Santiago Garcia's strike gave SV Werder Bremen a 1-0 victory over Bayer 04 Leverkusen
Santiago Garcia's strike gave SV Werder Bremen a 1-0 victory over Bayer 04 Leverkusen

Garcia inflicts second successive defeat on Leverkusen

Bremen – Bayer 04 Leverkusen suffered a second straight Bundesliga defeat as Santiago Garcia gave Werder Bremen a 1-0 victory at the Weserstadion.

Aerial threat

Garcia poked the ball past Bernd Leno with fifteen minutes remaining to hand Bremen a deserved victory which lifts them into eleventh place in the table.

Determined to make up for that Matchday 16 defeat to Armin Veh’s team, Leverkusen started brightly at the Weserstadion and went close to opening the scoring inside three minutes, but Stefan Kießling failed to direct his header on target from Gonzalo Castro’s inviting cross. At the other end, Bremen’s top scorer Nils Peterson fired wide with a speculative effort from the edge of the penalty area, before Kießling headed straight at Raphael Wolf from a Castro corner.

The visitors continued to enjoy the lion’s share of possession as the half wore on, with Kießling looking particularly hungry to add to his personal tally of nine Bundesliga goals this season. Wolf had to be on his toes to deny the 29-year-old on the half-hour mark, getting a hand to a low effort from the edge of the six-yard box. The rebound landed at the feet of Simon Rolfes, but the Werkself skipper was adjudged to have been in an offside position.

Wasted opportunities

Robin Dutt’s side looked dangerous on the counter-attack, however. Petersen sent a powerful header against the outside of the post. Ömer Toprak was shown a yellow card for bringing down Eljero Elia in full flight on the edge of the box, but Aaron Hunt fired the resulting set-piece against the Leverkusen wall. Castro then curled a free-kick of his own high over the Bremen crossbar – an effort that in many ways encapsulated the visitors’ profligate first-half display.

Sami Hyypiä’s team continued to get into promising positions after the restart, but the end product was still nowhere to be seen as Heung Min Son and Robbie Kruse both lost possession with several team-mates standing unmarked in the penalty area. They were almost made to pay moments later as Theodor Gebre Selassie laid the ball off to Petersen deep inside the area, who shot inches over the crossbar with Bernd Leno beaten.

Garcia pounces

An opening goal almost came from the most unlikely of sources half-way through the second period. Another Castro free-kick found Philipp Wollscheid at the far post, but Wolf produced another superb save to deny the centre-back. The game became stretched as both teams went in search of a winning goal, with Petersen again firing wide from inside the area.

However, the deadlock was finally broken with 15 minutes remaining. Hunt mounted another Bremen counter-attack, before playing Cedric Makiadi clean through on goal. Rolfes looked to have done enough to clear the danger, but Garcia pounced on the loose ball to prod past Bernd Leno and give the hosts the lead. Leverkusen pushed forward in search of an equaliser, but it failed to materialise as Hyypiä's side lost further ground on league leaders FC Bayern München.

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