Eden Hazard, Oscar, Diego Costa and Pedro all scored as the Blues ended pre-season with an exciting victory in northern Germany.
Most of the damage was done in the first half as the attacking trio of Hazard, Oscar and Diego Costa linked up sublimely, all getting a goal and an assist each. Further back N’Golo Kante played all but the final 10 minutes having been named in Antonio Conte’s starting line-up for the first time. He was industrious and effective throughout.
It was Hazard who opened the scoring from range and Oscar doubled it instantly with a cute finish. Former Blue Claudio Pizarro then reduced the arrears from the spot, but Diego Costa restored our two-goal advantage on the stroke of half-time.
Plenty of chances for Chelsea came and went after the break, particularly before a raft of substitutions slowed proceedings down, and it looked like Bremen would have the final say before sub Pedro completed the scoring right on full-time.
So it’s back to London with another win under our belt and Conte and his players’ focus set firmly on our Premier League opener against West Ham a week tomorrow.
The boss opted to start with the 4-1-4-1 formation in evidence at the end of our midweek friendly against AC Milan. Kante shielded a defence with Branislav Ivanovic back in it, and ahead of the midfielder Hazard started his first game of the summer wide on the left.
The first strike on goal came from an unlikely source, Cesar Azpilicueta the man seeing a shot deflected just wide, but there was no surprise who netted for us from the resulting corner. Played short, Oscar found Hazard 20 yards out. He took aim and drilled a crisp shot into the corner.
Sixty seconds later it was two, and in some style. Hazard found Oscar, he and Diego Costa slickly exchanged passes inside the box, and our no.8 then placed his effort past Felix Wiedwald. It was the Brazilian’s third goal in his last 40 minutes of football following his brace against AC Milan on the other side of the Atlantic.
Soon after Werder’s central midfielder Zlatko Junuzovic almost halved the deficit, but his spectacular 30-yarder found its match in Thibaut Courtois’ fingertips and so crashed against the bar and not into the net. Sambou Yatabare then profligately dragged a shot wide after fine work from Pizarro.
By the midway point of the half Werder had found their feet, but we remained a threat and Diego Costa had two close-range shots blocked in quick succession. An Ivanovic header was then well saved.
On the half-hour his Serbian teammate Nemanja Matic felled Junuzovic as he broke through on goal and Werder had a penalty, calmly slotted home by Pizarro. Wiedwald held a stinging Willian strike after some eagle-eyed work from Hazard as we sought to instantly restore our two-goal lead.
Instead it was Bremen who nearly levelled matters up. Pizarro was again the instigator with a delicate lay-off. Clemens Fritz strode clear but a combination of Azpilicueta and Courtois kept the ball out.
Wiedwald and his defence had no such luck trying the keep the Blues at bay during the final action of the half. Once more the goal owed much to the skill and precision of Hazard, and the beneficiary this time was Diego Costa. The striker made no mistake with his one-on-one finish across the keeper, so we headed to the dressing room 3-1 up.
Cesc Fabregas for Matic was the solitary Chelsea change when the teams re-emerged. The 37-year-old Pizarro’s outing also came to an end.
Diego Costa couldn’t quite turn in a dangerous low Willian cross in the opening moments of the second period, and Ivanovic was the next player unable to capitalise on another great delivery from the winger. His blushes were spared by an offside flag.
Twice Diego Costa was a fraction away from adding a fourth after getting a clear sight of goal; twice Hazard had picked him out. Oscar then really should have got his second when Fabregas cleverly slipped him through, but he dithered allowing Wiedwald to block.
We were punished for our profligacy midway through the half. Pizarro’s replacement Lennart Thy had time to turn and shoot from outside the box and his effort was perfectly placed into Courtois’ bottom-right corner.
With 20 minutes to play Conte introduced Pedro, Victor Moses and Michy Batshuayi for Hazard, Willian and Diego Costa respectively. Batshuayi nearly got his name on the scoresheet immediately, denied only by Weidwald’s outstretched foot. Three more subs followed, Michael Hector, Ola Aina and Loftus-Cheek on, a limping JT one of those withdrawn. The skipper had taken a couple of knocks at either end of the pitch.
Batshuayi came close to a fourth and then Pedro did put a full stop on proceedings in the final minute, slotting home from inside the box. It was the perfect end to a good afternoon for the Blues. We now await the start of the competitive season with excitement and intrigue.
Chelsea (4-1-4-1): Courtois (Begovic 82); Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry (c) (Hector 77), Azpilicueta (Aina 75); Kante (Chalobah 82); Willlian (Moses 70), Oscar (Loftus-Cheek 75), Matic (Fabregas h/t), Hazard (Pedro 70); Diego Costa (Batshuayi 70).
Unused subs Blackman, Traore, Cuadrado.
Scorers Hazard 7, Oscar 9, Diego Costa 45, Pedro 90
Booked Matic 32
Werder Bremen (4-4-2): Wiedwald; Sternberg, Moisander (Diagne 56), Caldirola, Guwara; Bartels, Junuzovic, Fritz (c), Yatabare (Kainz); Kruse (J.Eggestein 89), Pizarro (Thy h/t).
Unused subs Drobny, Hajrovic, Garcia, M.Eggestein, Frode.
Scorers Pizarro 33, Thy 65
Booked Fritz 69