Borussia Dortmund vs. Werder Bremen: Winners and Losers from Bundesliga
In a truly remarkable game of Bundesliga football, Borussia Dortmund beat Werder Bremen, 3-2, on Matchday 28 in Signal Iduna Park.
The Black and Yellows were the dominant side in the first half, but they failed to create too many goalscoring opportunities. The visitors defended well and frustrated Dortmund with their defensive shape, as head coach Viktor Skripnik opted for a five chain.
The first goal came out the proverbial nowhere, with the hosts catching Bremen on the transition in the 53rd minute. Henrikh Mkhitaryan released Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and the Gabonese lobbed one past goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald.
Bremen reacted positively and equalised, albeit thanks to a massive deflection from Gonzalo Castro, through centre-back Alejandro Galvez in the 69th minute.
Only six minutes later, Zlatko Junuzovic broke through the middle of Dortmund's defence and put his team in front.
Dortmund then only took three minutes to answer Bremen's second goal, as substitute Shinji Kagawa slotted a great cutback pass from Marcel Schmelzer home.
Another substitute, Adrian Ramos scored the winner five minutes from time with an emphatic header.
Dortmund, who were already guaranteed a third-place finish thanks to Schalke 04's loss earlier on Saturday, remain five points behind Bayern Munich and keep their slight title hopes alive.
Werder, on the other hand, remain 14th with a one-point advantage over the first direct relegation spot, which Eintracht Frankfurt currently holds.
Here, Bleacher Report picks the winners and losers from this exciting game.
Winner: Adrian Ramos
Colombian striker Adrian Ramos only came on in the 80th minute and had just nine touches, per WhoScored.com, but he made them count.
It was his first touch of the ball that won Dortmund the game, as he got on the end of a Mkhitaryan corner with his head.
As WhoScored.com noted on Twitter, Ramos has now "contributed to five goals in his last six Bundesliga matches," and three of the four goals he's scored over that stretch—against Hoffenheim, Darmstadt and now Bremen—won his side points, as they were go-ahead goals.
The 30-year-old has developed into a veritable super-sub for the Black and Yellows in recent weeks.
Loser: Viktor Skripnik and Werder Bremen
Skripnik can't have entered the match at Dortmund with high expectations. Per German broadcaster Sky, the main goal was to look better than they did at Bayern before the international break, where they lost, 5-0.
Going home with a loss from Dortmund is no shame, seeing as no Bundesliga team has beaten the Black and Yellows in the Westfalenstadion this season. But doing so after holding a lead with 15 minutes to go must be a tough pill to swallow for the Ukrainian coach.
His sporting director, Thomas Eichin, summed it up after the game, per the club on Twitter: "It frustrates me that we take nothing from the game after such a performance."
Bremen can take solace in the fact that not one of the other teams in the relegation battle picked up a win at the weekend so far, but that makes it even more painful that they couldn't pull off the upset against Dortmund.
Winner: Shinji Kagawa
Kagawa didn't start the game, presumably because of the number of frequent-flyer miles he picked up on international duty with Japan, but he did get to make his 100th Bundesliga appearance as a substitute.
Much like Ramos, he too made it count, scoring the vital equaliser shortly after Bremen took the lead. It was a simple enough finish thanks to a brilliant assist from Schmelzer but one Kagawa perhaps wouldn't have put away a few weeks ago, when he went through a rough patch of form.
Bremen are among his favourite opponents, as Whoscored.com noted on Twitter, he's "now scored four goals in six appearances" against the visitors.
Loser: Felix Wiedwald
As German sport magazine Kicker pointed out in their Thursday edition, Bremen goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald had only kept one clean sheet in 36 starts in the Bundesliga, against Dortmund in the last season with Eintracht Frankfurt.
"There's a reason Bremen haven't kept a clean sheet all season," as BT Sports' Archie Rhindt-Tutt tweeted during the game, but Wiedwald wasn't at fault against Dortmund.
In fact, he was unquestionably the visitors' best performer on the day and a huge reason it took the Black and Yellows 53 minutes to open the scoring. He kept out Erik Durm from point-blank range in the first half and had a number of other impressive saves.
His inclusion as a loser on this list is based solely on the fact that being the goalkeeper of a side defending as poorly as Bremen must be a terribly lonely feeling.
As Dortmund noted on their website, Bremen haven't kept a clean sheet in 31 games, the third-longest stretch in Bundesliga history.
Winner: Thomas Tuchel
It seems like manager Thomas Tuchel can't do much wrong in his first season at Dortmund. Against Bremen, his side never quite looked right, even when they finally went in front, but the 42-year-old didn't make any changes.
Kagawa entered the pitch as the first substitute in the 74th minute, only moments before Junuzovic put the visitors in front.
Then, immediately after Kagawa scored the equaliser, Ramos and 17-year-old Christian Pulisic, fresh of his senior debut for the United States in midweek, came on. Tuchel pushed for the win, and he got it.
Not only did two of his substitutes score goals, Pulisic also won the corner that led to Ramos' winner.
Asked about his magic touch, Tuchel passed the praise on to his squad, saying, per the club's official website that it's a gift to have these players available on the bench.
Even though that's true, Tuchel deserves acclaim for being aggressive with his substitutions: Ramos and Pulisic came on for Reus and left-back Schmelzer.