Werder won their second to last home game of the season to stretch their unbeaten run to eleven matches. The Green-Whites eased to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Hertha Berlin in front of 42,100 spectators in the Weser-Stadion and moved to within one place of Hertha in the table. Max Kruse and Fin Bartels remained calm to set each other up to give Bremen an early 2-0 lead. A sweeping Werder counter-attack was superbly finished off by Bartels in the ninth minute as he latched on to a pinpoint pass from Kruse and nutmegged the keeper. Bartels then turned provider as his square ball left Kruse with the simple task of slotting into an empty net for his 14th goal of the season in the 15th minute. The score remained 2-0 until the end and Werder leapfrog Freiburg into sixth in the Bundesliga table.
Line-up and formation: Head coach Alexander Nouri went with a 3-1-4-2-formation and made one change to his starting XI from last week’s win at Ingolstadt, with captain Zlatko Junuzovic coming into the midfield in place of fellow Austrian Florin Kainz. Kainz took a place on the bench. Another Austrian, Florian Grillitsch, kept his place despite Thomas Delaney being fit again. The Dane joined Kainz on the bench having recovered from a thigh injury.
9’ min.: GOOOAAALLL, 1-0 to Werder, Fin Bartels. The first real attack leads to the opener. Junuzovic clears a Darida free-kick to Bartels who finds strike partner Kruse. Werder’s top scorer seemingly has nothing on, but he finds Bartels with a superb through ball. Suddenly Bartels is clean through one-on-one with the keeper. The attacker coolly slots it through Jarstein’s legs to give the home side an early lead.
15’ min.: GOOOAAALLL, 2-0 to Werder, Max Kruse. What’s going on? Jarstein’s miscue goes straight to Bartels. The Werder attacker drifts quickly and directly into the Hertha box and sets up Kruse for a tap-in.
20’ min.: Robert Bauer wins possession in midfield. The Werder wing-back tries his luck with a shot which looks to be headed for the corner of Jarstein’s net, but the Hertha keeper parries.
24’ min.: Free-kick for Hertha in a central position, but Darida’s effort sails harmlessly over the bar.
37’ min.: Darida gets closer. After Pekarik’s good cross from the right side, Hertha’s midfield general gets in front of Sane and heads over the bar at the near post.
45 + 1’ min.: Referee Patrick Ittrich blows for half-time. A good first-half for the home side comes to an end.
46’ min.: Werder make one change at half-time. Thomas Delaney replaces Florian Grillitsch, who injured his back in a challenge with Salomon Kalou in the first-half.
52’ min.: Hertha expose empty space in behind Werder’s defence for the first time. Allan plays in Kalou in the Werder penalty area, but the Green-Whites recover to put the Ivorian under enough pressure that his shot goes wide.
64’ min.: Hertha are posing more of an attacking threat than in the first-half. However, the side from the capital are not creating any real chances, despite enjoying more possession than Werder.
71’ min.: Delaney finds himself in lots of space in behind the Hertha back-line. He takes his time before picking out Gebre Selassie in the middle, but the wing-back’s shot from eight yards flies harmlessly over the bar.
81’ min.: Hertha are giving everything to try and set up a nervy finish at the Weser-Stadion. The home side are a little fortunate not to concede a penalty after Sané takes out Ibisevic whilst trying to clear the ball on the goal line. No penalty given.
83’ min.: A couple of lapses in concentration from Werder are leading to chances for the away side. Haraguchi’s cross is met by Ibisevic whose header from seven yards is saved by Wiedwald.
89‘ min.: Werder almost put the game to bed as a cross from Kruse finds substitute Serge Gnabry at the back post, but his volley on the stretch just creeps over the bar.
90 + 3’ min.: Full-time at the Weser-Stadion. Werder beat Hertha BSC!
Conclusion: Hertha were unrelenting in their attempt to get something from the game – a trait that Werder have shown on numerous occasions in the second half of the season. But early goals from Fins Bartels and Max Kruse put Werder in control and the result never really looked in any doubt. Werder capitalised on any loss of ball possession by Hertha early on and looked very dangerous on the counter-attack. Once they had the lead, Werder controlled the game by keeping men behind the ball and defending solidly. Even when Hertha were enjoying a lot of possession in the second period, Werder limited the visitors to very few obvious goalscoring opportunities. All in all, Werder deserved their victory.