Sascha Riether's early goal was all Wolfsburg needed to edge Werder Bremen and move clear of the relegation zone.Wolfsburg climbed out of the relegation zone with a pivotal 1-0 win away to Werder Bremen. The result spoiled the mood ahead of Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf's 50th birthday, and was also a disappointment for Torsten Frings, who made his 400th Bundesliga appearance.
The only goal of the game came in the 22nd minute, as Sascha Riether capitalized on a few chaotic moments to put the visitors ahead. There were several chances at either end before full time, but ultimately, the right-back's single effort was enough to secure three points.
The play was quite lively in the first-half, and although both sides showed bright signs in attack, only Wolfsburg managed to threaten its opponents' goal. Tim Wiese did well to tend his goal and twice knocked the ball away before Riether pounced to tap in the opener. Six minutes later, Mikael Silvestre played a dangerous back-pass and Mario Mandzukic was lurking, but Wiese managed to clear just ahead of the onrushing attacker.
Though their lead was fully deserved, Wolfsburg were rather fortunate to enter the half-time break with 11 men. Arne Friedrich, who had been booked earlier in the first half, went in with a studs-up challenge on Claudio Pizarro but managed to avoid a second booking.
Werder were improved in the second half, but had difficulty capitalizing on its chances. Nine minutes into the second half, Marko Marin was unmarked 15 yards from goal, but his final shot was weak and Diego Benaglio saved quite easily.The Wolfburg goalkeeper nearly gifted the equalizer on 68 minutes as he flapped at a cross, but substitute Makoto Hasebe managed to clear off the line.
Their commitment to attack only made the hosts more exposed at the back. Grafite sent a powerful strike just wide of the left post in the 57th minute, and moments after Benaglio's near-gift, Marcel Schafer nodded narrowly wide of the opposite side. Bremen devoted more and more to attack late in the game and even used defender Per Mertesacker as an auxiliary forward, but their attempts were in vain and the hosts had to accept defeat.
The result sees Bremen slip to 12th in the Bundesliga standings, but Schaaf's men remain four points clear of the drop. With their three points, Wolfsburg move a single point clear of the relegation zone.
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