Watch: Grimaldo: "I have a lot of confidence in my shooting ability"
Watch: Alonso: "We played with good control"
Full-time: Werder 0-3 Leverkusen
Bayer Leverkusen returned to the top of the Bundesliga following an 11th victory in 12 Bundesliga games. The visitors might not have been at their free-flowing best at the Weserstadion but they did more than enough to claim three points thanks to an Olivier Deman o.g., Jeremie Frimpong's first-half strike and yet another Alejandro Grimaldo goal. Happy Birthday Xabi Alonso indeed.
© Cathrin Mueller
Werder hit the woodwork
Justin Njinmah races through on the right and wallops a shot at the target which batters off the crossbar. Unlucky.
Adli sees a deflected shot from close range bounce into the net but the assistant's flag is raised for offside.
It's time for Frimpong and Wirtz to be given a rest. Nathan Tella and Adam Hložek are on for B04.
Leverkusen's on-fire full-back is booked for an over-exuberant celebration.
B04 home and dry
It's a third goal for Leverkusen as Alex Grimaldo is allowed the freedom of the Weserstadion to race down the left. The Spain international waltzes into the Bremen box before hitting a rising finish into the net for 3-0. That's his seventh goal of the season!
Changes all around
Xabi Alonso has taken Victor Boniface off with Amine Adli coming on for the visitors. Werder, meanwhile, have thrown Woltemade and Njinmah into the mix.
Hofmann finds Xhaka, who in turn plays in Boniface as Leverkusen mount a dangerous counter attack. Boniface's shot is blocked wide of the target.
Werder are enjoying a decent spell right now but it's still their opponents who are deemed the likelier to score the game's next goal.
Bayer more likely
Ducksch has the ball in the net but Schmid was an inch offside in the build-up. It goes to a VAR check, which leaves Werder frustrated. There was next to nothing in that. Bayer remain 2-0 in front.
The Bremen forward tries to twist and turn his way into position inside the Leverkusen box and eventually goes down with Andrich in close proximity. The ref waves play on, leaving Ducksch livid.
The substitute is straight into the action with a crucial defensive header that frustrates the away side.
Werder's Felix Agu is on to make just his second appearance of this Bundesliga season.
Boniface off target
Frimpong is away down the flank, but not for long. Deman slides in and upends the Dutch flyer. That's a booking every day of the week.
© IMAGO/kolbert-press/Burghard Schreyer
In Leverkusen's last last away game, Hoffenheim clawed back a 2-0 deficit to level with Leverkusen. Granted, Bayer did go on to win that match but it does give Werder a sliver of hope that the visitors have been pegged back before.
Away we go again
Leverkusen get us underway in the second half. Can Werder produce a fightback here or will Leverkusen extend their lead?
Half-time: Werder 0-2 Leverkusen
The visitors are cruising back to the top of the Bundesliga table as things stand. An own goal and Jeremie Frimpong's super strike before the break have the Werkself looking good for all three points at the Weserstadion.
Bayer double lead
It's a second for Leverkusen and it's that man Jeremie Frimpong who lashes into the top corner for his fourth goal of this Bundesliga campaign.
Friedl bundles Boniface over out on the touchline and that's a yellow card for the Werder man.
Not quite up to speed
As in control as Bayer have been thus far, Xabi Alonso's men haven't quite clicked in attack yet. Frimpong and Hofmann have been trying with some link-ups while Florian Wirtz is occasionally menacing. Still, it's not exactly free flowing for Xabi Alonso's men right now.
As well as bossing possession, Leverkusen have also won 56% of the duels while they have prevented Bremen from having a single shot on goal thus far.
Leverkusen in control
Bayer's O.G. double
© Cathrin Mueller
Leverkusen's opener via that own goal means that Bremen now have an unwanted 66 o.g.'s to their name in top-flight history, a division record.
The referee awards a free kick to Leverkusen that irks the home players, who surround the official. Bittencourt says a little too much and is shown a yellow card.
It's a nightmare for the home side as Olivier Deman connects with a Hofmann cross from the left and looks on as the ball rolls slowly out of Zetterer's reach and into the corner.
Leverkusen's top scorer rounds Michael Zetterer and slides the ball home from an angle. That won't count, however, as the big striker was offside.
Werder are very much up for this. Leverkusen are not being given a moment's peace in possession as the hosts snap at their heels. Ducksch and Borré are looking menacing up top as Bremen threaten to find a breakthrough.
Werder get the game underway ...
Ok, the ground is jumping, the referee has flipped the coin and the teams have taken their positions .... here we go.
Teams in tunnel
Both sets of players are lining up in the tunnel, sharing handshakes and backslaps. It's almost time!
The Weserstadion is rapidly filling up as both teams go through their pre-match paces. Not long now to kick off.
Top spot up for grabs
So, after Bayern's victory against Cologne last night, Leverkusen were bumped off top spot by the record champions. A B04 victory today would send the Werkself back into pole position but should they draw, they will go level with the Bavarian giants on points but trail on goal difference.
Happy Birthday Xabi!
© IMAGO/Barrington Coombs/IMAGO/PA Images
Robert Andrich starts
© O.Behrendt via www.imago-images.de/imago images/Contrast
Werder starting XI
Zetterer - Veljković, Friedl (c), Jung - Weiser, Schmid, Stage, Bittencourt, Deman - Borré, Ducksch
Pavlenka, Stark, Pieper, Agu, Groß, Lynen, Kownacki, Njinmah, Woltemade
Leverkusen starting XI
Hrádecký (c) - Kossounou, Andrich, Hincapié - Frimpong, Palacios, Xhaka, Grimaldo - Hofmann, Wirtz - Boniface
Kovář, Stanišić, Tah, Tapsoba, Amiri, Puerta, Tella, Adli, Hložek
Are Bremen a threat?
Of course they are. The hosts are enjoying their best run of form for the past 13 months having won one and drawn two of their last three games. Werder also have a certain Marvin Ducksch brimming with confidence after the forward recently made his international debut with Germany.
Alonso's view on Bremen
© IMAGO/Laci Perenyi
Fritz's view on Leverkusen
© IMAGO/nordphoto GmbH / Christian Schulze
Watch: Juliane and Florian Wirtz - football-crazy siblings
Leverkusen on a roll
Bayer have won their last seven Bundesliga games in a row. Eight is the club record, albeit in a calendar year (2013) rather than a single campaign. Their haul of 31 points at this juncture, meanwhile, is a joint-Bundesliga record.
© IMAGO/Laci Perenyi
Watch: Bremen 2-3 Leverkusen - previous meeting
Watch: Frankfurt 2-2 Bremen - highlights
Watch: Leverkusen 4-0 Union - highlights
Hello and welcome!
Thanks for joining us for build-up and live coverage of this Matchday 12 fixture between Bremen and Leverkusen.