Werder Bremen came unstuck in the club's first Bundesliga 2 game in 40 years. Despite enjoying most of the possession and taking the lead through a Simon Falette own goal, it was only enough for a 1-1 draw with Hannover on the opening weekend of 2021/22.
With the help of AWS, who entered into a wide-ranging partnership agreement with the DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga at the start of this year, fans, pundits and journalists alike all now have access to more telling statistical information, such as Goal Probability, xGoals, Average Positions, Most Pressed Player and Attacking Zones.
This allows for greater insights when it comes to analysing matches - such as Bremen's tricky Matchday 1 assignment…
Watch: Bremen 1-1 Hannover in 60 seconds!
Both sides attacking one flank (each)
It may have ended in a 1-1 draw, but that result didn't look likely after the start to Saturday night’s clash. Bremen's attack caused Hannover's backline a lot of problems, keeping them busy down the flanks in the opening 15 minutes. However, the hosts lacked a real spark in attack with Yuya Osako's long-range shot the only effort of note in the opening 45 minutes. At half-time, Bremen's xGoals stood at just 0.10, while Hannover had amassed 0.41.
Hannover's new coach Jan Zimmermann saw his side enjoy just a third of the possession during the first 45 minutes, but they managed to be creative in attack where the hosts were left wanting. Ducksch wasted two opportunities, while Florent Muslija struck the crossbar from distance. The visitors' counter-attacking strategy worked, and Hannover made clever use of space out wide. While Bremen often went down the left to get forward, Hannover took their attacking play down the opposite flank.
Enthusiastic beginning, furious finale
The game opened up more and more in the second half, with Bremen - as they did at the start of the game - coming flying out of the blocks. Osako tested Ron-Robert Zieler with a low drive, which the 2014 FIFA World Cup winner was able to keep out. From the resulting corner, Falette nodded the ball into his own net just four minutes into the second half.
After chances at both ends, it was Marvin Ducksch who - after a fantastic through-ball from right-back Sei Muroya - brought Hannover level with a delightful chipped finish just six minutes later. As was the case in the first half, Bremen couldn't build upon their early pressure, with the central midfield losing their key battles in particular.
Hannover nipped Bremen's advances in the bud and produced quality chances of their own at the other end. Substitutes Linton Maina and Hendrik Weydandt had opportunities, too. Their deep squad played a part, but so did Zimmermann's deep-lying approach. The Average Positions show that Hannover dropped deep to control the midfield in central areas, with their attacking players shifting out wide to create space whenever the middle men advanced. A smart tactical shift which tipped the scales in their favour, and almost produced a win.
Room for improvement for Bremen
Bremen ran out of gas in the final quarter of the game, which almost cost them a first point of the campaign. It showed there's still plenty of room for improvement for Anfang's side. Time and again Hannover were able to steer play to the wings, with Bremen's Felix Agu the "Most Pressed Player" - thanks in no small part to the efforts of Hannover's Muroya.
In what was an exciting final 15 minutes of the game, Agu’s work was done as he came off on 74 minutes. However, nobody came close to his 39 pressed situations in the game.
Overall, Bremen will have gone away happy to have earned themselves a draw after Hannover's chances in the second half. In both halves, the Grün-Weißen started with the bit between their teeth, but both times were unable to build on their bright beginnings. Hannover handled the initial onslaught well and got to work going forward themselves - as shown by the xGoals at the end of 90 minutes, at 1.21 for Hannover and 0.78 for Bremen.