Head coach Hannes Wolf fielded the same starting eleven in Bremen that played in the 3-1 home win against Eintracht Frankfurt two weeks ago. The only changes to the Black and Reds were on the subs bench. Lucas Alario, who scored against Eintracht Frankfurt, suffered a thigh injury this week and is now ruled out for the rest of the season. Tin Jedvaj was not in the squad this time. But there were new options on board: the recovered Sven Bender and Jeremie Frimpong.
The record before the game was clearly in favour of the visitors from Leverkusen: The Werkself had only dropped one point in the past nine games against Werder Bremen. The first decent chance for the Wolf team came on nine minutes when Patrik Schick got on to the end of a cross from the left. However, the Czech headed well wide.
The hosts were primarily involved in one-on-one duels: The relegation-threatened club from the North were mainly tough but fair in their challenges on the day. But the team under coach Florian Kohfeldt again and again broke up Werkself moves with minor fouls. In the middle of the first half, the Wolf team were down to nine men at one point as both Aleksandar Dragovic and Leon Bailey were being treated on the touchline. Both quickly returned to the action.
The first shot on goal in the game came just after the half-hour mark. Kerem Demirbay put Bailey through down the left. The Jamaican cut into the penalty area and unleashed a shot. But the Werder keeper Jiri Pavlenka was able to parry the effort (32').
Shortly after that, Florian Wirtz succeeded in beating the Bremen keeper – however the youngster’s goal was ruled out as he was narrowly offside as the ball was played to him by Karim Bellarabi (35'). Referee Markus Schmidt revised his decision and the score remained at 0-0. Schick had another shot before half-time. Again he missed the target by a good distance. The two teams then returned to the dressing rooms for the half-time break with the scoreline reading 0-0.
Head coach Wolf made two changes for the second half – both on the left flank. Wendell replaced Daley Sinkgraven and Demarai Gray played up front in place of Bailey. After a rather quiet 15 minutes, Moussa Diaby came on for Bellarabi. But the problem of the first half remained: The Werkself were not able to convert their dominance on the pitch into clear-cut chances – until the 81st minute.
At the start of an intense closing stage, central defender Dragovic dribbled through the midfield and he saw Wendell rushing into the box. The Austrian put the ball through to his Brazilian teammate who was completely unmarked in a one-on-one with the Werder keeper Pavlenka. Wendell managed to get in a shot but it went straight into the arms of Pavlenka (81'). The only other incident in the game was a red card for serious foul play by the Werder Bremen substitute Eren Dinkci (90+4') and the match ended in a goalless draw.
The Werkself still have two games to play this season. The opponents at the same time next week are Union Berlin and the Black and Reds end the campaign away to Borussia Dortmund on 22 May.
Werder Bremen: Pavlenka – Gebre Selassie, Veljkovic, Moisander, Augustinsson – Groß (Möhwald 83'), Bittencourt (Osako 57'), Eggestein – Füllkrug (Rashica 57'), Selke, Sargent (Dinkci 83’)
Bayer 04: Hradecky – Tah, Dragovic, Tapsoba, Sinkgraven (Wendell 46’) – Palacios (Amiri 81’), Demirbay (S. Bender 74’) – Bellarabi, Wirtz, Bailey (Gray 46’) – Schick
Booked: Sargent, Groß, Gebre Selassie – Sinkgraven, Schick
Sent off: Dinkci (serious foul play)
Referee: Markus Schmidt (Stuttgart)
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