Dutch striker Wout Weghorst headed in his 12th goal of the Bundesliga season as Wolfsburg struck late to claim victory and pile further pressure on relegation-threatened Werder Bremen.
Bremen made the brighter start on home soil but it was visitors Wolfsburg who had the first sight of goal, with Josip Brekalo cutting inside and flashing an effort wide of the post. The Wolves' top scorer Weghorst then found himself one-on-one with Jiri Pavlenka after a lovely touch to get away from Milos Veljkovic, but the Czech keeper got a hand to the Dutchman's dinked attempt, allowing Veljkovic to clear off the line. Both sides were looking well-organised defensively, with Maximilian Arnold putting his body on the line to block Josh Sargent, and Kevin Vogt in the right place to deflect Admir Mehmedi's side-footed shot out for a corner. The best chance of the half fell to Bremen's Yuya Osako on the half-hour mark, but the Japan forward's well-struck effort was palmed away by Koen Casteels as the two sides cancelled each other out in an entertaining first 45 minutes.
Chances were at a premium early in the second half, with Davy Klaassen seeing an effort blocked by USA defender John Brooks and Ludwig Augustinsson fizzing a free-kick just over. The heavens opened just after the hour mark, with the torrential rain making for difficult playing conditions as both coaches brought on fresh legs. Wolves midfielder Xaver Schlager fired over after a training-ground corner routine, before unleashing a glorious long-range effort that clipped the top of the crossbar. The game appeared to be heading for a goalless draw until Kevin Mbabu made a key interception in midfield and fed substitute Felix Klaus, whose inch-perfect cross from the right was headed home by Weghorst – his first goal since the Bundesliga restart. The visitors had opportunities to add to their lead, with Weghorst going close again and Brekalo drawing a smart stop from Pavlenka. Bremen threw everything they had at the Wolves in the final minutes but failed to avoid an 11th defeat in 15 home games this season. Florian Kohfeldt's side remain three points adrift of the relegation play-off place and six from outright safety.
- Weghorst scored his first Bundesliga goal since 1 March, taking his tally for the season to 12.
- His last five league goals have come on the road.
- Wolfsburg have netted 11 headed goals in the second half of the season, more than any other Bundesliga side, having only managed two in the first half of the campaign.
- Bremen were previously unbeaten in their last eight meetings with Wolfsburg (W6, D2), and had won their last four home games against the Wolves.
- The Wolves beat Bremen for the first time in four and a half years. They have scored more goals against the Green-Whites than against any other Bundesliga club (82).
- Werder have won just one of their 15 home games this season (D3, L11), and have scored just one goal in their last nine outings at the Weserstadion stretching back to November.
Watch: Weghorst: "Big win in the battle for Europe"
Bremen: Pavlenka – Gebre Selassie, Veljkovic, Moisander (c), Augustinsson – Vogt – Bargfrede (Bartels 61'), Klaassen (Woltemade 85') – M. Eggestein - Sargent (Bittencourt 76'), Osako (Selke 85')
Unused subs: Kapino, Lang, Langkamp, Friedl, Groß
Out: Füllkrug (match fitness), Möhwald (knee), Pizarro (thigh), Rashica (ankle), Sahin (hip), Toprak (calf)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt
Wolfsburg: Casteels (c) - Mbabu, Pongracic, Brooks, Roussillon (Tisserand 88') - Schlager (Gerhardt 83'), Arnold (Guilavogui 88') - Brekalo, Mehmedi (Ginczek 64'), Victor (Klaus 64') – Weghorst
Unused subs: Pervan, Knoche, Justvan, Marmoush
Out: Camacho (ankle), Otavio (ankle), Steffen (suspended), William (knee)
Coach: Oliver Glasner
Watch: Moisander: "We have to take more risks"