Werder Bremen finally ended their winless run on Saturday afternoon as the Green-Whites narrowly defeated Mainz at the Opel Arena.
Far from the most exciting contest, it did come to life at the very end as the debuting Eren Dinkçi scored the winning goal in the 90th minute to steal all three points for his side.
Story of the match
Bremen should have taken the lead after 25 minutes as a corner from Ludwig Augustinsson picked out an unmarked Josh Sargent in the area. However, he made a mess of the finish, heading the ball straight down into the ground which allowed the goalkeeper to make an easy save.
The game was an open one early on, as Mainz had a good chance of their own moments later. Edimilson Fernandes cut inside before shooting from the edge of the area, and even though it was awkward, Jiri Pavelnka was still able to make the save.
Things eventually calmed down, and the contest was quite a boring one throughout the middle period. Both teams had a few half-chances, but neither really threatened.
Just as it seemed like the two sides were destined for a 0-0 draw, Bremen grabbed a winning goal in the 90th minute. It was two substitutes linking up to perfection, as Tahith Chong whipped in a superb cross into the area that picked out Eren Dinkçi who was able to head home from close range.
Mainz pushed forward in search of a late equalizer but just couldn’t create one last opportunity. In the end, Bremen were able to hold on and secure the vital result, which helped them climb back up the standings while sinking Mainz further into the relegation zone.
Mainz are in trouble
Bremen never really did much, and the fact that they were still able to win will be a concern for Mainz.
The home side just never really got going. They spent most of the contest on the backfoot, sitting in deep and absorbing pressure. This was supposed to lead to chances on the counter, but the front two of Robin Quaison and Jean-Philippe Mateta failed to do anything against a resilient Bremen backline.
Even when Mainz did have the ball, they didn’t do much with it, usually resorting to long shots that were pretty easily dealt with by Jiri Pavlenka. This result and Arminia Bielefeld’s win meant that Mainz are now four points off the relegation-spot and five points behind 15th place Koln.
There’s still a lot of the season left to go, but with a brutal upcoming schedule, it might be time for Mainz fans to really worry about the future.
Man of the match - Eren Dinkçi
The debutant was the hero on the afternoon, as Eren Dinkçi came off the bench to break the deadlock in the 90th minute.
Only coming into the matchday squad due to the club’s injury crisis up top, some may have been surprised to see manager Florian Kohfeldt sub him on. However, it proved to be a masterstroke of a decision as Dinkçi went on to score the winner.
It was a relatively simple goal on the surface, as he made a smart run into space before heading the ball into the corner, but it’s a moment that could mean so much more for him and his team.
Dinkçi doing that on his debut shows that he’s ready for more first team action even though he only turned 19 years old last week. For Bremen, the victory gave them some breathing space in the fight to avoid relegation, as they now sit eight points ahead of 17th place Mainz.
It might just be seen as a moment of magic tonight, but that goal could be absolutely priceless come the end of the campaign.