Bremen - VfB Stuttgart fought back to earn a deserved point from their trip to SV Werder Bremen as both sides ended the game with ten men on a dramatic evening at the Weser Stadion.
Kevin de Bruyne gave Bremen the lead in the 23rd minute and Zlatko Junuzovic made it two ten minutes later, although Stuttgart had arguably been the more active side in the first half. Martin Harnik brought the visitors back into the game five minutes into the second half and Cacau scored a deserved equaliser in the 81st minute before two red cards concluded the proceedings.
The first chance of the game fell to the visitors in the 17th minute when Theodore Gebre Selassie was caught in possession by Tunay Torun, but after doing the hard work in winning the ball, he was unable to find a gap for his shot, which was blocked. The smallest of gaps is precisely what de Bruyne found to put Bremen in front with their first attack of the game in the 23rd minute. After exchanging passes with Nils Petersen, the left-footer curled a shot just inside Sven Ulreich's near post for his second goal in as many matches.
The goal was rather against the run of play as Stuttgart had spent much of the game on the front foot and they carried on probing after falling behind. Shinji Okazaki missed a glorious chance to bring the Swabians level when he headed Christian Gentner's cross into the side-netting from six yards out, and it proved to be a costly miss as Bremen broke to make it two. Marko Arnautovic sent Petersen to the goal line and his pull-back was tucked in from six yards by Junuzovic for his first Bundesliga goal. Petersen was thwarted by Ulreich as he tried to make it three before half time, while Torun wasted his second chance of the game with another blocked shot for a luckless Stuttgart.
Torun's two misses meant he remained in the dressing room at half time with Ibrahim Traore taking his place in the Stuttgart side. And the move paid dividends with Traore sending in the cross for Harnik to leap high and head in off the base of the right-hand post from six yards. Very little had changed, in truth, from the first half, other than the fact Stuttgart finally rewarded themselves in front of goal. They returned to their profligate ways on the hour mark, though, when Okazaki again headed wide, this time from ten yards out.
Ulreich was alert to push Aaron Hunt's shot behind for a corner as Bremen threatened to score a third with only their fourth shot before Stuttgart wasted another chance with Harnik's curled shot wide of the far post also testing the nerves of the home fans inside the Weser Stadion. Stuttgart never gave up and Georg Niedermeier embodied their will and determination as he met Traore's corner and managed to get a shot in on goal which Cacau diverted in from close range to bring the visitors level in the 81st minute. Their chances of finding a winner were reduced in the 88th minute when Harnik was shown a second yellow card. Assani Lukimya followed him for an early bath in a turbulent ending to the match.
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