There was drama even before the game between the Bundesliga’s bottom two sides when Bremen legend Claudio Pizarro pulled up in the warm-up ahead of his first start for new club Cologne and had to be replaced by Sehrou Guirassy for his first Bundesliga start with the Billy Goats. The last-minute replacement was heavily involved in the opening stages, putting a header just wide and also testing goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka with a long-range effort, which the Czech international only parried but Yuya Osako headed the rebound over. The first real chance for the visitors came just before the half-hour mark when Thomas Delaney chipped a ball into the Cologne box with both Florian Kainz and Zlatko Junuzovic lining up the header unmarked, but the latter in reality should have left it to Kainz. Instead Junuzovic ended up flicking a header beyond his better placed teammate. Ishak Belfodil followed up with another header but failed to test Timo Horn in goal, and Guirassy again tested Pavlenka, who was far the busier of the goalkeepers despite chances for both sides.
Werder flew out of the blocks in the second half and really should have taken the lead – or at least tested Horn – when Maximilian Eggestein took down a cross inside the box but scuffed his half-volley across goal instead of putting it on target. The Billy Goats went on their own offensive though and started to pen the visitors in with a continued string of attacks, but still lacked that final product. The hosts knew a draw was of little use to them so kept pushing for that winner to keep them in touch with the rest of the pack. Nineteen-year-old substitute Tim Handwerker was involved in much of that with chances created for Osako and Guirassy. The latter had a chance to win it in the final ten minutes when he found space inside the box, but he dawdled on the ball and allowed Werder to recover and crowd the youngster out. The chance of the game, however, fell to the 21-year-old when Handwerker crossed to the far post. He simply had to turn the ball towards an empty goal and win the game, but fluffed his lines at the crucial moment. Bremen thought they had the winner in the 90th minute from Delaney’s header at a corner, but Konstantin Rausch came to the rescue to hook the ball off the line.
Man of the Match
Bremen goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka was a busy man at the RheinEnergieSTADION, making eight saves to deny the hosts and secure a valuable point for his side at the bottom.
Cologne: Horn – Olkowski, Maroh, Heintz (c), Rausch – Zoller (Handwerker 65'), Jojic (Sörensen 85'), Özcan, Bittencourt – Osako (Klünter 79'), Guirassy
Subs: Kessler, Clemens, J. Horn
Coach: Peter Stöger
Bremen: Pavlenka – Gebre Selassie, Sane, Moisander, Augustinsson – M. Eggestein, Delaney – Bartels (Hajrovic 46'), Junuzovic (c), Kainz (Kruse 82') – Belfodil (J. Eggestein 60')
Subs: Zetterer, Bauer, Veljkovic, Bargfrede
Coach: Alexander Nouri
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- With one point, three goals scored and seven conceded, Cologne have the worst return after eight matches in Bundesliga history, overtaking Saarbrucken (1963/64).
- Pizarro scored a club-record 104 Bundesliga goals during three spells at Bremen.
- The Billy Goats won their last home meeting against Bremen 4-3 in May 2017 - Pizarro’s final outing for the Green-Whites.
- Werder’s four-point haul was their worst-ever return after eight matches.
- Bremen have gone eight matches without a win to start a season once before - in 2014/15. Back then, a 1-0 defeat to Cologne on Matchday 9 cost Robin Dutt his job.
- For the first time in Bundesliga history at this stage in a season, 18th hosts 17th in the table.