Werder Bremen boosted their survival hopes with a morale-boosting display to record a smash-and-grab 2-1 win away to Wolfsburg in the Matchday 22 opener on Friday night.
Wolfsburg 1-2 Werder Bremen
Billed as a crucial match in the fight against relegation, Wolfsburg and Bremen dispensed with early sparring and went straight for the knockout blow, with both teams attacking at a furious pace. The visitors edged in front through Serge Gnabry's deflected effort, and the striker added a second shortly afterwards with a smart finish following a set-piece. The Wolves pulled a goal back almost instantly, however, as Borja Mayoral prodded in at the back post. Wolfsburg dominated the rest of the half and could have equalised, but were denied by a combination of the woodwork and some fine saves by Felix Wiedwald.
The match continued at the same breakneck pace after the interval, although it was largely one-way traffic towards the Bremen goal. Daniel Didavi had the clearest opening to level the score from a corner, but he headed over when unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box. The hosts continued to probe until the final whistle, but Bremen – who have the leakiest backline in the Bundesliga so far this season – held firm to record a priceless victory.
Man of the Match
Always running and peeling off into space, Gnabry made sure the Wolfsburg defenders were on their toes throughout. His uncanny knack of scoring away from home continued here, with the Germany international chalking up his first Bundesliga brace.
After starting 2017 with four successive defeats, Bremen have now won back-to-back games for just the second time this season to move level on 22 points with Wolfsburg.
- Wolfsburg hat the woodwork twice in this match. The last time they did so was on 26 October 2014 in a 3-0 win over Mainz.Spanish teenager Mayoral scored his second Bundesliga goal of the season.Bremen's Zlatko Junuzovic covered more ground (12.07 kilometres) than anyone else on the pitch.
Wolfsburg: Benaglio (c) – Knoche, Luiz Gustavo, Rodriguez – Arnold – Blaszczykowski, Träsch (Gerhardt 81'), Didavi (Gomez 63'), Horn – Mayoral (Ntep 74'), Malli
Coach: Valerien Ismael
Bremen: Wiedwald – Gebre Selassie, Sane, Moisander, Bauer – M. Eggestein (Grillitsch 75'), Veljkovic – Bartels (Kainz 60'), Junuzovic (c) – Kruse, Gnabry (Pizarro 82')
Coach: Alexander Nouri
Watch: Wolfsburg striker Borja says his teammates must dig deep after Bremen defeat: