Hannover 96 and Werder Bremen enjoyed share of the spoils in an entertaining 1-1 draw on Matchday 1 at the Weser Stadium on Saturday.
Werder Bremen 1-1 Hannover 96
Goals: 0-1 Weydandt (76'), 1-1 Gebre Selassie (85')
Bremen were 4-0 winners in this fixture last season, a match in which Max Kruse helped himself to a hat-trick, but proceedings were altogether more cagey this time around. Davy Klaassen’s runs from deep were a feature of the home side’s play early on, but Kruse was quiet in the first half and only Florian Kainz tested Michael Esser in the Hannover goal. The away side, perhaps mindful of the drubbing they received here last term, were cautious in their approach, though Ihlas Bebou did force a decent stop from Jiri Pavlenka.
Bremen had not scored on the season’s opening day since 2014, and they began the second half looking to arrest that statistic, with Ludwig Augustinsson volleying narrowly wide. Kruse was withdrawn with what looked like an injury, but the home support was reinvigorated when veteran striker Claudio Pizarro came off the bench, and the Peruvian twice went close to an opener. Those misses looked to be costly when Hannover substitute Hendrik Weydandt collected Bebou’s lofted pass and slotted under the goalkeeper barely a minute after coming on, but Theodor Gebre Selassie headed in a deserved leveller five minutes from time.
- Hannover have not lost their opening match of a Bundesliga season since 2009.The visitors have not kept a clean sheet in the league in 2018.Bremen have drawn their last four home league games, but remain unbeaten on their own patch since October 2017.Weydandt's goal was his first ever in the Bundesliga.Gebre Selassie scored in the Bundesliga for the seventh season running.Pizarro came off the bench to make his 447th Bundesliga appearance.Bremen are undefeated in 15 home games against Hannover (10 wins, 5 draws), their longest run against any Bundesliga side. They have also scored 42 goals in their last 14 home outings against the Reds, an average of over three per game. Niclas Füllkrug finished joint-third in the Bundesliga scoring charts last season with 14 goals, level with Hoffenheim's Mark Uth and Bayer Leverkusen's Kevin Volland. No Bremen player managed to hit double figures in 2017/18, with top scorer Kruse netting only six times in the league.
Bremen: Pavlenka – Gebre Selassie, Veljkovic, Moisander, Augustinsson – M. Eggestein, Bargfrede (J. Eggestein 82'), Klaassen – Osako, Kruse (c) (Rashica 52'), Kainz (Pizarro 67')
Unused subs: Plogmann, Friedl, Langkamp, Möhwald
Absentees: Harnik (hamstring), Johannsson (ankle), Kapino (thigh), Bartels (Achilles), Zetterer (wrist), Käuper (foot)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt
Hannover: Esser – Sorg, Anton (c), Wimmer, Ostrzolek – Bebou, Schwegler (Bakalorz 57'), Walace, Maina (Haraguchi 61') – Asano (Weydandt 75'), Füllkrug
Unused subs: Tschauner, Elez, Korb, Fossum
Absentees: Wood (suspended), Hübers (cruciate ligament), Prib (cruciate ligament)
Coach: Andre Breitenreiter
Watch: Bundesliga debutant Davy Klaassen reflects on Bremen's derby draw