A great fight and three vital points! In front of the home crowd a the Weserstadion, SV Werder overcame VfB Stuttgart 1-0 to celebrate a second consecutive home win. The only goal of the game was netted by Max Kruse on the stroke of half time. After an average first half from both teams, the pace of the game increased after the break and both sides carved out more chances. A Fin Bartels strike was ruled out for offside by the video referee in the second period, but in the end his strike partner’s goal was enough for the Green-Whites to keep the three points in Bremen. SVW now have eleven points on the board and remain in 17th place, a single point behind Freiburg.
Line-up: Head coach Florian Kohfeldt stuck to the same starting XI that claimed a 4-0 win over Hannover 96 two weeks ago. Ahead of the back-four of Gebre Selassie, Veljkovic, Moisander and Augustinsson lined up the midfield trio of Delaney, Bargfrede and Maxi Eggestein. Captain Zlatko Junuzovic supported the trusty attacking duo Fin Bartels and Max Kruse.
8th minute: Both teams seem to have the similar game plans. Defensively, SVW and VfB are both pushing quite high and not letting each other have time on the ball or build up their play. Junuzovic puts in a cross to Fin Bartels, but he is just too small to direct his effort on target. Werder have started positively.
21st minute: Stuttgart have retreated after being under pressure and are letting the Green-Whites play. Werder, however, are remaining patient and circulating the ball until they see an opening. Kruse finds Bartels at the far post with a lovely diagonal pass from the left side of the pitch. The 30 year old wants to take the ball more centrally but a Stuttgart defender stops him. He wins a corner.
23rd minute: After the corner, the guests counter quickly. Brekalo makes his way past three Bremen defenders but Pavlenka is there to take the ball off the striker’s foot.
29th minute: Now the Green-White keepers needs a bit of luck. His pass out from the back goes straight to VfB striker Asano, who suddenly sees he has a clear path to goal. However, Max Eggestein reacts brilliantly to stop the Japanese from getting his shot away at the last minute.
35th minute: Ascacibar is deservedly cautioned for a foul on Bartels. In a decent position, Junuzovic positions the ball but only finds the wall with his effort. Since Bartels’ chance in the opening stages, Werder have failed to create a dangerous opportunity, despite Kohfeldt’s team moving the ball well outside the box.
40th minute: Özcan fires a corner into the centre, where Benjamin Pavard outjumps Eggestein. Luckily for Werder, the Stuttgart man cannot get enough power on his header. The guests get another corner but this time the referee sees an infringement and blows his whistle in favour of the hosts.
45th minute: GOOAAL! Max Kruse put Werder ahead! SVW get the opener on the stroke of half time! Bartels’ slaloms his way through midfield and is fouled. The Stuttgart defence switch off as Bartels grabs the ball and plays the resulting free kick quickly to Max Kruse, who finishes low into the far-right corner of the net. So simple, and yet so important!
45th minute: The fans were expecting the teams to go into the break goalless, but Werder’s quick-thinking strike partnership took advantage of a lapse of concentration in the guests’ defence. Long parts of this tactical first half were very balanced, which makes Kruse’s ice-cold finish just before the switch of sides even more important.
50th minute: Delaney plays an excellent cross to Bartels. The German gets his head up to pull the ball back for the on-rushing Eggestein. Instead of hitting it first time, the midfielder switches it to his left and has a go. Gentner gets his foot in the way and Zieler is not troubled.
52nd minute: Werder are celebrating. Kruse shoots from inside the box, his shot is blocked but it falls to Bartels, who finishes into the open goal from short range. The goal music rings around the Weserstadion, but referee Bastian Dankert rules it out for offside after a review from the video assistant referee. It was a close decision, but the right one.
62nd minute: The fresh Anastasios Donis gets around Milos Velkovic and tries to find fellow substitute Simon Terodde in the six-yard box. Thankfully for SVW, Moisander is alive to the danger and gets in the way of the pull-back. With half an hour to play, Stuttgart coach Hannes Wolf has thrown caution to the wind with his two attacking substitutes.
64th minute: A huge chance for the guests! Bartels loses the ball around 20 yards from goal to Özcan, who finds Josip Brekalo with just Pavlenka to beat. He finishes past Pavlenka and thinks he has scored, but Bargfrede clears the ball just before the line with his upper body.
67th minute: On the other side of the pitch, Bartels is brilliantly denied by Zieler and the former Germany international sets his team on the counter. Gentner tries his luck from distance and barely misses the target. The pace of the game has suddenly increased!
70th minute: Close again! Delaney fires a free kick from a good 22 yards out over the wall and just centimetres over the bar.
82nd minute: Delaney is through on goal after getting round Pavard and Badstuber, but he is denied in the one-on-one with Ron-Robert Zieler. Two minutes later, Augustinsson has the next chance, but the Swede only finds Zieler’s fists with a long-range effort.
84th minute: A free ball comes to Badstuber on the edge of the box, he takes the ball out of the air and fires it low to Pavlenka’s right from a central position. The Werder ‘keeper gets down well and pushes the ball wide.
88th minute: Things are getting nervy for the Green-Whites now. First, Akolo’s shots are blocked and after, Holger Badstuber gets on the end of a cross.
90th minute: It’s all over at the Weserstadion! Werder win 1-0 against VfB Stuttgart!
Summary: In a hard-fought game, SV Werder get the upper hand over VfB to claim their second home win in a row. The first half did not see many chances come the way of either side, but Fin Bartels and Max Kruse took full advantage of a sleeping Stuttgart defence just before half time. Bartels’ disallowed goal would have made the Green-Whites more comfortable, but as it was, the game remained open until the final whistle. The guests particularly pushed in the last ten minutes, but left Bremen empty handed. With three points in the bag and more confidence - the Green-Whites could not have wished for a better start to their busy December schedule!