A spirited affair throughout, it would be two defensive mistakes that ultimately settled the scoreline. First, Bremen captain Niklas Moisander redirected a cross into the back of his own net. Then, 15 minutes later, Koln centerback Sebastiaan Bornauw accidentally used his arm when trying to clear away the ball, which led to the referee pointing to the spot and Leonardo Bittencourt converting the resulting penalty kick.
All in all, it was an interesting night at the Wohninvest Weserstadion. Neither side will be too happy or upset with the result, but both know they’ll need to improve following the upcoming international break.
Story of the match
Bremen nearly opened the scoring in the opening minute. Jean Manuel-Mbom pounced on a poor back pass but couldn’t quite make the most of the opening, as Timo Horn stepped up to make the save.
That would prove to be Horn’s only real involvement in the contest, as he had to be subbed out in the 39th minute due to an apparent knock, with Ron-Robert Zieler coming on to replace him.
Although neither team created many chances, it was still a hectic first half. The momentum was constantly swinging, going from one side to the other in a moment's notice.
The frantic pace continued at the start of the second half. Josh Sargent came inches away from getting on the end of a loose ball in the area, and then Sebastian Andersson had a shot blocked inside the penalty area by Omer Toprak.
Koln would get the first goal of the game in the 67th minute against the run of play. A free-kick in a dangerous position was whipped into the area, and Bremen defender Niklas Moisander ended up flicking the ball into the back of his own net. It wouldn’t have been the easiest clearance, of course, but the former Finnish international should have done much better there.
Just when it looked like the Green-Whites were running out of ideas, they were given a lifeline when a cross hit Koln defender Sebastiaan Bornauw on the arm. The referee had no other choice than to point to the spot, and Leonardo Bittencourt stepped up to slot home the resulting penalty kick.
Bremen had one last chance to grab the winner when a superb pass from Theodor Gebre Selassie picked out Sargent in the area, but the American’s header flew right towards Zieler who made the simple save.
In the end, the home side will be a bit disappointed to not have won on the night as they had most of the ball, but at least they didn’t lose after going behind. For Koln, it was just another result they let slip through their hands.
Issues for both
This game was an ugly one, to be fair, which goes to show the problems each team is dealing with.
Bremen are improved from last season, but they still have a ways to go. Lacking quality at the back and going forward, they can compete in every game they play, but they’ll never be able to win with ease. It’s impossible to predict what’s going to happen when the Green-Whites take the field, and that inconsistency could cost them one day.
Koln, meanwhile, just can’t get the job done. They were gifted the lead, but still managed to somehow mess things up by making a defensive mistake of their own. As a result, the Billy Goats now only have three points after seven games, which just isn’t good enough. They are fighting for survival already, and they need to get better quickly if they want to calm the nerves of supporters.
Man of the match - Tahith Chong
Admittedly, no one really stood out on the night, but someone has to be named man of the match.
One player who made some sort of impact was Tahith Chong, so he’ll get the honors. Coming off the bench late on, he was constantly involved for Bremen going forward. He found space on the left wing time and time again, either making clever passes to teammates or going for goal himself.
It was his cross that led to the penalty kick, so in some regards, Chong could be credited with creating the equalizer. Either way, it was an impressive cameo from the Manchester United loanee, and he should be set for more playing time following the upcoming international break.