Niclas Füllkrug double downs Wolfsburg and halts Werder's woes
Niclas Füllkrug moved to the top of the Bundesliga goalscoring charts after a double from Werder Bremen's deadly marksman helped to halt Wolfsburg's unbeaten run and finally lift Grün-Weißen spirits.
Bremen 2-1 Wolfsburg
Goals: 1-0 Füllkrug 24' (pen.), 2-0 Füllkrug 77' (assist: Weiser), 2-1 Paredes 90'
Both sides were showing highly contrasting form going into this encounter at the Weserstadion. On an incredible run of six straight Bundesliga wins, Wolfsburg were dreaming of a spot in the top four. Werder, on the other hand, were desperate to halt a dismal sequence of four consecutive losses in which they shipped 17 goals. That the in-form Patrick Wimmer had the game's first big chance - the Wolfsburg attacker seeing his low shot blocked by Jiri Pavlenka - came as little surprise. However, Werder taking the initiative thereafter did raise an eyebrow from visiting coach Niko Kovac. The lively Anthony Jung provided Marvin Ducksch with the cross that might have led to a Bremen opener, had the latter got more purchase on the ball. Füllkrug was presented with an even better opportunity soon afterwards. When a VAR check noted that Yannick Gerhardt had handled from Jens Stage, the hosts had a penalty, which their top-scoring striker slid home with the utmost of confidence. The Germany international then had a close-range effort blocked before Koen Casteels spectacularly parried out a header from Werder's busy forward.
Wolfsburg scored 11 goals in their opening two matches of 2023 but they struggled to get going here. Kovac introduced Omar Marmoush and Joshua Guilavogui at the break in an attempt to mix things up, while the home side were happy to dig in and wait for their chances on the counter. Ilia Gruev, Ducksch and Mitchell Weiser all combined brilliantly on one such counter-thrust, the latter just failing to make the chance count. Füllkrug then went close from a corner as Ole Werner's side looked to put daylight between the teams. With the Wolves seemingly out of ideas, the River-Islanders advanced in earnest. Eren Dinkci hoisted a pass up from the touchline which Weiser pulled back into other danger zone. Füllkrug subsequently licked his lips and put his foot through the rolling ball for 2-0. His 13th goal of the season helped Werder get back to winning ways, with a late Kevin Paredes volley failing to spoil the home celebrations.
- Füllkrug overtook Christopher Nkunku at the top of the Bundesliga goalscoring charts with 13 goals.
- Werder's No.11 has scored 10 of his last 11 penalties in the Bundesliga and has now been successful with nine spot-kicks in a row.
- Füllkrug put Werder 1-0 up for the sixth time this season, a league best.
- The Bremen marksman has netted three doubles this season.
- The last Werder player to score at least 13 goals after 18 matchdays was Miroslav Klose - 17 years ago.
- Paredes scored his first Bundesliga goal in what was his 12th appearance in the division.
Bremen: Pavlenka - Pieper, Stark, Friedl (c) - Weiser, Schmidt (Gruev 62'), Groß, Stage (Veljkovic 80'), Jung (Buchanan 71') - Füllkrug, Ducksch (Dinkci 71')
Unused subs: Zetterer, Chiarodia, Salifou, Mbom, Burke
Out: Agu (patella tendon), Bittencourt (ill), Schmid (knee)
Coach: Ole Werner
Wolfsburg: Casteels – Baku, Bornauw, Van de Ven, Otavio (Lacroix 70') – Svanberg, Arnold (c), Gerhardt (Guilavogui 46') – Wimmer (Paredes 82'), Wind (Waldschmidt 82'), Kaminski (Marmoush 46')
Unused subs: Pervan, Fischer, Franjic, Philipp
Out: L. Nmecha (knee), F. Nmecha (thigh)
Coach: Niko Kovac
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