Wereder Bremen struggled to stay with the top half of the Bundesliga for most of last season, and after a 3-0 thrashing from title contenders Schalke 04 in round 1 of the 2015-16 Bundesliga season die Werderaner appeared to be heading for some struggles once again.
Bremen were looking to put the own-goal that started its season in a backslide in the rearview mirror. However, those thoughts had to flash through the minds of the supporters, as Bremen traveled to Hertha Berlin, and saw their side go down 1-0 just six minutes in to the match.
With a minus-3 goal differential already staring itself in the face, a 1-0 defeat would’ve put Werder Bremen in a massive hole early on in this season. Losing 1-0 to “The Old Lady,” a side that nearly suffered relegation after last season.
However, the Bundesliga is a funny league and following a nice 1-0 win over FC Augsburg in round 1, Hertha Berlin came in to this match full of confidence and hopes of sticking towards the top of the league.
Lost in the points battle was the debut of United States starting forward, Aron Johannsson, for Bremen. The American-born, Icelandic-bred player made his move from the Eredivisie to the Bundesliga side recently and he got his first start on Friday night.
Johannsson paired with Anthony Ujah, and the pairing paid immediate dividends for die Werderaner. Ujah, who struggled in his first season in the Bundesliga at FC Koln last season, finally got opened his Bundesliga account in the 26th minute. With Berlin’s defense collapsing, Ujah managed to sneak one in.
Anthony Ujah equalises for Werder Bremen – his first goal since joining in the summer – celebration lacking without a goat but workable.
— Archie Rhind-Tutt (@archiert1) August 21, 2015
As for Hertha Berlin, it temporarily sits atop the Bundesliga with the result, but had to feel dissappointed following the match. That’s because Berlin had a handful of golden opportunities given to it after the 1-1 scoreline was made.
No opportunity was greater than a near own-goal that should’ve been late on in the match, as Werder Bremen looked to clear the ball out of its box. Instead, the clearance attempt went towards goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald’s net, and only the crossbar saved what appeared to be a sure goal.
Instead of a 2-1 win, the game ended with a splitting of the points and neither side happy with the result.
Getting any points on the road is helpful to Bremen early in the campaign, but both sides had to come away from the match with a feeling that they should’ve taken full points. If ever there was a bigger statement as to why these two clubs had to fight hard to stay afloat last season, watching them both miss opportunities to take this contest for themselves was a pretty good statement.
Will either side be able to build off this match? If so, look for the visitors from Bremen to take most of the positive, especially up front with the young and promising paring of Johannsson and Ujah.
I was personally impressed with the pressure the duo put on the Berlin defense, and I was also equally impressed at how well the Hertha defense responded to most of that pressure. It’s safe to say that both sides appear much more competitive and difficult to play against than last season, yet the 1-1 result says almost as much as the 2-2 tie in Berlin that these two sides played to to start last season.
Bremen took a step forward, but there needs to be full points from a match sooner than later or this could be a hard fought battle to stay out of the relegation zone all season long.