Werder Bremen edged out Fulham in their latest pre-season friendly at the Weser-Stadion this afternoon.
Martin Jol selected a strong side for the meeting with Bundesliga opposition, with Dimitar Berbatov, Bryan Ruiz, Brede Hangeland and Fernando Amorebieta all featuring in Fulham’s starting line-up. But the German side settled sharper and they almost opened the scoring in the ninth minute when Maarten Stekelenburg did well to save Aaron Hunt’s close range header
Bremen’s domination continued throughout the first half, with Clemens Fritz firing just wide from close-range before the interval. Werder eventually went ahead midway through the second half when Nils Petersen finished off a flowing passing move by skipping around Stekelenburg and rolling the ball into an empty net.
Martin Jol would have been perturbed by Fulham’s failure to create chances throughout a frustrating afternoon. Their clearest opening came courtesy of a gorgeous through ball by Berbatov but young winger Mesca couldn’t finish from close range as he bore down on the goalkeeper. Mesca was only on the field after Alex Kacaniklic limped off injury following a heavy first-half challenge, making the Swedish international a serious doubt for Fulham’s Premier League opener at Sunderland.
The Londoners were fortunate not to go further behind when Ejario Elia somehow contrived to miss the target from close range after Stekelenburg had pushed out a strike from Hunt and Bremen comfortably held onto their narrow lead to inflict Fulham’s first defeat of the summer.
WERDER BREMEN (4-3-3): Mielitz; Gebre Selassie (Hartherz 71), Fritz (Ignjovski 71), Ekici (Stevanovic 71), Caldirola (Lukimya 71); Prödl (Pavlovic 71), Junuzovic (Yildirim 71), Makiadi (Kroos 71); Petersen (Füllkrug 71), Hunt (Arnautovic 71), Elia (Aycicek 71). Subs (not used): Wolf, Akpala
BOOKED: Elia, Kroos.
FULHAM (4-2-3-1): Stekelenburg; Riether, Richardson (Briggs 84), Hangeland, Amorebieta (Hughes 67); Boateng (Karagounis 60), Sidwell (David 84); Dejagah (Duff 45), Kacaniklic (Mesca 29), Ruiz (Kasami 72); Berbatov (Rodallega 72). Subs (not used): Stockdale, Riise, Senderos.
REFEREE: Florian Meyer.