Davy Klaassen scored twice as Werder Bremen all but relegated Paderborn with a convincing 5-1 win at the Benteler-Arena.
If you had told Bremen at the start of the season that this would be a meeting between 17th and 18th by Matchday 31, they may not have believed you, but such has been Die Grün-Weißen's predicament this term. Florian Kohfeldt's men started much the better side against their basement-dwelling hosts, though. Milot Rashica saw a first-half penalty saved by Leopold Zingerle but Bremen then took a deserved lead just a minute later when Klaassen headed Theodor Gebre Selassie's cross beyond the Paderborn keeper. Yuya Osako - playing ahead of the injured Leonardo Bittencourt - then got his name on the scoresheet, following up on Josh Sargent's deflected shot to stroke home. Klaassen then bagged his second with the first half drawing to a close, volleying home the pick of the bunch after Milos Veljkovic had headed down a Rashica set piece.
Paderborn nearly reduced the arrears at the start of the second half when Sven Michel - who had scored the winner in the reverse fixture - steered Antony Evans's cross onto Jiri Pavlenka's post. Michel then shot from range but Pavlenka collected comfortably. The second-half traffic soon started flowing in the same direction as the first's had, though, and Maximilian Eggestein made it four when he reacted quickest to another saved shot from Sargent - the floodgates opening as the heavens followed suit. Paderborn coach Steffen Baumgart tried to inject some attacking verve into his side for the final half hour, bringing on Kai Pröger and Abdelhamid Sabiri, and he was rewarded when the latter forced home following a corner. Bremen forward Niclas Füllkrug got a run out for the first time in nine months with ten minutes left and added to the scoreline before Christian Dingert's whistle went to conclude the game at 5-1. Paderborn will go down if they fail to beat Union Berlin on Tuesday. The great escape is still possible for Bremen.
- Rashica remains without a goal since December's 6-1 loss to Bayern Munich - a 1,259-minute drought.
- Four of Klaassen's 11 Bundesliga goals since joining Bremen from Everton in 2018 have been headers. This was his first Bundesliga brace.
- Bremen have won three of their seven games since the restart, having won just two of their previous 20.
- Paderborn's Klaus Gjasula picked up his 17th Bundesliga yellow card, overtaking Tomasz Hajto as the most booked player ever in Germany's top flight in a single season.
- Jan-Luca Rumpf made his Bundesliga debut. The 20-year-old played with three centre-backs - Uwe Hünemeier, Sebastian Schonlau and Luca Kilian - unavailable.
- Sabiri scored his fourth Bundesliga goal. The previous three had come in victories over Fortuna Düsseldorf, Eintracht Frankfurt and Freiburg.
Watch: Davy Klaassen on Bremen's "all or nothing" relegation six-pointer
Paderborn: Zingerle - Jans (Ritter 46'), Rumpf, Strohdiek (c), Collins - Evans (Sabiri 64'), Gjasula (Pröger 64'), Vasiliadis, Antwi-Adjei (Holtmann 72') - Srbeny (Zolinski 46'), Michel
Unused subs: Huth, Fridjonsson, Dräger, Jastrzembski
Out: Hünemeier (suspended), Kilian (thigh), Mamba (suspended), Schonlau (Achilles tendon)
Coach: Steffen Baumgart
Bremen: Pavlenka - Gebre Selassie, Veljkovic, Moisander (c), Augustinsson (Friedl 76') - M. Eggestein, Vogt, Klaassen (Groß 86') - Osako (Füllkrug 76'), Sargent (Selke 76'), Rashica (Bargfrede 59')
Unused subs: Kapino, Bittencourt, Langkamp, Bartels
Out: Möhwald (knee), Pizarro (thigh), Sahin (hip), Toprak (ankle)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt