Werder Bremen continued their unbeaten run on Wednesday as Die Grün-Weißen defeated Arminia Bielefeld 2-0 at the SchücoArena.
Bielefeld were the better team to start the contest, but their wastefulness in front of goal kept the opposition in the game. Bremen would eventually take over, as a Josh Sargent tap-in right after the break opened the scoring before Kevin Möhwald doubled the advantage in style.
The home side fought back well, but they just couldn’t find the back of the net, which allowed Bremen to hold on to secure another win on their travels.
Story of the match
Bielefeld had a big chance just before the half hour mark. A loose ball in the area fell kindly to Ritsu Doan, who took a touch before shooting. His attempt could have gone in, but Ömer Toprak was able to get across and block the shot to deal with the danger.
The home side were the better of the two in the first half, but they were unable to capitalize on their advantage in the opening stages.
They would rue their missed chances as Bremen opened the scoring right after the break. Milot Rashica was able to break free down the wing before attempting a cross that was deflected towards the backpost. Even though it seemed like the ball was already destined for goal, Josh Sargent was on hand to make sure it went into the back of the net.
It’s unclear who will get credit for the goal, but it was initially credited as an own goal for Amos Pieper, who was the one who tried to block the cross. That might be changed, though, as a replay showed that Sargent’s touch came before the ball was fully across the line.
Bielefeld responded well, and nearly equalized about seven minutes later. Doan was able shrug off a challenge from Marco Friedl before turning and getting a low shot off. Jiří Pavlenka dropped down quickly to make the save, though, and the resulting rebound was blocked before the ball was cleared away.
Things got worse for Die Blauen as defender Nathan de Medina was sent off in the 71st minute. At first, he was only shown a yellow card following a tackle on fellow substitute Niclas Füllkrug. However, the referee then went to VAR, and after watching a few replays and consulting his fellow officials, he decided to give De Medina a red card instead. It was a fair decision, as the player’s foot was high, and his studs were exposed.
Bremen made the most of that break by scoring a second soon after. It was a really well worked goal, as Maximilian Eggestein and Rashica linked up beautifully to free up the former. He then laid the ball off to Kevin Möhwald, who made no mistake with the finish, cooly volleying home to double his side’s lead.
Bielefeld then had two huge chances to halve the deficit and get back into the matchup. However, on both occasions, Fabian Klos was denied at close range by Pavlenka.
Die Grün-Weißen were able to see out the rest of the contest with relative ease, securing the clean sheet and all three points as a result.
The importance of finishing
In football, creating chances means nothing if you can’t convert them. That was clear to see in this game, as Bielefeld’s wastefulness was what ultimately cost them.
The better team for most of the contest, Die Blauen did well to carve out opportunities throughout the match. However, they just couldn’t find the back of the net. Whether it was due to a block by a defender, a save from Jiří Pavlenka, or a Bielefeld player just making a mess of the finish, every opening passed the home side by.
Bremen, meanwhile, were clinical going forward. Their first goal was lucky, to be fair, as the ball deflected right to Josh Sargent at the backpost. However, the second goal certainly wasn’t, as Die Grün-Weißen carved the opposing defense apart in seconds. They didn’t create much else, but they didn’t need to due to the Bielefeld’s aforementioned struggles on the attack.
Performances still matter, of course. If Bielefeld can keep playing like this, then they’ll likely avoid relegation come the end of the season. On the other hand, Bremen know they can’t get away with another showing like this in the future, or else they will end up on the losing side.
However, on this day, the points will go to Die Grün-Weißen.
Man of the match - Milot Rashica
He may not have scored himself, but Milot Rashica was still able to put on an attacking showcase.
He played a key role in creating both goals, as his cross led to the opener before clever movement and passing helped set up the second. His impact went beyond the scoresheet as well, as he was able to constantly get on the ball to keep possession and create chances for his side.
The winger isn’t really known for his creativity, but this performance proved just how dynamic he can be when he’s fit and in form. A nightmare for the Bielefeld defenders to deal with, Rashica used his pace and technical ability to make space for himself and teammates in the final third throughout the contest.
Rashica is starting to kick into high gear, which is good news for Bremen and bad news for the rest of the country.