Werder Bremen booked their spot in the DFB-Pokal quarterfinals on Tuesday night as they defeated Greuther Furth 2-0 at the Wohninvest Weserstadion.
Kevin Mohwald pounced on a loose ball in the area to give his side an early lead, and despite Furth’s best efforts, the Green-Whites put the game to bed with just over 15 minutes to go courtesy of a close range finish from substitute Felix Agu.
Story of the match
Bremen opened the scoring after 11 minutes. Milos Veljkovic headed a corner towards goal, but his effort was hit right at Sascha Burchert. However, the goalkeeper couldn’t catch the ball, spilling it right to Kevin Mohwald who slammed home the rebound from close range.
It was nearly 2-0 moments later as Josh Sargent snuck in behind the Furth backline before going for a cheeky lob over the goalkeeper. He couldn’t keep the attempt on target, though, as the shot went wide. Bremen kept up the pressure, with Ludwig Augustinsson hitting the post with a shot of his own from a tight angle soon after.
Things would calm down, and the rest of the first half was quite uneventful.
The Green-Whites could have had a second five minutes after the break as captain Niklas Moisander was left unmarked at the back post, but he could only head the ball right at the goalkeeper who corralled the effort this time around.
Furth had their first real chance in the 55th minute, and they maybe should have done better with it. A corner made its way to Maximilian Bauer who had found space in the area. He just couldn’t connect with a volley, though, and his effort went way off target.
The away side continued to grow into the contest, and they came close again at the hour mark. A low cross picked out Sebastian Ernst at the backpost, but he somehow rolled his tap-in attempt wide of goal.
Sargent was through once again right after, but his shot from the edge of the area was blocked by a Furth defender.
Bremen eventually grabbed a second crucial goal in the 73th minute, hitting on the break in devastating fashion. Romano Schmid drove up the field with the ball before laying it off to Sargent out wide. He then hit a cross into the area right to substitute Felix Agu, and he was able to get a touch on the ball to redirect it into the back of the net.
Furth responded well, and they tried to get themselves back into the game. Robin Kehr settled the ball well before unleashing a shot from a tight angle, but Jiri Pavlenka was able to react quickly to get a hand up and block the attempt.
That would prove to be the last major moment of the contest as the Green-Whites held on to clinch the victory.
It may not have been pretty, but Bremen were able to do enough to book their spot in the quarterfinals of the DFB-Pokal.
Taking the lead early on courtesy of yet another set piece, they then played smart, if not a little too conservative. The Green-Whites sat back and absorbed pressure, looking to hit on the break whenever the chance arrived. They came close on a few instances, and they didn’t give up many opportunities on the defensive side of the ball either.
It was far from a perfect performance, though, as Bremen were bailed out by Furth’s poor finishing in the final third, but it was enough to get the job done on the night. This result showcased the improvement of the team, at least, as it’s unlikely that last year’s outfit would have been able to scrape a victory like this one.
Now, the Green-Whites will have their eyes set on the trophy. It’s going to be tough as there are still a few big teams left in the tournament, but with Bayern Munich out of the way, Bremen will feel like they have a chance against anyone.
Man of the match - Kevin Mohwald
It was a team performance by Bremen on the night, but Kevin Mohwald deserves just an extra bit of praise compared to his teammates.
The matchwinner, his early goal was huge for the Green-Whites. It calmed everyone’s nerves and put pressure on Furth to push forward, allowing Bremen to hit on the break. At that point, Mohwald’s job was simple. He dropped back to support the defense at one end, and then got in position to help start counter attacks on the other.
He was calm and composed throughout, and his leadership helped the Green-Whites secure the crucial win. If Bremen want any chance of actually winning the tournament, they’ll need Mohwald to keep playing like this in the future rounds.