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Zack Steffen stars on Bundesliga debut as Fortuna Düsseldorf beat Werder Bremen


USA international goalkeeper Zack Steffen made a string of fine saves on his Bundesliga debut, including a couple from compatriot Josh Sargent, to help Fortuna Düsseldorf to a 3-1 win at Werder Bremen on Matchday 1 of the 2019/20 season.

Werder Bremen 1-3 Fortuna Düsseldorf
Goals: 0-1 Hennings (36’), 1-1 J. Eggestein (47’), 1-2 Karaman (52’), 1-3 Ayhan (64’)

Florian Kohfeldt's Bremen started the brighter of the two as Maxi Eggestein’s deflected effort sailed narrowly wide. The Werder captain’s younger brother, Johannes, had an effort ruled out for offside, before summer signing Ömer Toprak sent a diving header wide from former Borussia Dortmund midfielder Nuri Sahin’s teasing set-piece. Fortuna had offered little as an attacking force, but took the lead with nine minutes of the first half remaining when 31-year-old striker Rouwen Hennings swept home from close range after a determined run and cross from Kenan Karaman.

Steffen hadn’t had a save to make, but was picking the ball out of the net soon after the restart as Jo Eggestein got his head to a Milot Rashica cross to level. Parity lasted just five minutes, though. Bundesliga debutant Lewis Baker played a fine ball across the box for Erik Thommy, who smartly flicked into the path of Karaman to slam home. There were chances as both ends as Steffen thwarted Sahin and Jo Eggestein tested Jiri Pavlenka, before Kaan Ayhan headed in Thommy’s corner to give Fortuna daylight. Claudio Pizarro and Josh Sargent entered the fray as Werder threw the kitchen sink, but there was no beating Steffen, whose last save of note was to keep out fellow US international, Sargent.

Match stats

  • Fortuna won in Bremen for the first time in 16 attempts.
  • Steffen made 10 saves on his Bundesliga debut.
  • Hennings scored his second goal of the season, after opening his account in last week's DFB Cup first-round win against Villingen. He has found the net nine times in the Bundesliga, with two of his strikes falling away from home.
  • Ayhan scored a league-high four goals for a defender last season.
  • Düsseldorf are the only current Bundesliga team against whom Pizarro has not scored a goal.
  • Sargent scored his first Bundesliga goal with his first touch in the league in last season’s 3-1 win at home to Fortuna.


Bremen: Pavlenka – Gebre Selassie, Toprak (Sargent 82'), Moisander (c), Friedl (Pizarro 71') – M. Eggestein, Sahin, Klaassen – Osako, J. Eggestein, Rashica (Füllkrug 65')
Unused subs: Kapino, Möhwald, Harnik, Straudi, Groß
Out: Augustinsson (knee), Bargfrede (knee), Bartels (knee), Langkamp (calf), Veljkovic (broken toe)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt

Düsseldorf: Steffen – Zimmermann, Ayhan, Hoffmann, Gießelmann – Morales - Karaman (Sobottka 68'), Baker, Thommy (Pledl 76'), Suttner – Hennings (Fink 86')
Unused subs: Kastenmeier, Adams, Ofori, Bormuth, Appelkamp, Tekpetey
Out: Ampomah (groin), Barkok (shoulder), Bodzek (suspended), Kownacki (thigh), Rensing (shoulder), Stöger (knee), Wolf (nerve irritation), Zimmer (ankle)
Coach: Friedhelm Funkel