Both sides can be happy with a point after an entertaining battle between SV Darmstadt 98 and SV Werder Bremen ended in a 2-2 draw.
Following a combative start from both teams, the home side went closest to opening the scoring when Jerome Gondorf's free-kick from all of 25 yards out crashed against the post. Darmstadt were then presented with the perfect opportunity to break the deadlock a short while later when referee Jochen Drees awarded a penalty after Gondorf went down under an initially innocuous-looking challenge from Theodor Gebre-Selassie. Bremen felt aggrieved and their misery was compounded as Antonio-Mirko Colak made no mistake, sending Jaroslav Drobny the wrong way. Werder dominated possession thereafter, but failed to create any meaningful openings, whereas Darmstadt threatened on the break and from set-pieces and were good value for the lead at half-time.
The second half got off to a flier as the visitors pulled level within minutes of the restart. Bremen played head tennis in the Darmstadt area and after Zlatko Junuzovic's floated free-kick was flicked on first by Gnabry then Gebre-Selassie, Lamine Sane was on hand to head home from close range. Werder looked like a side transformed after the goal and started turning the screw. Darmstadt were dealt a blow when keeper Michael Esser had to be replaced between the posts by Daniel Fernandes after picking up an injury. The next Bremen goal only seemed a matter of time and they showed how clinical you can be with a player like Serge Gnabry in your ranks. A lightning-quick move resulted in Ousman Manneh splitting open the defence with a slide-rule ball and Gnabry showed great composure to round Fernandes and finish with aplomb. The lead didn't last long, however, as the Lilies drew level with a sensational goal reminiscent of Marco van Basten's famous effort in the UEFA EURO 1988 final. Gondorf's raking ball into the area was volleyed first time into the far corner by Colak for his second of the game. The visitors had the better chances to nick a winner, but a draw was a fair reflection of a very watchable contest.
Even if it may be too early to describe this as a relegation six-pointer, one thing was clear at the Jonathan-Heimes-Stadion am Böllenfalltor: both these sides are up for a scrap and will fight for survival to the bitter end.
- Colak scored his first ever Bundesliga goal in his tenth appearance.In seven Bundesliga matches between the two clubs Darmstadt have only lost once and are now unbeaten against Bremen in six.Gnabry becomes the first Bremen player to reach two goals this season.
Darmstadt: Esser (Fernandes 55') - Fedetskyy (Sirigu 31'), Sulu, Milosevic, Holland - Jungwirth, Gondorf - Heller, Kleinheisler (Rosenthal 81'), Bezjak - Colak
Coach: Norbert Meier
Bremen: Drobny - Gebre Selassie, Sane, Moisander, Bauer (Sternberg 46') - Grillitsch, Fritz (Frode 90+3'), Gnabry, Junuzovic, Hajrovic (Bartels 46') - Manneh
Coach: Alexander Nouri