Werder Bremen put some daylight between themselves and the bottom three while reining Wolfsburg into a relegation battle with a 3-1 win over their northern Germany rivals.
Bremen 3-1 Wolfsburg
Goals: 1-0 Augustinsson (4'), 2-0 Kainz (40'), 2-1 Verhaegh (49'), 3-1 Kainz (72')
Ludwig Augustinsson's determination helped him to meet Zlatko Junuzovic's early corner and power a header in for his first Bundesliga goal. It was almost two 15 minutes in when Max Eggestein got within a toe's length of diverting a Max Kruse cross past Koen Casteels, who was grateful to see a defender sweeping up behind him as both missed the ball. Wolfsburg were grateful to Casteels when he made a reflex save to deny Eggestein, before Niklas Moisander rattled the crossbar with a textbook volley. Florian Kainz then took an even better aim from 20 yards out, curling his effort into the top right-hand corner of Casteels' goal to double Bremen's advantage five minutes before half-time.
Jiri Pavlenka was given his first task of the evening early in the second half, turning Victor Osimhen's effort behind. From the resultant corner, a foul in the penalty area was spotted and Paul Verhaegh had the chance to slice Bremen's lead in two. Pavlenka was equal to his spot-kick, but the Dutch defender followed through to give the Wolves hope. Having come back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Bayern Munich this season, Wolfsburg clearly had the belief they could do it again, but Kainz dashed those hopes, concluding a perfectly worked counterattack with an emphatic finish through Casteels' legs from Kruse's pass. Bremen looked closer to a fourth than Wolfsburg did to a second as Florian Kohlfedt's team picked up three crucial points in their battle for survival.
- Kohfeldt has more victories in 12 games with Werder (five) than Schmidt has in 18 with Wolfsburg (three). Bremen are also unbeaten at home under Kohfeldt (W3, D3).The Wolves’ 1-0 victory at Hannover on Matchday 20 was their first on the road under Schmidt.Wolfsburg concededed away from home in the Bundesliga for the first time in 2018.Aron Johannsson made his first Bundesliga start since September 2016, when he scored a penalty in a 2-1 defeat to Augsburg.Admir Mehmedi made his first Bundesliga start for Wolfsburg, having started his first DFB Cup game for the Wolves in midweek.Augustinsson's first Bundesliga goal came with his 14th shot in Germany's top flight.Kainz's first goal of the season came with his 25th shot; it was his third Bundesliga goal – all coming at home, and goal number four at the Weser Stadium followed.
Bremen: Pavlenka - Gebre Selassie, Veljkovic, Moisander, Augustinsson – Bargfrede (56' Delaney), M. Eggestein – Johannsson (65' Gondorf), Kainz, Junuzovic (c) (89' Bauer) – Kruse
Unused subs: Drobny, Rashica, Langkamp, J. Eggestein
Absentees: Zetterer (hand), Bartels (Achilles)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt
Wolfsburg: Casteels - Verhaegh (c), Bruma, Knoche, William – Guilavogui (69' Origi), Arnold – Malli, Mehmedi (78' Dimata), Brekalo (69' Steffen) – Osimhen
Unused subs: Grün, Jung, Itter, Rexhbecaj
Absentees: Brooks (knee), Blaszczykowski (back), Camacho (ankle), Didavi (unknown)
Coach: Martin Schmidt
Watch: Bremen goalscorer Augustinsson gives his thoughts on the win