Paderborn 3-4 Werder Bremen: The beautiful game
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What will likely end up being the game of the 2. Bundesliga season has just taken place as Werder Bremen defeated Paderborn 4-3 at the Benteler-Arena.

The match had almost everything. There was a penalty that had to be retaken. There were defensive errors and goalkeeper mistakes. There were some absolute screamers.

At the end of all that, Bremen were just about able to pull ahead and secure three massive points in the fight for promotion.

Story of the match

The hosts were given an early penalty when Sven Michel got in the way of an attempted clearance from Ömer Toprak. Jiří Pavlenka saved the initial attempt from Michel, but the referee ordered a retake due to encroachment by a Bremen player. This time Florent Muslija was the one who took it, and he buried it.

Paderborn nearly doubled their advantage a bit before the hour mark. A lofted ball into the area picked out Felix Platte, and his headed attempt was a good one, but it bounced off the post and out instead of going in.

Bremen responded well, and they started carving out chances of their own. Eventually they equalized, as a spectacular first-time pass on the volley from Leonardo Bittencourt played Marvin Ducksch in behind. He then did the rest, cutting inside before converting from close range with a lovely finish that sent the goalkeeper the wrong way.

That seemingly kicked Paderborn back into gear. They then started putting pressure on the opposition, creating opportunity after opportunity. It became too much to handle, and Florent Muslija was able to put his side back in front with a curler from the edge of the area.

After a frantic start to the second half, the hosts went two goals up thanks to one of the strikes of the season. The ball fell to Platte near the halfway line, and he decided to have a go. Even though he slipped while shooting, his attempt was still hit perfectly, as it flew into the top corner over Pavlenka, who should've done better.

Another belter happened just moments later, and this one came via Bremen. A corner headed out to the edge of the area fell to Romano Schmid, who settled himself before unleashing a volley that flew into the back of the net past a helpless goalkeeper.

Things simply refused to stop happening, and shockingly enough, the scores were level a little bit past the hour mark. A defensive mistake gave the ball right to Niclas Füllkrug, and he made the most of the error, driving forward before slamming a low shot into the bottom corner.

It was almost 4-3 for Paderborn a few more minutes later. Platte seemingly grabbed his brace with another excellent finish, but the goal was called back following a VAR review since the referee spotted a foul by the forward beforehand. It was a weird decision, though, as the foul didn’t really happen in the buildup, and Bremen did get a touch on the ball afterwards.

It was seemingly 4-3 right after once again, as Ducksch curled the ball into the top 90 from distance, but VAR chalked this one off the board as well since someone was offside in the buildup.

After another frantic period that saw Werder hit the woodwork and Paderborn come a few yards away from scoring, the seventh goal of the contest finally came. It was scored by Bremen, as a corner wasn’t dealt with properly by Jannik Huth, which allowed Toprak to redirect the ball across the line and in.

That proved to be the end of the scoring, as Bremen cleared away enough crosses and killed enough time to secure three potentially massive points.


Football is a magical sport.

Man of the match - Ömer Toprak

All things considered, so much happened that it’s hard to highlight a certain player. A number of them stepped up in big moments, which led to this chaotic affair. With that in mind, the nod here will go to the matchwinner Ömer Toprak.

Did he give away the penalty that eventually led to the opener? Sure. Did he concede three on the afternoon? Well yeah. However, none of that now matters. What does matter is the defender’s winning goal.

It was quite an ugly one, to be fair, as the ball kind of just hit him before bouncing into the back of the net. It also only really happened because the goalkeeper failed to clear a relatively simple corner. Guess what, though? None of that matters either.

Toprak has been quality this season when healthy, and this goal could end up being one of the biggest of Bremen’s campaign.