Sunday, April 12, 2009

Werder holds Leverkusen to draw

While Leverkusen's temporarily plays its home matches in Düsseldorf, the rest of Bundesliga might want to consider petitioning them to stay there. Since the temporary move took place this January the once-championship hopeful side has been unable to win at "home" and fallen well off pace. This continued as the Green-Whites played Leverkusen to a 1-1 draw in a match they dominated for long periods.

Coming off the 3-1 UEFA Cup victory over Udinese, Thomas Schaaf was faced with a series of difficult decisions. For Werder, the domestic season is in-essence for "pride" now. Chances of winning a European spot through a top six finish in the Bundesliga are very unlikely and the only real opportunity is through winning the DFB Pokal or the UEFA Cup. Few would have blamed him if he would have sensibly laid out his rationale and played a safer style, saving some energy for later in the week or at least keeping things under control.

Any notion of that was cast aside as Werder played Leverkusen with everything they got and effectively bled out their hosts of a European berth with the draw. Although the Green-Whites controlled the early play, Leverkusen took the lead eleven minutes in as Tranquillo Barnetta connected from eighteen metres via the talented Toni Kroos' provision. Werder came storming back and after a early chance didn't fall their way Aaron Hunt crossed for Claudio Pizzaro's point-blank finish. The Green-Whites had a chance to win late as Clemens Fritz slammed the ball off the post with fifteen minutes left as the match ended in a draw.