Bremen - The spoils were shared in the in the Weserstadion as SV Werder Bremen and FC Schalke 04 played out a competitive 1-1 draw on Matchday 29.
Di Santo strikes
Werder started the game at a furious pace and took the lead through Franco di Santo’s fourth goal in six games, but Leon Goretzka‘s low strike ensured the Royal Blues took a point from a game that the home side just about shaded, without converting their dominance into clear-cut chances.
Bremen had recorded a massive win at Hannover 96 the previous week thanks to a last-minute header from Sebastian Prödl, and amid a thunderous atmosphere, began on the front foot, with Cedrick Makiadi having a shot blocked inside the first minute. Their pressing was relentless in the opening quarter of the game and di Santo deservedly put them in front with a low finish under the body of Ralf Fährmann after a wonderfully cute pass from Eljero Elia.
Just two minutes later, Fährmann then brilliantly tipped another di Santo effort onto the post, as the home side continued to expose a Schalke defence looking disjointed with 19-year-old midfielder Kaan Ayhan playing at centre back. The visitors had offered next to nothing in attack, but they drew level, somewhat fortunately, on the half-hour mark as Goretzka controlled Prödl’s clearance and expertly fired a half-volley through the crowd that nestled in the corner.
It was a momentary shock for the home support and a costly error from Prödl, but one which the Austrian made up for less than a minute later when he cleared Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s rebound off the line after Raphael Wolf had thwarted Chinedu Obasi. Wolf then had to be alert to deny Huntelaar’s low strike and then gather at the second attempt a few minutes after the restart.
Di Santo, who had suffered a knock in the first half, lasted just nine minutes of the second period before being replaced by Theodor Gebre Selassie, and without him Werder were deprived of their previous attacking thrust, dominating possession and putting in plenty of crosses, but failing to test Fährmann, with Selassie and Makiadi looping headers harmlessly over the bar.
Elia had moved into the striking position for Robin Dutt's charges, with the Dutchman blazing a left-foot shot wide of the target with 20 minutes to go. Zlatko Junuzovic’s long-range strike then forced an acrobatic stop from Fährmann, but an 11th goal of the season in the final 15 minutes of a game eluded Bremen, with neither team able to find a winner.
Bremen move onto 33 points, seven clear of the relegation play-off spot, while Schalke are up to 55, also seven clear of 4th-placed Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the race for UEFA Champions League qualification.
Line-ups and statistics
Watch Goretzka's sweetly-struck equaliser at Bremen, courtesy of the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: