A gripping relegation battle between SV Werder Bremen and SV Darmstadt 98 ended in a draw after a dramatic second half.
With the early phases characterised by a fierce midfield battle, it took just over ten minutes for either side to create a real opportunity. As the first half wore on, Darmstadt began to assert some control over the game, with Konstantin Rausch and Jerome Gondorf both going close. It was Bremen who broke the deadlock, however. After Sambou Yatabare headed down a cross, Anthony Ujah pounced on the ball and hooked it over the line to put Werder ahead in the 33rd minute. Just 11 minutes later, Darmstadt equalised after Sandro Wagner was brought down in the area by Felix Wiedwald and converted the resulting penalty. With Bremen struggling to find their rhythm and Darmstadt happy to stay compact, the teams went into the dressing room at one-goal apiece.
The game failed to open up after the break, with half chances at either end for Tobias Kempe and Anthony Ujah the only significant action in the first 15 minutes of the second half. As the hour mark came and went, Viktor Skripnik's side began to push for the victory, forcing Darmstadt further and further into their own half. They came close on 68 minutes, but neither Ujah nor Pizarro could force the ball over the line in a frantic goalmouth scramble. Bremen kept pushing, and Zlatko Junuzovic was denied only by a goal line clearance from Aytac Sulu. The Darmstadt captain proved to be the hero at the other end as he got on the end of a Kempe free-kick to head his team in front with eight minutes to play. A thrilling game had one more surprise in store, as Claudio Pizarro headed in to level it for Bremen on 90 minutes.
Man of the match
Florian Grillitsch put in a fine performance for Bremen in defensive midfield, running hard, playing useful balls forward and frequently breaking down Darmstadt counter-attacks.
Bremen's home form continues to trouble them this season, and the draw means they are in danger of slipping into the automatic relegation places.
- Bremen have won just one of their 11 home games this season.
- Bremen had 16 shots on goal, twice as many as Darmstadt.
- Darmstadt completed less than half of their passes, while Bremen completed 71 per cent of theirs.
Bremen: Wiedwald – Gebre Selassie, Vestergaard, Djilobodji, Garcia – Yatabare (Kleinheisler, 58'), Junuzovic – Bartels, Grillitsch – Pizarro, Ujah
Darmstadt: Mathenia – Jungwirth, Sulu, Rajkovic, Caldirola – Niemeyer, Gondorf – Heller (Platte, 90+4'), Rausch (Kempe, 45') – Rosenthal - Wagner