Werder Bremen ended a seven-game winless run and picked up just their fifth victory of the season as Leonardo Bittencourt‘s goal saw them past Freiburg on Sunday.
Both sides started brightly at the Schwarzwald-Stadion, with goalkeepers Alexander Schwolow and Jiri Pavlenka forced into early saves at their respective ends of the pitch. The two teams continued to probe, with Schwolow denying Theodor Gebre Selassie moments before Roland Sallai flashed an effort past Pavlenka and his right-hand post, following Nils Petersen’s superb chested layoff. The break in deadlock was inevitable and it was the visitors who got their noses in front, Bittencourt firing past Schwolow after Davy Klassen’s sweeping through ball top caught the Freiburg defence cold.
In search of a first win since January, Werder began the second half in positive fashion, looking to press home their advantage - and without a fine Freiburg intervention, they could have doubled their lead following Marco Freidl's marauding run. The hosts responded in kind, with Nicolas Höfler's rasping strike from just outside the area brilliantly tipped away by the outstretched right hand of Pavlenka. Sallai was the next man to go close, his flicked volley flashing just wide as Freiburg huffed and puffed at the Bremen door. They looked to have finally breached the Bremen defence when Manuel Gulde stabbed home, but his effort was ruled out for an offside in the build-up. It meant Bremen held on to pick up just their fifth league win of the season - despite a late red card for substitute Philipp Bargfrede - giving their survival hopes a much-needed shot in the arm.
- Freiburg have now lost nine of their last 14 home matches against Bremen.
- Despite the loss, they have already picked up more points after 27 matches (37) than they managed across each of the previous two seasons (36).
- Freiburg's Petersen, who scored both goals in the reverse fixture, registered 18 goals in 72 appearances for Bremen and has hit a club-record 84 in 172 for Freiburg. However, he is now without a goal in nine Bundesliga matches.
- Bittencourt's goal was his third of the season and first since scoring in the 3-1 win over Wolfsburg on Matchday 13.
- Bremen led the reverse fixture twice before settling for a 2-2 draw. Despite taking the lead in 14 of their 26 league games so far this season, they have won just five of them.
- This was only Bremen's second clean sheet of the season and first since beating Fortuna Düsseldorf on Matchday 18. It also ends their seven-game winless run since that win over Fortuna back in January.
Watch: Sargent: "I'm very proud of the team"
Freiburg: Schwolow - Schmid, Gulde, Koch, Günter (c) - Sallai (Kwon 81'), Haberer (Abrashi 71'), Höfler, Grifo - Höler - Petersen
Unused subs: Flekken, Leinhart, Schlotterbeck, Frantz, Borrello, Heintz, Keitel
Out: Kübler (knee), Waldschmidt (ankle)
Coach: Christian Streich
Bremen: Pavlenka - Gebre Selassie, Veljkovic, Moisander (c), Friedl (Lang 82') - M. Eggestein, Vogt (Bargfrede 35'), Klaassen - Bittencourt (Bartels 63'), Sargent (Osako 63'), Rashica (Selke 82')
Unused subs: Kapino, Langkamp, Groß, Woltemade
Out: Augustinsson (match fitness), J. Eggestein (not included), Füllkrug (torn ACL), Möhwald (knee), Pizarro (thigh), Sahin (not included), Toprak (calf)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt