Bremen - For arguably one of the Bundesliga's more attack-minded outfits, Werder Bremen did not enjoy much of a return from their forwards in the early games of the season, with only Nils Petersen and Joseph Akpala getting on the scoresheet - once each. That all changed with a vengeance in the 4-0 Matchday 8 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach, however, with forwards accounting for three of the goals.
Improvements not only in attack
Petersen was the one to break the deadlock in Saturday's match - the 23-year-old has been putting in extra shifts recently, but it was his growing confidence rather than improved finishing that paid dividends. "It's just strange, I've had maybe 300 shots on goal, but then I score with a header," he noted.
Bremen's second goalscorer, Marko Arnautovic, was similarly relieved. "I'd been waiting for so long to score my first goal," the Austrian international said after possibly his best performance since joining Werder from Inter Milan in 2010. "I hope the dam's burt now."
Niclas Füllkrug, who worked his way up through the club's youth ranks, scored Werder's third after coming on late, further adding to the impression Bremen have a lot of attacking potential in hand.
Yet, it wasn't only the Green-Whites' forward quality that helped them back t winning ways after recent defeats against FC Augsburg and Bayern Munich, as Thomas Schaaf's side at the same time looked very solid at the back - possibly again thanks to the extra work being put in between matches. "We've been discussing and analysing our defending and worked on it a lot," explained midfielder Zlatko Junuzovic after the game.
Bremen looked well in control at 2-0 up, but the half-time discussion focused on ensuring Mönchengladbach were given no chance of coming back - as VfB Stuttgart did from the same position on Matchday 4, to snatch a draw. "We wanted to make sure that wouldn't happen again," Petersen explained.
In the same vein, Schaaf pointed out that instead of changing tactics after going in front, "the team remained focused from the first minute until the last, and rewarded themselves with four great goals."
Allofs already looking ahead
Sporting director Klaus Allofs felt the comprehensive win would give the team stability and help them in the upcoming game against Greuther Fürth. "I'm not worried about a relapse. In my opinion, we'll likely do better in Fürth now than we did against Augsburg."
Aaron Hunt, who captained Bremen in the absence of the injured Clemens Fritz, is looking for another three points against the Bundesliga newbies, saying "We have to win in Fürth if we're to establish ourselves higher up the table." If the forwards carry on where they left off aginst Gladbach, Bremen have a healthy prospect of doing just that.
Michael Reis reporting from Bremen