon after the restart, but Rodrigo Zalazar restored the Royal Blues’ lead almost immediately to keep the Gelsenkirchen outfit just four points behind leaders St. Pauli.
St. Pauli 1-0 Heidenheim
Goals: 1-0 Kyereh (67’)
Bundesliga 2 leaders St. Pauli took another step towards the promised land of the top flight with a narrow win over fellow promotion hopefuls Heidenheim on Friday. A hard-fought first half ended goalless, even if the home side enjoyed more of the ball, but they were unable to outfox a well-drilled visiting back line. It was a similar story after the break until midway through the half, when Daniel Kyereh struck to break Heidenheim’s resistance and give Pauli three more points.
Watch: Highlights of Pauli's win over Heidenheim
Fortuna Düsseldorf 1-1 Hamburg
Goals: 1-0 Bodzek (85’), 1-1 Glatzel (90’+3)
After losing 2-1 in Nuremberg in their last outing, Hamburg’s promotion push suffered another setback on Matchday 27 as they needed a stoppage-time Robert Glatzel equaliser to snatch a point in Düsseldorf. HSV enjoyed the better start but Fortuna grew into the game and twice hit the woodwork through Edgar Prib and Emmanuel Iyoha to assert themselves on proceedings. The hosts appeared to be on course for a much-needed victory in their battle against relegation when substitute Adam Bodzek struck in the 85th minute, but Robert Glatzel headed in his 16th goal of the season to rescue a draw for HSV that leaves them six points adrift of the top three, with a game in hand.
Sandhausen 0-1 Hansa Rostock
Goals: 0-1 Verhoek (49’)
Hansa Rostock emerged victorious in their relegation six-pointer with fellow strugglers Sandhausen on Saturday as John Verhoek’s 15th goal of the season proved the difference between the sides. Sandhausen went on the front foot in the fast half against a passive away side, but lacked the necessary cutting edge in the final third to make their dominance count. They were left ruing such inefficiency in the second period when Verhoek broke the deadlock against the run of play, ultimately firing his side to a third straight win that leaves them seven points clear of the drop zone.
Aue 0-3 Karlsruhe
Goals: 0-1 Hofmann (54’), 0-2 Wanitzek (67’), 0-3 Lorenz (85’)
Karlsruhe put further daylight between themselves and the bottom three on Friday evening with a 3-0 success in Aue that simultaneously plunged the home side ever deeper into the relegation mire. Goalmouth action was few and far mention in a first half in which both teams laboured to find any rhythm, but that all changed after the restart when the visitors took the lead through Philipp Hofmann in the 54th minute. Marvin Wanitzek added another shortly afterwards and substitute Marc Lorenz sealed the victory late on with his first goal of the season.
Nuremberg 1-1 Dynamo Dresden
Goals: 1-0 Nürnberger (12'), 1-1 Daferner (42')
The home side flew out the traps, given a 12th-minute lead by Fabian Nürnberger who turned cleverly on the edge of the Dynamo box before firing home on his right-foot from 20-yards out. They should have doubled their lead just three minutes later but Lukas Schleimer could only fire wide with the goal at his mercy. And shortly before the break, the visitors were level as Christoph Daferner found the back of the net for the 12th time this season. Dresden had goalkeeper Kevin Broll to thank for ensuring their team took a point back home, with the 26-year-old making a fine double save late on.
Holstein Kiel 1-0 Ingolstadt
Goals: 1-0 Mühling (38')
Ingolstadt went into the weekend rooted to the bottom of the division and Kiel were hoping to alleviate their own relegation worries with victory on Sunday. The home side were on course to do just that after 38 minutes as Alexander Mühling scored in a third successive league game. That ultimately proved to be the decisive goal of the game as Kiel opened a six point gap to the relegation playoff place, while Ingolstadt stay bottom and are 13 points back from that same 16th-place position.
Jahn Regensburg 1-0 Paderborn
Goals: 1-0 Albers (66')
Despite having a number of opportunities to break the deadlock in the first-half, Paderborn were unable to make their chances count as Regensburg - and goalkeeper Alexander Meyer, in particular - kept the away side at bay. Regensburg improved after the break and were in front shortly after the hour mark as Andreas Albers fired through the legs of Jannik Huth from a tight angle. Regensburg went on to hold on to victory and are just a point - and two places - back from Paderborn in eighth-place as a result.
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