Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Werder Bremen Explodes

Last week, I spoke of Stuttgart’s awakening, perhaps prematurely. Perhaps it’s premature to do so this week with Werder Bremen, but there are indicators that Bremen is ready to turn their season around after their resounding defeat of Stuttgart this week. Diego was at his best, Naldo and Merzacker were brilliant in defense and Hugo Almeida seemed to finally find some form.

How do you stop a team like Arsenal, Barcelona or Stuttgart? You push them. If you sit back and allow them time to pass, they will eventually pick you apart; however, if you press, run at their defense, shoot, they can’t get a rhythm. In addition, your movement, closes down channels, putting bodies where they wouldn’t be otherwise, that would be open if you are sitting back. Werder Bremen showed everyone else how to do it this past Saturday.

Still reeling from an injury crisis, petering on the epic, Werder Bremen hosted the defending champions at the Weserstadion and put the holders to the sword. Two lightening quick strikes by Portuguese international Hugo Almeida saw the game at 2-0 within three minutes. Within 15 minutes it was 3-1, following a Gomez counter and Sanogo retort a minute later. By all accounts this was going to be a game for the ages. While the ball stopped finding the net, it was not due to a lack of effort by either side, so anyone who turned away after 15 minutes still missed 75 minutes of exhilarating football.

Diego controlled the midfield while Daniel Jansen had a very solid game next to him. With Baumann and Vranjes providing more cover behind the brilliant Brazilian, Werder Bremen surged forward often and with aplomb, causing havoc for Basturk and Khedira, who were pinned back most of the game and leading to a stinker by defender Serdar Tasci. Bremen could have easily scored on any number of their 17 other chances, especially a brilliantly controlled bicycle by Diego late in the second half that flew over the bar by inches.

Stuttgart was not without resolve as they found moments of sharpness, especially right after the break. However an obvious goal by Hilbert, which smashed off the crossbar and down over the line, was wrongfully disallowed and this seemed to take the steam out of the Swabians, who thereafter seemed to flounder any additional chances.

A late brace from distance by Diego capped a perfect day for the #10 who was brilliant throughout the day. If he can carry them through their injury phase of the moment, they could well be a team to cause havoc in the league and Champions League for the rest of the season.

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