SV Werder Bremen ended a run of two defeats on the bounce with a resounding 4-0 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach on Matchday 8.
Off the bar
First-half goals from Nils Petersen and Marko Arnautovic all but ended the game as a contest, before substitute Niclas Füllkrug and Zlatko Junuzovic added the icing on the cake to propel the Green-Whites to within two points of fourth-placed Borussia Dortmund.
Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf made a trio of changes for the mid-table clash, with Theodor Gebre Selassie, Assani Lukimya and Petersen all involved from the get-go. The home side made a bright start, too, with Lukas Schmitz enjoying plenty of left-wing freedom and delivering a peach of a ball that forced a back-pedaling Marc-Andre ter Stegen to tip over the crossbar inside the opening two minutes.
Werder's next foray, this time up the right, produced the game's first corner, as ter Stegen's attempted clearance fell to Arnautovic, whose downward volley was hooked away. A sluggish-looking Gladbach were growing in stature, though, and only the width of the upright denied Harvard Nordveit his first league goal of the season, after the Norwegian made a great connection with Juan Arango's inch-perfect flag kick.
Both sides were making a mess of defending corners, a point made pretty clear by the manner in which Gladbach conceded the first goal eight minutes before half time. Kevin De Bruyne's curler made its way unimpeded on to the head of Petersen, who stooped unmarked to give Bremen a well-earned advantage.
The Foals were floundering in the face of relentless waves of Bremen attacks, with a slalom run and cross from Junuzovic very nearly breaching ter Stegen's line once again. The Gladbach stopper was understandably unimpressed, and his frustrations reached a whole new level on the stroke of half time as Arnautovic collected Aaron Hunt's stunning through ball and coolly lifted over the keeper for 2-0.
Arnautovic the aggressor
Schaaf's men went in search of further goals immediately after the restart, again using the flanks to great effect as Arnautovic saw his fierce cross-shot cut out by the outstretched leg of ter Stegen. And when Gladbach did manage to get forward, all Arango and Nordveit could muster were pot-shots from well outside the Bremen box.
A change in personnel did little to reverse the visitors' fortunes, with Bremen's Arnautovic instead looking the most likely at the other end. The Austrian international sent a wicked effort narrowly past the upright, before brushing off Alvaro Dominguez on the counter and putting Bremen's third on a plate for Füllkrug in the 76th minute to cap a fine individual display. Bremen's tormentor-in-chief rightly received a standing ovation upon his withdrawal, and it was not all too long before the home faithful were on their feet again to celebrate a fine strike from Junuzovic four minutes from the end of normal time.
Line-ups and statistics