Werder Bremen striker Max Kruse hit a second-half hat-trick to inspire his side to a thumping 4-0 victory at home to Hannover, giving the Green-Whites their first Bundesliga win this season.
Werder Bremen 4-0 Hannover
Goals: 1-0 Bartels (39'), 2-0 Kruse (55'), 3-0 Kruse (59'), 4-0 Kruse (78')
The opening exchanges were evenly balanced at the Weser Stadium, with both teams committing men to a packed midfield battle. However, the course of the game changed in the 39th minute when Kruse's superb through-ball into the box set up Fin Bartels to score the opener with a delicate chip over goalkeeper Michael Esser.
That allowed the hosts to play with greater freedom after the break and as Hannover tried to come out of their shell, Bremen ruthlessly exploited gaps at the back. Kruse netted twice in quick succession to break the visitors' resolve, before completing his hat-trick late on to secure a much-needed victory that lifts Bremen to 16th.
- Kruse has now scored at least three goals on three occasions in the Bundesliga, previously doing so in April 2017 (against Ingolstadt) and in October 2015 for Wolfsburg against Hoffenheim.Bartels became the first Bremen player to score more than once this season (he was also on target against Wolfsburg).Hannover goalkeeper Michael Esser made his first Bundesliga appearance since 6 May 2017, when he played against Bayern Munich for Darmstadt.Kruse ended a goal drought of 553 Bundesliga minutes when he scored his first goal in this match.Bremen scored more than once in a single game for the first time this season.Werder have now scored five goals in two games under new coach Florian Kohfeldt; they previously only scored three in the first ten league outings this term.
Watch: Kruse reflects on his hat-trick heroics
Bremen: Pavlenka - Gebre Selassie, Veljkovic, Moisander, Augustinsson – Bargfrede (Gondorf 71') - M. Eggestein, Delaney - Junuzovic - Bartels, Kruse (Kainz 88')
Subs: Drobny, Caldirola, Bauer, Kainz, Gondorf, Sane, Belfodil
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt
Hannover: Esser - Sorg, Sane, Hübner, Albornoz - Schwegler, Bakalorz - Klaus, Maier (Bebou 58') – Harnik (Schmiedebach 74'), Jonathas (Füllkrug 74')
Subs: Sahin-Radlinger, Schmiedebach, Bebou, Hübers, Ostrzolek, Füllkrug, Karaman
Absentees: Bech (knee), Felipe (groin), Prib (knee), Anton (knee), Tschauner (back),
Coach: Andre Breitenreiter