Match report: Werder Bremen 3 Chelsea 0

The sight of Thibaut Courtois in a Chelsea shirt for the first time, and Didier Drogba again in blue, were the highlights of an otherwise disappointing afternoon.

Courtois made one outstanding stop in his first 45 minutes in a Chelsea shirt, but he could do nothing about the two goals that gave Werder Bremen their half-time advantage. The first came from the spot after John Terry was adjudged to have handled; the second was an unstoppable header.

Drogba was introduced at the break for his first game since we won the Champions League in this country two years ago. Him and another sub, Eden Hazard, looked most likely to get us back into the game but it was Bremen that had the final say, netting another penalty with time almost up.

It’s back to London, then, after a first defeat of pre-season.

Team news
Along with Drogba and Courtois both John Mikel Obi and Hazard were also given their first minutes of pre-season having joined up with the squad this week.

It was the same front six that had begun our 3-1 win at Vitesse Arnhem on Wednesday evening, however. That meant starts for strikers Diego Costa and Torres, with Cesc Fabregas again chosen in the no.10 role.

Kurt Zouma partnered skipper John Terry in defence, Cesar Azpilicueta and Filipe Luis the full-backs.

Franco Di Santo, a Blue between 2008 and 2010, played the first hour for Werder.  

First half
The teams were welcomed onto the pitch by a vocal home support under glorious blue skies in the north of Germany. There were a sizable number of travelling Chelsea fans, too.

Those backing the Blues will have been mightily impressed by Courtois’ first action in a Chelsea shirt. A Werder corner was not fully cleared and when it was swung back in, Di Santo was left unmarked, six yards out, centre of goal.

His header was a good one and looked destined for the net. That was until the two-metre tall Belgian stooped low to his right to dramatically claw the ball away. It was a save of the very highest quality.

We threatened for the first time when Terry volleyed across goal and wide, before his defensive partner Zouma almost got on the end of a dangerous Fabregas free-kick.

The opening exchanges had been tidy, if unspectacular. Then, on 18 minutes, the referee took centre stage when he awarded the home side a penalty. Eljero Elia skipped around Terry and dashed down the wing. He whipped a cross over which hit our retreating captain’s side, and the man in the middle deemed it handball.

Courtois went the right way – to his left – but Elia’s spot-kick was immaculately placed.

Torres shot over from a decent position after Azpilicueta’s cross evaded everyone, and that miss proved costly as Werder almost immediately doubled their advantage.

Elia was again at the heart of it, picking out the unmarked Ludovic Obraniak. The Pole still had plenty to do, positioned as he was 10 yards from goal and in front of the posts, but he brazenly glanced his header across Courtois into the far corner. It was a fine goal.

Torres had played the majority of the first 45 wide on the left and it was from this position that he almost found a route through a stubborn Bremen defence. The Spaniard bundled his way past a couple of challenges and shot for goal as he fell to earth, the legs of Raphael Wolf blocking his effort.

Second half
The scoreline and the friendly nature of the game dictated Mourinho make changes during the interval, permitting the thrilling sight of seeing Drogba in a Chelsea shirt for the first time since 19 May 2012, when we lifted the European Cup in Munich.

His first action was to very nearly get on the end of another inswinging Fabregas free-kick that bewitched the home side’s defence.

Hazard was introduced before the hour with a spark from open play the target.

That nearly came on 68 minutes after fellow substitute Nathan Ake did brilliantly to win a tackle on the edge of his box and release the 2014 Player of the Year down the left. Hazard raced for goal before intelligently playing in Fabregas, whose deft chip just exceeded the Bremen crossbar.

Hazard then released Drogba whose cutback was put behind, and from the resulting corner Terry very nearly got on the end of Fabregas’s delivery. This was comfortably our best spell of the game.

Good work from Jeremie Boga and then Fabregas afforded Drogba some space on the right-hand side of the box but his rasping drive fizzed wide of Wolf’s goal.

When Terry was replaced with a quarter-of-an-hour to go, Drogba took the captain’s armband. Mikel dropped back into central defence with the introduced Lewis Baker joining Nemanja Matic in the middle of midfield.  

You wouldn’t know Hazard had only been back in training for three days. Picking up a long Cech throw inside his own half, the winger beautifully danced his way past a host of Bremen defenders. Unfortunately, the finish didn’t quite match the run, shot beyond the far post.

The final action of the match was another Bremen penalty, with this time Ake penalised for what looked an excellent last-ditch challenge. Felix Kroos, brother of Toni, converted from 12 yards and ensured our European training camp ended on a disappointing note.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Courtois (Cech h/t); Azpilicueta (Boga 69), Zouma (Cahill h/t), Terry (c) (Baker 75), Filipe Luis (Ivanovic h/t); Van Ginkel (Mikel h/t), Matic; Salah (Hazard 56), Fabregas, Torres (Ake 56); Diego Costa (Drogba h/t).
Unused subs Christensen, Chalobah, Solanke.


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