Zack Steffen's deputy Florian Kastenmeier scored an unfortunate own goal as Werder Bremen moved out of the automatic relegation places at the expense of Fortuna Düsseldorf.
Fortuna Düsseldorf 0-1 Werder Bremen
Goal: 0-1 Kastenmeier (o.g. 67')
Red card: Moisander (90+5')
Fortuna and Werder were third and second bottom respectively going into their Rückrunde opener, which was already a genuine relegation six-pointer. The importance of the fixture clearly wasn't lost on either team, which made for a tense affair in Düsseldorf. The home side carved out the first chance of note but Dawid Kownacki chipped wide, caught in two minds over whether to shoot or cross to new loan signing Steven Skrzybski, arriving late at the far post. Kastenmeier - in the side for injured No.1 Steffen - then saved well from Davy Klaassen before Jiri Pavlenka tipped Alfredo Morales' strike over the bar at the other end as the first half ended goalless.
Less than 10 minutes into the second half, Kastenmeier has to be at his very best to deny Milot Rashica's superb header. The Kosovo international looked to have found the bottom left corner, only for Kastenmeier to throw himself to his right and make the save at full-stretch. Rashica went close again minutes later, but his effort after cutting inside from the left only hit the side netting at the near post. Werder finally made a deserved breakthrough with less than half an hour remaining as Bremen captain Niklas Moisander snuck round the back post to meet Rashica's free-kick, and his headed effort could only be diverted into his own net by Kastenmeier. Bremen held on for all three points despite Moisander's red card deep into injury time, ending a run of four successive losses to see them swap places with Fortuna who drop into the automatic relegation places.
- Bremen recorded only their fourth win of the season, and first since coming away from Wolfsburg with 3-2 triumph on 1 December 2019. Three of their four wins have come on the road.
- The defeat ends Düsseldorf's five-match unbeaten run at home to Bremen, and is their first home defeat to the Green-Whites since June 1991.
- Werder went into the game having recorded their lowest points total for the first half of a season in their history (17).
- They had already shipped 41 goals in 17 matches, and this was their first clean sheet of the season.
- Fortuna had won their last two against Bremen and, despite this loss, they have recorded more wins against Werder (15) than any other Bundesliga club.
- Rouwen Hennings has scored nine of Fortuna's last 11 league goals, but drew a blank here.
Fortuna: Kastenmeier – Zimmermann, Ayhan, Hoffmann, Suttner – Bodzek, Morales (Stöger 71') – Skrzybski, Fink (Ampomah 79'), Kownacki (Thommy 63') – Hennings (c)
Unused subs: Rensing, Gießelmann, Sobottka, Bormuth, Appelkamp, Tekpetey
Out: Steffen (knee), Karaman (pneumonia)
Coach: Friedhelm Funkel
Bremen: Pavlenka – Toprak (Veljkovic 71'), Vogt, Moisander – Bittencourt (Goller 80'), M. Eggestein, Sahin, Klaassen (c), Friedl – Sargent (Osako 86'), Rashica
Unused subs: Kapino, Pizarro, Langkamp, J. Eggestein, Groß, Woltemade
Out: Augustinsson (thigh), Bargfrede (knock), Füllkrug (torn ACL), Gebre Selassie (groin), Lang (muscular), Möhwald (knee)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt