Thanks for joining us for what turned out to be a thoroughly entertaining Matchday 25 opener. Make sure you tune in again tomorrow for all the Saturday afternoon action, including a relegation six-pointer between Hoffenheim and Hertha Berlin and Cologne's trip to Borussia Dortmund. The Bundesliga's two remaining European representatives, Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich, will then face off on Sunday. Plenty to keep you entertained throughout the weekend!
Werder (player) on a Ducksch back
© IMAGO/UWE KRAFT/IMAGO/Uwe Kraft
It's all over at the Borussia-Park. Gladbach had the lion's share of the chances, but two moments of brilliance from Marvin Ducksch were enough for Bremen to claim a point. Werner will surely be the happier of the two coaches tonight!
A chance for the Bremen man to get his hat-trick, but Füllkrug gets the faintest of touches on Weiser's cross from the right and Ducksch, who's just behind him, can't adapt in time. If Füllkrug hadn't just glanced it with his head that might have been 3-2.
Speed check: The fastest player in the game after 90 minutes
Bremen level again!
This is a beautifully worked goal. Weiser plays a long crossfield ball from the right, and Ducksch cushions a header down for Füllkrug. The big striker completes the one-two and Ducksch slides the ball through Scally's legs and beyond the reach of Omlin for 2-2. Bremen love a late goal!
He's only gone and done it again!
© IMAGO/pepphoto / Horst Mauelshagen/IMAGO/pepphoto
The Gladbach man takes the ball round Zetterer but manages to miss the target despite having an open goal. He was probably relieved to see the flag go up for offside.
Plea has just come on for Thuram and almost gets an immediate assist for Hofmann - but Bremen sub Buchanan gets the slightest of touches on the ball and the visitors survive once again.
Neuhaus restores Gladbach's lead!
What a hit! Gladbach sweep forward on the counter with Stindl, who combines with Hofmann before forcing a good save from Zetterer on the half-volley. Stark heads the ball away, but only as far as Neuhaus, who takes a touch before firing into the bottom corner. That's his first Bundesliga goal in over a year.
Two shots, two goals
Ducksch on fire
That's now three goals in four games for the Bremen No.7, who's up to seven for the campaign. He scored with Bremen's first shot of the second half.
And it comes out of nowhere, completely against the run of play. Bremen win the ball back on the halfway line and Schmid threads a superb ball through the middle for Ducksch. He shows remarkable composure to take it around Omlin and Itakura before sweeping into an empty net. Game on!
Yet another chance for Thuram!
After yet another good ball from Hofmann. Those two seem to be everywhere at the moment, but Zetterer makes a save to keep the scoreline at 1-0. It feels like we're much closer to 2-0 than 1-1!
Gladbach on top
© IMAGO/Gabriel Boia/IMAGO/Eibner
Clever from Hofmann!
The Gladbach midfielder stands over a free-kick and feints a cross into the area before going for goal instead. Zetterer just about manages to get down and scramble it out.
Hofmann should make it 2-0!
Another flowing move from the Foals, with Scally playing a perfect pass into Hofmann on the edge of the six-yard box. The Gladbach No.23 completely fluffs his lines, missing the ball altogether, and though he gets a second bite at the cherry his shot is cleared off the line by Weiser.
It was Weiser who inadvertently passed to Hofmann in the build-up to Thuram's goal, but the France striker still had a lot of work to do when he received the ball. That strike puts him joint-second in the Bundesliga scoring chart with 12 goals, alongside Vincenzo Grifo (Freiburg) and Christopher Nkunku (Leipzig).
Thuram gets his goal!
Bremen give the ball away cheaply in midfield and Hofmann releases Thuram with a clever backheel. The Frenchman strides forward, cutting in from the left, and despite being surrounded by black shirts he manages to squeeze a shot under Zetterer for 1-0!
Ducksch tries a lob
A half-chance for the visitors as Ducksch latches onto a fine ball over the top and attempts to loop it over Omlin. It's just off target, but the Gladbach keeper deflects it off Füllkrug and out for a goal kick.
Friday night under the lights
Second half underway
No changes at the break.
Gladbach had more of the ball and more of the chances, but Bremen are very much in this game. Thuram should have opened the scoring on 22 minutes but he was denied by Zetterer, who is making his first start of the season after Jiri Pavlenka was ruled out at the last minute with illness. Phew. Grab a drink everyone and stay with us for the second half!
Itakura over the bar!
The chances are coming so thick and fast that I barely have time to tell you about them! The final opportunity of the half falls to Itakura, who heads over from a corner. There was a breathless end to that first period - it's hard to see this game finishing goalless.
Gruev has a go!
The Bulgarian hits one from range but drags it wide of the mark.
Füllkrug and Thuram trade blows!
It's all happening here! Bremen finally force Omlin into action as Füllkrug unleashes a low drive that the Gladbach keeper has to push behind for a corner. The hosts then hit on the counter, with Thuram getting a fortunate deflection but dinking an attempted lob over Zetterer onto the roof of the net. Surely a goal is coming soon!
Close again for Bremen!
Weiser turns Kramer inside out on the left, but luckily for Gladbach his attempted cross for Stage takes a deflection off Jung and trails away. A cross comes in from the other side but Stage can't get on the end of it.
© Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Still no shots for Bremen
Close for Füllkrug!
Stage dispossesses Kone high up the pitch and slips a ball into the Gladbach area. Ducksch dummies it for Füllkrug but the Bremen striker is tackled by Hofmann before he can get a shot away. The visitors want a penalty but the referee waves away their protests.
Baptism of fire for Chiarodia
The Italian teenager is having a tough time of it - with Hofmann looking particularly sharp down the Gladbach right - but we've seen the 17-year-old getting plenty of encouragement from his teammates, even as he shanks a long crossfield ball out of play.
Speed check: The fastest player in the game after 30 minutes
The xG tells a story, doesn't it?
Better chances for Gladbach
Big missed opportunity for Thuram
Gladbach are the team who have put in the fewest crosses in the Bundesliga this term, but that was a peach from Hofmann, who put it on a plate for Thuram from the right. It should really be 1-0 to the hosts.
WHAT A SAVE!
There's our first real chance, and what a chance it is for Gladbach and Thuram! Zetterer makes a sensational save to deny the Frenchman from point-blank range!
© IMAGO/Gabriel Boia/IMAGO/Eibner
Werner's men applying a bit of pressure
Bremen have weathered the early storm and are finally enjoying a spell in Gladbach territory, with a couple of corners in quick succession. Scally and Itakura are there to intercept two good balls into the area.
First chance for Bremen!
A great run from Weiser down the right, but his ball into the area is cut out by Scally with Stage lurking.
31 points each
Gladbach and Bremen are locked on the same number of points in the table, sitting respectively 10th and 11th.
Stindl over the bar!
Hofmann dispossess Chiarodia in the corner and Thuram pulls back across the area for Stindl, but his shot is miles over. Farke will be encouraged with his side's start.
Hofmann sends a teasing free-kick into the Bremen area and Elvedi gets on the end of it at the back post, but his attempt is over the bar.
Tidy feet from Omlin
Gladbach are almost in trouble after a short backpass, but Omlin shows clever technique to flick it away from Ducksch and clear the danger.
Gladbach on top
The corner in question comes to nothing, but it's been a bright start from the Foals, who are stroking the ball around confidently.
Gladbach out for revenge
The home side were thrashed 5-1 in the reverse fixture, so they will be looking to repay Bremen in kind tonight. So far Gladbach have dominated possession, with Bremen just conceding the game's first corner.
The Foals - in white tonight - kick us off. Visitors Bremen are in black.
Captains Stindl and Füllkrug shake hands in the middle of the pitch as Gladbach and Bremen prepare to get Matchday 25 underway.
Thuram back in the France squad
Like his opposite number Füllkrug, Marcus Thuram got the call from national coach Didier Deschamps this week, and will feature for France in their Euro 2024 qualifiers against the Netherlands and Ireland. The 25-year-old's last international game was the barnstorming World Cup final, in which he set up one of Kylian Mbappe's three goals. Thuram is joined in the squad by his younger brother Khephren, who could make his debut for Les Bleus.
Watch: Heading out for the warm-up
Give youth a chance!
The average age of both starting line-ups tonight is 26 years and seven months old. That's the youngest XI of 2023 for Bremen, and more proof that the Bundesliga is the perfect place for budding talents to shine! As well as Chiarodia, the visitors have another 17-year-old on the bench in Leon Opitz.
Füllkrug takes the armband
Füllkrug will captain Bremen for the first time in the Bundesliga tonight in the absence of Marco Friedl. The Germany international stood in as skipper twice in Bundesliga 2 last season.
Team news: No Pavlenka for Bremen, a historic night for Chiarodia
While Gladbach have recovered their No.1, visitors Bremen will have to do without theirs tonight - Pavlenka is indeed missing with illness. He's replaced by Zetterer, while 17-year-old defender Fabio Chiarodia is set to become the club's youngest-ever Bundesliga player as he comes in for the injured Milos Veljkovic. So that's also two changes for Ole Werner's side after the Leverkusen loss.
Team news: Omlin and Stindl in for Gladbach
Daniel Farke has made two changes from last week's 3-0 defeat in Leipzig, with first-choice keeper Jonas Omlin back after a two-game absence and captain Lars Stindl replacing Alassane Plea, who had a night to forget at the Red Bull Arena.
Dos Santos Haesler, Buchanan, Dietrich, Salifou, Schmid, Opitz, Berger, Philipp, Dinckci
Bremen starting XI
Zetterer - Pieper, Stark, Chiarodia - Weiser, Schmidt, Gruev, Stage, Jung - Füllkrug (c), Ducksch
Sippel, Friedrich, Lainer, Wolf, Ngoumou, Fraulo, Herrmann, Plea, Telalovic
Gladbach starting XI
Omlin - Scally, Itakura, Elvedi, Netz - Kramer, Kone - Hofmann, Neuhaus, Stindl (c) - Thuram
Pavlenka out with illness?
Bremen are set to be without goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka tonight, with the Czech international reportedly coming down with the same illness that has ruled out Leonardo Bittencourt, Marco Friedl and Christian Groß. If his absence is confirmed - we'll have team news for you in the next 20 minutes or so - back-up keeper Michael Zetterer will make his second outing of the campaign.
Füllkrug back in Germany squad
Füllkrug should have that Friday feeling tonight after being called up to Hansi Flick's Germany squad for the upcoming friendlies with Peru (25 March) and Belgium (28 March). The Bremen frontman has already netted three goals in four international appearances, with two of them coming against Spain and Costa Rica at the World Cup.
Last time out
Gladbach suffered a 3-0 defeat at RB Leipzig on Matchday 24, although it could have been a very different story if Alassane Plea hadn't seen his penalty saved by Janis Blaswich early in the second half, with the scoreline still 0-0. Meanwhile Bremen went down 3-2 at home to Bayer Leverkusen, so both teams are looking to bounce back tonight.
Füllkrug: 15 and counting
Niclas Füllkrug scored a quick-fire brace in that reverse fixture on 1 October, and the 30-year-old will be out to add to his division-leading haul of 15 goals tonight. The Bremen striker is currently three clear at the top of the charts (Vincenzo Grifo and Christopher Nkunku are on 12, with Gladbach forward Marcus Thuram one of three players on 11) as he bids to become the first German winner of the Torjägerkanone since Eintracht Frankfurt legend Alex Meier in 2014/15.
Watch: Previous meeting: Bremen 5-1 Gladbach
Lars Stindl has scored more goals against Bremen than he has against any other side during his career, with eight in the Bundesliga and one in the DFB Cup.
Bremen have lost five of their last six away games in the Bundesliga. The only exception was their 2-0 victory at VfB Stuttgart on Matchday 19.
Gladbach's Marcus Thuram (71) and Bremen's Niclas Füllkrug (69) have fired off more shots at goal than anyone else in the Bundesliga this season.