Vincenzo Grifo’s slick free-kick aside, Freiburg were largely kept at bay during a first-half in which a well-drilled Bremen side demonstrated a determination to maintain their fine form of late. Having comfortably dealt with the hosts early advances, the River Islanders struck the front with their first effort on goal. Max Kruse made 34 Bundesliga appearances for Freiburg in 2012/13, and he returned to haunt the hosts with a left-footed wonder-strike on 21 minutes. Bremen then lost Robert Bauer to injury, but his replacement, Santiago Garcia, delivered a fine cross for Delaney to stroke home from close-range for 2-0.
Aiming for a fourth consecutive game without loss prior to this encounter, Freiburg’s dreams of achieving such a feat were all but dashed immediately after the restart when Delaney headed in his second of the afternoon from Kruse’s centre. Nils Petersen subsequently reduced the arrears, poking home the rebound after seeing his penalty initially saved by Felix Wiedwald. With the game continuing to open up, both teams then exchanged sumptuous goals, Fin Bartels expertly flicking home at the near post for Bremen before Grifo sent one flying in at the other end. It was left to Delaney to complete the scoring, and his hat-trick, on a dramatic afternoon at the Schwarzwald-Stadion, the Dane heading in a Florian Kainz free kick.
Man of the match
Signed from FC København during the January transfer window, Delaney had a spectacular afternoon for the visitors, registering a first career hat-trick and becoming the first player to hit three for Werder this season.
⚽️⚽️⚽️ no April fools - I swear.— Thomas Delaney (@delaneydk) April 1, 2017
Hovering around the relegation zone for large parts of what has - up until now - proved a trying season, Werder have dramatically changed course in recent months and now have their sights firmly set on maintaining their Bundesliga status.
- Bremen have gone six games without defeat for the first time under couch Nouri.
- Kruse's opener was his first long-range goal for almost three years.
- Both Kruse and Nils Petersen scored against their former sides.
- Prior to Freiburg, Delaney had never before scored two in a game, let alone three.
Freiburg: Schwolow - Ignjovski (Kübler 46'), Gulde, Kempf, Günter - Philipp, Abrashi (Schuster 46'), Frantz, Grifo, Haberer - Niederlechner (Petersen 46')
Werder Bremen: Wiedwald - Veljkovic, Caldirola, Moisander, Gebre Selassie - Bauer (Garcia 40'), Delaney - Eggestein, Grillitsch (Pizarro 89'), Bartels (Kainz 76') - Kruse
Coach: Alexander Nouri
Watch: Delaney - "I've never (even) scored twice!"