von Maximilian Hendel
Thanks to some convincing attacking play and the outstanding energy levels of the players in particular, Werder Bremen were able to claim a 2-1 win over Hamburger SV in the 106th edition of the Nordderby on Matchday 29. The Green-Whites suffered a set-back in front of a sold-out Weser-Stadion and its 42,100 fans, as Michael Gregoritsch headed the guests into the lead (6’). Max Kruse managed to grab the equaliser four minutes before the half with a header of his own, before Florian Kainz came off the bench and scored the winning goal 15 minutes before the end of the game, thanks to an assist from Kruse. Having gone nine games undefeated now, and accumulating 39 points, Bremen are riding the momentum they have created for themselves, as they enjoy a healthy gap between themselves and the relegation-zone they were stuck in last time these two teams played.
Line-up and formation: Manager Alexander Nouri made just one change to his starting line-up from last week’s draw in Frankfurt, with Lamine Sané having recovered from injury to re-assume his role as the central defender of the three centre-backs. Luca Caldirola suffered a foot injury in the match against Frankfurt. Aside from that, Maximilian Eggestein started as the lone central defensive midfielder in front of the back line, with Zlatko Junuzovic and Florian Grillitsch in front of him. In addition, Philipp Bargfrede, Robert Bauer, and Serge Gnabry were all on the bench after recovering from injuries which have kept them out for considerable periods of time.
1st minute: WHAT A CHANCE! Less than a minute into the game, SVW have their first chance! Junuzovic puts Gebre Selassie through with a perfect ball, who finds the onrushing Max Kruse, but his shot is parried by HSV’s keeper Mathenia for a corner. Great play, but an even bigger save.
6th minute: GOAL. 0-1, Michael Gregoritsch. HSV take advantage of their first chance. Hunt crosses it into and the ball finds the head of Gregoritsch, who scored twice in the reverse fixture, and does so again with a header that beats Wiedwald.
16th minute: Kostic beats Veljkovic to a Sakai through-ball, but Wiedwald is quick off of his line and snuffs out the danger by closing Kostic down.
18th minute: Kruse and Grillitsch combine well to create a chance, but the latter’s shot on the turn goes inches wide of the left post.
22nd minute: OFF THE WOODWORK! Unlucky for Zlatko Junuzovic, whose free-kick from 20 metres out crashes off the left post and stays out.
41st minute: GOOOOOOAL! 1-1, Max Kruse. Werder are back in the game! A beautiful goal, which starts from Garcia’s wide cross to the far post, where Fin Bartels is waiting. He lobs the ball delicately across the face of goal on the volley, and Kruse is on hand to nod it in from close range.
45th minute +1: Half-time in the Weser-Stadion, and what an action-packed half it was.
48th minute: Both managers opt to make no changes to their sides. Bartels has the first chance of the half as he dribbles into the box, but his shot is blocked.
53rd minute: Junuzovic again puts Gebre Selassie through, and his cross reaches Grillitsch, but the chance comes to nothing as Mathenia parries his shot.
56th minute: It’s been a while, but HSV create another chance. Credit to Wiedwald, who deals with the one-on-one against Ostrzolek well by parrying his chip.
73rd minute: left-back Santiago Garcia is stretchered off the field, and replaced by Robert Bauer.
75th minute: GOOOOOOOAL! 2-1 to SVW, Florian Kainz. The Green-Whites have turned the game around! Kruse plays a wonderfully weighted through pass to Kainz, who takes the shot first time on his left, and beats the keeper at the near-post before he can even attempt to make a save.
90th minute: Bargfrede comes on with five minutes of stoppage time to play, and should help secure the three points.
90th minute +5: There’s the whistle! The Green-Whites have done it!
Conclusion: Despite a great chance a piece for both sides in the opening stages of the game, it was HSV who made theirs count. Werder’s perseverance and willpower propelled them, as they managed to level the score minutes before going to the locker-room for the half off the back of a wonderfully crafted counter-attack goal. The second-half played out to be considerably calmer than the first, but Florian Kainz made the breakthrough shortly after coming on, to give the Green-Whites a deserved lead for the first time in the game, which they saw through to claim all three points, as they emerged victorious in the Nordderby.