Just 30 seconds were on the clock when the in-form Max Kruse was denied from point-blank range by Christian Mathenia's rapid reflexes, but Gregoritsch showed he too can be quick on the draw, heading in Aaron Hunt's cross to give the guests an early lead. Kruse and Florian Grillitsch combined for a good opportunity for Bremen before Zlatko Junuzovic struck the post with a direct free-kick. The long overdue equaliser eventually arrived five minutes before half-time with Kruse nodding in from close range.
Kruse returned the favour to Fin Bartels early in the second half as Bremen continued to set the tone at the Weser Stadium. Mathenia was called into action again by Grillitsch. Hamburg then enjoyed a good 20 minutes before Kruse sent a warning into the side-netting. He then teed up Florian Kainz to give Bremen the points and extend their unbeaten streak to nine games.
Man of the Match
Kruse may have been denied an early goal, but he did not let his head drop – instead using it to great effect to bring Bremen level with his ninth goal of the season before setting up Kainz for Bremen's winner.
Bremen's win saw them climb from within four points of the bottom three to within four points of sixth-placed Freiburg, emphasising how tight things remain between European qualification and relegation.
- Hamburg were without Kyriakos Papadopoulos for only the third time this year, having lost the previous two games without the Greek 8-0 and 3-0.
- Gregoritsch has a habit of scoring early goals against Bremen: he struck after three minutes in the reverse fixture – also with a header.
- Kruse scored his first headed goal since November 2015, when Hamburg were also on the receiving end while he was wearing a Wolfsburg shirt.
Bremen: Wiedwald - Veljkovic, Sane, Moisander - Eggestein - Gebre Selassie, Grillitsch (63' Kainz), Junuzovic (c), Garcia (73' Bauer) - Bartels, Kruse (90' Bargfrede)
Coach: Alexander Nouri
Hamburg: Mathenia - Diekmeier, Jung, Mavraj, Ostrzolek - Sakai (c), Walace - Hunt, Holtby (83' Waldschmidt), Kostic (83' Jatta) – Gregoritsch (63' Lasogga)
Coach: Markus Gisdol
Watch: Kruse discusses his unbeaten record against Hamburg