Wolfsburg 0-0 Werder Bremen

The first-half formations.

Wolfsburg and Bremen played out an entertaining scoreless draw, albeit one that will only truly live on in the memory for Edin Džeko’s petulant reaction to being substituted.

Bremen came into this game with a number of absentees, including Claudio Pizarro, Wesley, Naldo and Tim Borowski. Wolfsburg, meanwhile, made do without just two first-choice players – Arne Friedrich, and Grafite.

For two teams struggling in the lower-reaches of the division, this was a refreshingly open and attack-minded encounter from the word ‘go’.

However, one team always has to take the initiative, and that responsibility belonged to the hosts. With the visitors content to let Wolfsburg bring the ball out, they sat back in a 4-4-2, and only applied pressure when the ball approached the halfway line.

Thomas Schaaf kept the home side’s attacking options man-marked whenever this pattern of play occurred. Diego, stationed on the left whenever his colleagues brought the ball out, was picked up by Dominik Schmidt, Mario Mandžukić by Petri Pasanen, Josué by the two foremost attackers, and Džeko by the equally tall Per Mertesacker. Continue reading

Werder Bremen 3-2 Hamburg

The first half formations.

Matchday six in the Bundesliga, and the Saturday evening tie saw northern rivals Bremen and Hamburg square up.

Hamburg began the clash in seventh place on eight points, while Bremen found themselves in the division’s penultimate place on a mere three points.

Meanwhile, neither of these sides had impressed in the midweek round of fixtures, with Bremen humiliated at Hannover, and Hamburg brushed aside by Wolfsburg.

So perhaps the watching world shouldn’t have been too surprised by this match taking a while to get started. Both teams sought to give every man in the same colour shirt a touch of the ball, as each tried tempting the opposition out of position.

As patterns and pace finally emerged, the visitors looked more comfortable initially. Confident first-time passing moves were being strung together, often only thwarted at the final stage by Bremen’s snappy offside-trap.

Continue reading