Robin Dutt’s Werder Bremen suffered a further setback in the Bundesliga’s Friday night game due to a lacklustre loss at home to 1.FC Köln. Die Werderaner remain winless this season, largely due to defensive issues which has seen them concede 23 goals in nine games; however this recent record was largely unrepresentative of the Bremen side we saw against Köln; impotent in attack but rarely challenged at the back, Bremen were eventually unlocked with an excellent joker goal by Anthony Ujah, whose cameo appearance added bite to Peter Stöger’s side’s functional performance, ultimately taking the spoils back to the cathedral city.
It didn’t take long for the game to get going at a relentless pace; Werder earning a corner before Simon Zoller, the game-winner last week against Borussia Dortmund, fired tamely into Raphael Wolf’s paws. Bremen, though, continued to push early doors, with a good zip to their play moving forwards; following their dreadful showing against Bayern last week, an early goal was clearly an antidote needed to treat Bremen’s lack of shot confidence. Their first great chance of the game, though, didn’t arrive until midway through the half. Makiadi, playing in a wide berth this week, raced down the left flank but delivered a poor ball. Horn misjudged the flight of the cross, however, and missed the ball completely, but Fin Bartels couldn’t control his volley and skewed his drive way over.
Minutes later, Wolf was called into action after a quiet period; Daniel Halfar tried a powerful drive which was met equally well by the Bremen goalkeeper. Köln, though, were more than content to sit back and allow Bremen to have the ball in their half without really creating anything. They nearly paid a dear price for this; Zlatko Junuzovic raced through die Geißböcke’s rearguard late in the half, but rather than take an effort, the Austrian threw himself to ground, gaining a booking for his unconvincing attempt to draw a foul.
Really, though, Bremen hadn’t played nearly well enough to take the lead into half time; an exciting opening few minutes had turned into a rather tepid affair in which neither side wanted to commit too much forward.
Both teams came out firing after the break; lanky Argentine striker Franco di Santo had a tame shot saved by Horn almost immediately from the restart before Kevin Hector smashed a drive way over minutes later. Before long, Bremen, through Junuzovic, produced one of the most exhilarating moments of the game until that point, the former Austria Wien midfielder swivelling inside and volleying powerfully towards the far corner of Timo Horn’s goal. The young Köln custodian met Junuzovic’s effort with a spectacular parrying save, pushing the ball over for a corner.
Moments later, it was Anthony Ujah’s time to shine; on as a substitute, Ujah had a shot well saved by Wolf with his first involvement, but a near carbon copy move by Köln a minute later was met by a fine finish, to lift the Billy Goats to a 1-0 lead which they wouldn’t relinquish.
Bremen hit the post moments later as Izet Hajrovic became visible for the first time in the game, hitting the post from distance. It was perhaps unfortunate, in that the Bosnian midfielder struck the ball well, and was another close shave for the Köln defence – that said, it clearly wasn’t enough for Robin Dutt as Hajrovic left the field moments later, in favour of Nils Petersen.
By and large, though, the game ebbed away after the hour mark; both sides created very few chances as the game pressed onwards. It must be said that Bartels had a chance late on which was well saved by Horn, but otherwise, nothing much happened towards the end, as Bremen slumped to another defeat and Köln moved three points closer to a handsome finish in their first year back in the Bundesliga.
Considering his side’s poor start to the season, Robin Dutt’s future continues to hang in the balance – whether he’ll even return to the Weserstadion dugout as home manager is unclear. The match with Köln was dubbed Dutt’s “Schicksalsspiel” by many publications in the run-up; if accurate, he’s not shown anything to prove he’s the right man – at the very best, he’s still treading on thin ice. What is abundantly clear, however, is that Bremen are currently ill-equipped at Bundesliga level and need to make a number of changes in January – not just limited to managerial personnel. Köln, on the other hand, march on after a fine season thus far, with Stöger’s men sitting pretty – even prettier than before – in mid-table.
SV Werder Bremen 0:1 (0:0) 1.FC Köln:
Bremen: Wolf – Fritz, Prödl, Caldirola (62. Selassie), Garcia – Galvez, Makiadi (74. Selke), Junuzovic – Bartels, Di Santo, Hajrovic (62. Petersen)
Köln: Horn – Olkowski, Mavraj, Wimmer, Hector – Vogt, Lehmann – Risse, Halfar (58. Ujah), Svento (69. Peszko) – Zoller (78. Maroh)
Caldirola 21., Junuzovic 36., Garcia 86.
Header photo courtesy of kreiszeitung.de