Werder coach Thomas Schaaf had grounds aplenty for celebration midway through the first half as...
Werder coach Thomas Schaaf had grounds aplenty for celebration midway through the first half as...

Bremen safe, Europe still on ice for Frankfurt

Bremen - SV Werder Bremen secured their top-flight status for another year, despite only managing a 1-1 draw at home to Eintracht Frankfurt.

De Bruyne does it

Kevin De Bruyne put the Green-Whites in the driving seat with the opener midway through the first half, with Srdjan Lakic earning Frankfurt a share of the spoils with the leveller shortly after the restart. Armin Veh's Eagles, for whom a win would have ensured a place in the Europa League next season, drop to sixth behind SC Freiburg and now need a point from their final game against Wolfsburg to be sure of staying ahead of Hamburger SV.

Bremen, having stepped out to a rip-roaring welcome from the Weserstadion faithful, started the contest in the same vein. Clemens Fritz had veteran Frankfurt keeper Oka Nikolov scrambling to turn his long-range effort round the post inside of two minutes and Nils Petersen had a couple of headed half-chances as the Green-Whites poured forward in search of an early breakthrough.

Seemingly content to await their opportunities on the counter, the visitors were standing firm at the back and had looked to have survived the early onslaught when Bremen struck. Philipp Bargfrede played De Bruyne free in the left-hand side of the box and the Belgian midfielder planted a precise finish past Nikolov into the corner of the net. It was his eighth, and at this juncture arguably most important Bundesliga goal for the Hanseatics.

Efficient Lakic

Having gone behind, Frankfurt now steadily started trying to up the pressure themselves, seeing progressively more of the ball as the remainder of the half unfolded. Their attempts to breach the ever deeper-lying hosts' back row enjoyed little success, however, until Takashi Inui's backheel and Bastian Oczipka's cross carved out a close-range opportunity which Marco Russ could only head over the bar in the 43rd minute.

Werder started the second half in a similarly lively vein to the first, Sebastian Prödl heading an Aaron Hunt corner just wide and Hunt himself blasting over the bar inside the first few minutes. Frankfurt's first sniff of goal came six minutes in - and they promptly took it. Following a cross in from Sebastian Jung, Karim Matmour unselfishly cut the ball back from the near post for Lakic to apply the finishing touch, the Croatian frontman making his first effort on goal of the contest count.

Safe at last

Game on again and the action swung from end to end, Inui missing the mark with a couple of efforts for Frankfurt and the prodigiously hard-working De Bruyne setting up Petersen for a shot straight into the arms of Nikolov on the hour mark. All-in-all, though, the balance of the contest appeared to be swinging Eintracht's way now and as the final 20 minutes broke, one of the biggest cheers of the afternoon erupted with news that Bayern had finally gone in front against Augsburg.

After that, it was a case of playing down the clock and despite a couple of late scares - not least when Bargfrede lost possession to Oczipka in the 90th minute, the full back's cross coming to naught - the home team's, and fans', relieved celebrations duly got under way come the final whistle.

Line-ups and statistics

Angus Davison