Werder Bremen striker Niclas Füllkrug scored his fourth goal of the season to earn his side a valuable point in a 1-1 draw away to Freiburg on Saturday.
Without a win since the opening day of the season, Freiburg began intent on rectifying that and their red shirts swarmed all over Bremen in the opening exchanges. Nils Petersen fired an early warning just over the bar with a header from Jonathan Schmid’s cross, before Philipp Lienhart prodded in from close range after Vincenzo Grifo’s corner wasn’t cleared. The Black Forest side thought they had doubled their lead shortly afterwards, but Schmid’s angled drive was chalked off for offside. It proved to be a turning point as Bremen subsequently grew into the game and equalised when Füllkrug lashed in from the penalty spot after Nicolas Höfler had tripped Leonardo Bittencourt. The visitors could even have gone ahead just before half-time with their first chance from open play, but Florian Müller’s point-blank save kept out Nick Woltemade’s fierce shot.
Freiburg regrouped during the interval and were again the better team early in the second period. Lucas Höler’s looping header caused a goalmouth scramble, but Petersen was unable to find the net with two chances in quick succession. As in the first half, though, Bremen rallied and should have taken the lead following a flowing team move that ended with Bittencourt heading over from Ludwig Augustinsson’s precise cross. Kevin Möhwald then made sure Müller was alert, sending a swerving, dipping half-volley at goal from distance that the Freiburg custodian was grateful to punch over. The hosts increased the intensity in the closing stages as they pushed for a winner, but aside from a header from Höler that sailed over the bar, they never seriously troubled Jiri Pavelnka and had to settle for a point from a hard-fought encounter.
- Lienhart's goal was his first in the Bundesliga.
- His strike was a result of a corner from Grifo - Freiburg's third goal following a set-piece from the midfielder this season.
- Füllkrug has scored six of the seven penalties he has taken in the Bundesliga, and the second of two this term.
- The Bremen striker now has four goals in 2020/21, as many as he managed the entire 2019/20 season.
- Freiburg are yet to keep a clean sheet in five competitive matches this season.
- Five games without a win in the Bundesliga represents Freiburg's longest barren spell with Streich as coach.
Watch: Füllkrug: “I’m a striker and want to score as many as possible”
Freiburg: Müller - Schmid, Lienhart, Heintz, Günter (c) - Sallai (Kwon 69'), Santamaria, Höfler, Grifo (Jeong 69') - Petersen, Höler (Demirovic 90')
Unused subs: Uphoff, Gulde, Kübler, Schlotterbeck, Tempelmann, Keitel
Out: Abrashi (not included), Flekken (elbow), Haberer (ankle)
Coach: Christian Streich
Bremen: Pavlenka - Gebre Selassie (c), Veljkovic, Friedl, Augustinsson - Mbom (Selke 77'), Eggestein, Bittencourt (Rashica 65') - Sargent, Füllkrug (Toprak 77'), Woltemade (Möhwald 46', Groß 87')
Unused subs: Kapino, Agu, Moisander, Chong
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt