Borussia Dortmund haven't had much historical success against Werder Bremen at the Weserstadion, but that didn't matter tonight - the visitors twice twice against the run of play, absorbed a red card, and walked away from an entertaining match with all three points.
It didn't look as though the defending champions, who had won just 6 of 43 league matches in Bremen before today, were going to have much luck either. Apart from the occasional flutter forward by Mario Goetze, the hosts were having by far the better of things, with Claudio Pizarro in particular a constant threat to Roman Weidenfeller's goal. Bremen had the advantage in midfield, and it showed.
But no matter how much they dominated, Bremen couldn't score, and that led to them pushing more and more bodies forward, giving Dortmund room to counterattack. Counterattack they did, and Ivan Perisic was at the end of one of those rare forays into the home half in the 42nd minute, his left-shooted shot crashing past Sebastian Mielitz and into the back of the net to make it 1-0. Just five minutes beforehand, Perisic had received a yellow card for a bad sliding tackle on Aaron Hunt, so it was good to see the sublime side of the Croatian midfielder rather than the vicious.
And then, two minutes after halftime, the vicious reappeared. Sokratis Papastathopoulos was straining to reach a pass when Perisic lunge, making minimal contact with the ball but cleaning out the Greek midfielder in the process with a nasty scissor tackle. A red card was inevitable, despite Perisic playing dead, and Dortmund's defensive duties (which looked like a pretty challenging task already) got a little bit harder.
A five minute spell in the second half rather summed up the match: Bremen had possession and were completely encamped in Dortmund's half. The hosts managed to weave a breakout on the left, and that ended with a shot towards Weidenfeller's goal by Lukas Schmitz. Said shot was deflected onto the crossbar, bounced onto the line and then cleared, and at the other end of the pitch Dortmund won and scored from a corner after a bicycle kick from Mats Humels was turned in by Patrick Owomoyela.
Yeah, it was that kind of day for Bremen. They were probably the better team on the night, but sometimes things just don't go your way. This was one of those times. Meanwhile, Dortmund go to second in the Bundesliga - it's a huge win for them as they try to chase down Bayern Munich for the top spot. Bayern, meanwhile, could go six points clear with a win this weekend.