USA striker Aron Johannsson came off the bench to force a late winner for Werder Bremen and give them a potentially decisive 1-0 victory over Hamburg in a fiercely contested Nordderby on Saturday evening.
Werder Bremen 1-0 Hamburg
Goals: 1-0 van Drongelen (o.g. 86)
The first half gave little indication of the late drama that was to come, with thundering tackles and misplaced passes dominating proceedings in the first 45 minutes at the Weser Stadium. And while neither side could be faulted for effort going forward, attacks invariably petered out in the final third, with both sides unwilling to commit too many players to attack and leave themselves exposed.
The match followed a similar pattern after the break until Bremen coach Florian Kohfeldt made what turned out to be an inspired substitution in bringing on Johannsson in the 84th minute. With Hamburg struggling to clear their lines in defence, the 27-year-old latched onto a pass just inside the left-hand edge of the penalty and struck a low shot under goalkeeper Christian Mathenia. HSV defender Rick van Drongelen tried to scramble it off the line but ended up flicking it in himself to give Bremen a huge win in their fight against the drop.
- This is the 108th meeting between these teams, a Bundesliga high in terms of match-ups.The victory takes Bremen nine points clear of their Nordderby rivals.These teams have competed in the most Bundesliga games, with Hamburg present in all 55 top-flight seasons to Bremen's 54.Werder's Max Kruse grew up near Hamburg and was a fan of the team as a boy.Aaron Hunt has played in 15 northern derbies, 12 for Bremen and three for HSV.HSV's Jann-Fiete Arp became the first player born in 2000 to play in a Bundesliga match in the corresponding fixture earlier this season.Hamburg's Bakery Jatta made his first appearance since Matchday 6 here.
Bremen: Pavlenka - Gebre Selassie, Veljkovik, Moisander, Augustinsson – Junuzovic (c) (Johannsson 84'), Delaney, Bargfrede (Gondorf 90'), M. Eggestein, Kainz (Belfodil 73') – Kruse
Unused subs: Drobny - Bauer, Rashica, Langkamp
Absentees: Zetterer (hand), Bartels (Achilles), Verlaat (back), Zhang (leg), Eilers (knee)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt
Hamburg: Mathenia – Sakai (c), Papadopoulos, van Drongelen, Douglas – Jatta (Wood 77'), Jung (Arp 90'), Walace, Kostic - Hunt, Hahn
Unused subs: Pollersbeck, Ambrosius, Diekmeier, Mavraj, Salihovic
Absentees: Müller (knee)
Coach: Bernd Hollerbach
Watch: Delaney on Bremen's "amazing" derby victory