Bremen - A dramatic late brace from Nils Petersen earned Werder Bremen a 2-0 home victory over Hannover 96 in Friday evening's Bundesliga Matchday 20 opener.
Early Bremen pressure
The striker on loan from FC Bayern broke the deadlock in the 85th minute of a contest Bremen had dominated at least in terms of possession, and wrapped up the points with a spectacular second goal three minutes later. The result gives Werder their first points of 2013 after losses to Dortmund and Hamburg and moves them up to 25 points in midtable, just one behind their defeated visitors
Then hosts almost got off to the ideal start following a second-minute corner, Assani Lukimya rising to meet Aaron Hunt's ball in with a header that scraped the aluminium on its way over. Not long after that, Sokratis slid in at the other end to block a shot from Mame Diouf as the encounter got off to a lively start.
It was Werder who were making most of the early running and with ten minutes on the clock, the visitors had Ron-Robert Zieler to thank for maintaining parity. First the keeper did well to get down to a shot from Zlatko Junuzovic, then he did even better to push away Sokratis' follow-up header. A couple of minutes on from that, Zieler was at full stretch again to foil another headed effort from the Greek international centre back
Hannover fail to exploit breakaways
The Green-Whites eased off the gas somewhat after that high-powered opening, but after Diouf had failed to make the best of a half-chance on the break Zieler was earning his corn again, this time blocking a Nils Petersen shot with his legs. Just after the half-hour mark Diouf led the way in another counter-attack down the left that neither Szabolcs Huszti nor Jan Schlaudraff was able to turn to Hannover's profit.
The 96ers' personnel woes were then compounded when frontman Mohamed Abdellaoue had to go after in the 41st minute after injuring his knee in a collision with Werder's Kevin De Bruyne, Konstantin Rausch coming on in his stead. The final chance of the half fell to Bremen, Junuzovic teeing up a miscued Karim Haggui clearance for Hunt to volley narrowly over.
The next opportunity of the contest fell at the same end but, three minutes after the restart, it was Hannover's and they almost went in front from it. Schlaudraff unleashed a shot from outside the box that home keeper Sebastian Mielitz could only knock straight to the feet of Diouf - but the Senegalese striker's first-time effort came of Mielitz and flew inches wide of the post. After that, the Green-Whites started slowly winding up their attacking engine again, albeit without initially putting the 96ers' defence in much serious danger.
True to the pattern of the game, Hannover continued to look at least as threatening as the hosts on their occasional breakaways - Diouf again testing Mielitz after being fed from the left by Rausch with quarter of an hour to go. Bremen responded to that one by nearly breaking the deadlock courtesy of another Sokratis header, but Manuel Schmiedebach's goalline clearance saved the day this time.
Petersen to the rescue
Persistence paid however, and with five minutes of regulation time remaining Bremen finally broke the deadlock. Eljero Elia stepped past Christian Pander down the right and played in a low ball for Nils Petersen to drill home at the near post. The Weserstadion erupted, and erupted again three minutes later when Petersen bagged his second to put the result suddenly beyond doubt. A great solo run from Elia, a pass left to Yildirim, a delicate lob into the middle and a first-time volley in off the post by the FC Bayern loanee. His ninth goal of the season, and a real grandstand finish.
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