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GOOD BATTLING PERFORMANCE BUT RASHICA WINS IT FOR BREMEN

The Boys in Brown slipped to a 1-0 friendly defeat against Werder Bremen on Saturday afternoon. Milot Rashica got the goal for the Bundesliga outfit just before the break in front of 500 spectators in Lohne. Timo Schultz’s side held their own throughout and gave little away at the back, but were unable to ward off a narrow defeat.

Head coach Timo Schultz had to make do without Finn Ole Becker, Afeez Aremu, Ryo Miyaichi and Borys Tashchy for the meeting with Bremen. New recruit Simon Makienok, who joined the club a few hours before kick-off, will not hook up with his teammates in Herzlake until tomorrow evening and thus didn’t play. Werder, who had just beaten Groningen 4-0 in another friendly, fielded a completely different team and edged the possession early on. The Boys in Brown gave nothing away at the back, however, pressing the ball effectively in midfield.

The game remained a drab affair in the opening stages, of interest primarily for tactics aficionados. But then Bremen’s Ilia Gruev burst forward towards goal before knocking the ball wide to Theodor Gebre Selassie on the right. His low cross was returned by Niklas Füllkrug for Gruev, who forced a brilliant save from Dennis Smarsch. Gruev’s effort from the inside-right channel was destined for the top left corner, but Smarsch got his fingertips to the ball to keep it at 0-0.

With Werder continuing to apply the pressure, the Boys in Brown tried their luck with quick counterthrusts, as in the 33rd minute, when Jannes Wieckhoff charged down the right and cut the ball back for the advancing Marvin Knoll. His shot from 14 metres sailed over the crossbar, however. Werder eventually took the lead just before the interval, Milot Rashica collecting the ball in midfield and driving forward a good 20 metres before netting from just outside the box.

Lukas Daschner is stopped by a sliding tackle from Bremen captain Niklas Moisander.

Lukas Daschner is stopped by a sliding tackle from Bremen captain Niklas Moisander.

Both coaches made one change during the break, with Robin Himmelmann replacing Dennis Smarsch in the St. Pauli goal. The Boys in Brown displayed more attacking intent from the off, but Bremen kept things tight in defence. At the other end, Werder strung a neat passing move together that was started and finished by Maximilian Eggestein. Fortunately, his horizontal bicycle kick flew a whisker past the far post.

Schultz rang the changes after that, taking off every outfield player with the exception of Under-23 forward Christian Stark. His team stepped up the pressure and had more of the game as a result, without creating any chances of note, however. That changed a quarter of an hour before the end when Rico Benatelli won the ball in the opposition half, set off down the left and then picked out Serkan Dursun in the middle. His contact with the ball wasn’t the best, however, allowing Werder keeper Eduardo dos Santos Haesler to gather.

At the other end, Robin Himmelmann was called into action five minutes later when Davie Selke popped up in the box unmarked and tried his luck from a narrow angle. Himmelmann got a foot in the way and the ball ended up in the side netting. The Boys in Brown kept pushing in search of an equaliser and it almost came when Benatelli pulled the trigger from outside the box, only for it take a decisive deflection. The resulting corner came to nothing and so it ended in a narrow 1-0 defeat.

Werder Bremen

Haesler - Gebre Selassie, Gross, Moisander (Nawrocki 46’), Agu - M. Eggestein, Gruev (Straudi 78’), Osako, Rashica (Schmid 67’) - Selke, Füllkrug (Dinkci 67’)

Head coach: Florian Kohfeldt

 

FC St. Pauli

Smarsch (Himmelmann 46’) - Ohlsson (Viet 58’), Ziereis (Avevor 58’), Senger (Buballa 58’) - Wieckhoff (Coordes 58’), Knoll (Zalazar 58’), Zehir (Benatelli 58’), Paqarada (Flach 58’) - Daschner (Franzke 58’) - Dittgen (Dursun 58’), Stark

Head coach: Timo Schultz

 

Goal: 1-0 Rashica (43’)

Yellow cards: Senger

Referee: Franz Bokop

 

Photos: Witters

 

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