Quick-fire goals from Mario Vrancic and Moritz Stoppelkamp put the hosts firmly in the driving seat, but Bremen hit back through Davie Selke and second-half substitute Izet Hajrovic to leave Paderborn, who ended the game with ten men following Michael Heinloth's sending off, a point adrift of relegation play-off incumbents Hamburger SV with only four games left to play.
Hamburg’s 3-2 win over FC Augsburg coupled with VfB Stuttgart's 2-2 home draw with SC Freiburg ensured Paderborn kicked off needing at least a point to move off the foot of the standings. Andre Breitenreiter’s side duly threw everything at Bremen from the get-go, with Koen Casteels forced into an early save from Vrancic.
Paderborn had failed to score in ten of their 12 league games since the turn of the calendar year, but there was every indication that they would at least get on the scoresheet against a shaky looking Bremen outfit as Elias Kachunga went within a toe-end of getting something on Süleyman Koc’s raking right-wing cross.
The Green Whites’ response - a disallowed Philipp Bargfrede goal and a ferocious effort from Franco Di Santo was encouraging enough - but Paderborn swiftly wrestled back the initiative. Vrancic expertly volleyed home an outswinging corner from Stoppelkamp, who sent a towering header into the net just 90 seconds later.
Bremen upped the ante, with a deflected Zlatko Junuzovic effort striking Paderborn custodian Lukas Kruse square in the face. There was still time for the visitors to get on the scoresheet, though, as Sebastian Prödl directed a Junuzovic free kick onto the head of Selke to stick away his eighth of the campaign from six yards out.
Super sub Hajrovic
The action continued apace as Rafa Lopez brought a flying save out of Casteels early in the second half. Uwe Hünemeier headed straight at the goalkeeper from the ensuing corner, with Bremen only beginning to show signs of life as an attacking unit around the hour-mark when Felix Kroos’ cross made its way to Di Santo, who showed great control before testing the reflexes of Kruse with an audacious overhead attempt.
Kruse was clearly impeded as Bremen had another goal ruled out from a Junuzovic set piece, but the Paderborn stopper was picking the ball out of the net shortly after. Hajrovic took aim from 18 yards, firing under the legs of a defender and squeezing a low effort past the unsighted Kruse to level. Despite finishing the contest with ten men after Heinloth picked up his second booking of the afternoon for a foul on Kroos, Paderborn almost nicked the win as Koc drove through the midfield and skewed agonisingly wide.
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