Against all the odds, Werder Bremen were able to qualify for the relegation playoff, and will live to fight another day.
They did what they needed to, blowing out FC Koln 6-1 at the Wohninvest Weserstadion courtesy of goals from Milot Rashica, Niclas Fullkrug, Davy Klaassen, Josh Sargent, and a brace from Yuya Osako.
They also got the help they needed, as Union Berlin beat Fortuna Dusseldorf 3-0.
Those scores meant the Green-Whites jumped up to 16th place at the last possible opportunity, qualifying for the relegation playoff as a result.
Story of the match
Bremen controlled the game early on, winning the ball high up the pitch and keeping plenty of possession. They were able to carve out some shooting opportunities from distance, but none of those efforts really challenged the goalkeeper.
They would make the most of their advantage in the 22nd minute, as the Green-Whites finally opened the scoring through Yuya Osako. A shot from Maximilian Eggestein redirected right to the Japanese forward, who took a touch before picking out the top corner with an excellent finish.
Bremen would make it two only a few minutes later, as Milot Rashica flew forward on the counter attack. He danced past the last defender before firing past Timo Horn at the near post, and even though the goalkeeper should’ve done better, it was still a well taken goal.
At that same moment, Union Berlin took the lead against Fortuna Dusseldorf, sending the Green-Whites up to 16th place.
Unbelievably enough, they would go up 3-0 at the half hour mark. Marco Friedl found space out wide, and whipped in a beautiful cross into the area. He picked out Niclas Fullkrug, who did very well to redirect the ball into the side netting.
That’s how the scores went into the halftime break, with Bremen knowing they only needed one more goal to have a better goal differential than Dusseldorf in case they came back to tie their game.
They would get that fourth goal ten minutes into the second half. Rashica drove forward once again, and had his shot deflect off a defender before pinging off the far post. Luckily for them, Davy Klaassen was able to react quickly, getting on the end of the loose ball to poke home from close range.
More good news then came in, as Union Berlin went 2-0 up against Dusseldorf.
Bremen, to the shock of literally everyone, scored a fifth moments later. Theodor Gebre Selassie flew down the wing before hitting a low cross into the area, and the ball went right to an unmarked Osako, who finished off the move with relative ease.
Koln were able to pull one back at the hour mark, however. A woeful back pass from Rashica ended up playing Dominick Drexler through on goal, and the midfielder made the most of the error, coolly slotting past Jiri Pavlenka.
That would not faze Bremen, who went on to make it 6-1. Rashica made up for his earlier mistake, this time playing teammate Josh Sargent through on goal, and the American was able to chip the ball over Horn and into the back of the net.
Both sides had a few chances late on, but could not convert, so the remarkable 6-1 scoreline would end up being the fulltime result. Union Berlin, meanwhile, ended up winning 3-0 versus Dusseldorf, which allowed the Green-Whites to jump up to 16th and book their place in the relegation playoff.
Dreamland stuff for Werder
There’s no Bremen fan who would have woken up this morning thinking this could happen.
The deck was stacked against them. The Green-Whites needed to win at home, which they had only done once all season before today. They then needed Union Berlin, a team with literally nothing to play for, to beat Fortuna Dusseldorf. If they drew, Bremen would have needed to win by four goals, which was all but impossible considering how bad they were going forward.
However, everything went perfectly, and the Green-Whites were able to climb up to 16th place and secure their spot in the relegation playoff.
The job is far from done, of course, but Bremen should celebrate their phenomenal feat this weekend while they can. Then, their focus can turn to guaranteeing Bundesliga survival by winning the playoff.
Koln also did not have anything to play for, and it certainly looked that way on the field.
They never came close on the day, and scored their only goal of the game after a woeful defensive mistake. It won’t matter, to be fair, but some supporters will be annoyed by the team's dreadful performance.
However, plenty of others might not be too upset, as Koln’s loss sealed relegation for club rivals Fortuna Dusseldorf. Does that mean they completely threw the game? Probably not, but you never quite know in football. Bremen won't care though, as they got the result they needed.
Man of the match - Yuya Osako
The man who opened the floodgates early on, Yuya Osako’s first goal was ultimately the one that lifted Bremen into the relegation playoff.
A composed strike, Osako settled the shot from Eggestein before turning his body and picking out the top corner from a few yards out. The Japanese international went on to grab a brace at the hour mark with another fine finish, getting on the end of a low cross before finding the back of the net once again.
It was his fourth goal in the last four games, and his purple patch could not have come at a better time for Bremen, who were able to live to fight for another day.