Werder Bremen 1
Aberdeen produced a fine performance in Germany this evening and only a lapse in concentration cost them the chance of a draw. The Dons lined up 4-3-3 with Brown in goal, a back four of Osbourne, Anderson, Considine and Magennis. Jack, Hughes and Rae were in midfield with McGinn through the middle and Hayes and Pawlett either side. The crowd was upwards of 8,000 as the game kicked off in warm sunshine. After a very slow start Hayes picked the ball up on the half way line and elected to shoot. The keeper was miles off his line and struggling to get back but to his relief the shot just went wide. Minutes later the keeper was under pressure again when the ball was passed back to him and McGinn was on top of him within seconds. Mielitz showed good foot work to clear.
A Werder corner was well cleared at the front post by Anderson, but the pace of the match was still slow with both teams feeling the heat. The match then burst into life in the 10th minute with a decent chance for the home side. A clever ball was played inside Magennis to find Gebre Selassie. However the shot was comfortably held by Brown and a minute later McGinn set up Hayes, but his shot from distance went inches wide. The home side then went up the park and created a better chance. Petersen, who is on loan from Bayern Munich, was played in behind Osbourne. He placed his shot across Brown, but it just went past his far post.
In the 15th minute Arnautovic broke free on the right side of the box rather too easily. He looked to be in a great position to score, but decided to try and square the ball inside. The Dons defence were grateful as he passed to Anderson who was able to clear. Considine then did well to cover back but at the expense of a corner. Junuzovic then shot from the edge of the area, but it was easily held by Brown . The home side were beginning to control the match and in the 23rd minute Arnautovic put in a good cross from the left and a Petersen header crashed off the bar.
Seconds later though Bremen went ahead when Hughes was caught in possession. Elia had the simplest of tasks of rounding the stranded Brown and placing the ball into the net. On the half hour mark a nasty challenge took out both Pawlett and Jack with the latter looking to be in trouble. Thankfully both were able to carry on after treatment and it was a welcome water break for the rest of the players. The teams then exchanged free kicks with McGinn curling one just wide and at the other end Fritz did the same. Considine then made an excellent last ditch tackle to deny Selassie. The Dons were trying to play balls down the channels for Hayes McGinn and Pawlett to chase and in the 42nd minute they won their first corner. Hayes sent over a fine delivery and the keeper, who had not looked the best, punched clear with Magennis in close attention.
Craig Brown made two changes at the interval as Vernon replaced Pawlett and Naysmith came on for Hughes. The Dons reverted to 4-4-2 with Osbourne moving into the middle of the park, Magennis moved over to right back and Vernon went upfront to partner McGinn with Hayes wide left. Five minutes after the restart Hayes won a free kick after a good run. A decent ball was played in and Considine at the back post won the header but didn't get a clean contact on it . Minutes later Jack almost played in McGinn as Aberdeen looked much better in the 4-4-2 formation.
There was another good chance for the home side when Elia beat Magennis down the left. With Josh pulled out of position Elia pinged a good ball across the face of goal. Full back Selassie ghosted in but Naysmith did just enough to distract him and his shot went into the side netting. Fraser replaced Magennis as Jack stepped back to right back with Fraser taking his place in left midfield. The Dons were beginning to enjoy some good possession and looking quite comfortable at this stage.
A slick move from the home side allowed Arnautovic a shot at goal and the low shot at Browns near post was well saved by the keeper. Prodl was booked for a challenge on Ryan Fraser and from the free kick the Dons produced a move from the training ground. Hayes chipped it to Fraser but his cross was just a little over hit. On the hour mark the Dons almost gifted a second goal but thankfully the shot by Hunt was deflected wide. Fraser then put in a superb ball which almost found Vernon and despite being up against a top German side the Dons have kept their shape well.
Hayes was harshly booked for a challenge on Elia then in the 68th minute Milsom replaced Rae. Brown then made two good saves from sub Fullkrug as he first dived bravely at the feet of the striker then quickly narrowing the angle and block the second. Megginson replaced Hayes in the 70th minute and two minutes later Fallon came on for McGinn. In between the Dons almost levelled when a Fraser cross was met by Vernon allowing Megginson a chance at the back post but his shot was blocked. Fraser once again impressed.
Aberdeen carved out another chance when Naysmith and Fraser, who have been rooming together this week, linked up. Vernon picked the ball up but was dispossessed on the edge of the area as he was about to shoot. Clark then replaced Osbourne in the 83rd minute. The game petered out, but Brown had one more good save before the end. A very good performance and apart from one lapse in concentration the Dons matched a top German side and must take confidence from this. The crowd was a respectable 8,500 which included a 30-strong travelling support.
Werder Bremen: Mielitz, Arnautovic, Fritz, Elia, Schmitz, Hunt, Prodl, Junuzovic, Sokratis, Gebre Selassie, Petersen
Aberdeen : Brown, Osbourne, Anderson, Considine, Magennis, Jack, Hughes, Rae, Hayes, McGinn, Pawlett.
Subs: Langfield, Vernon, Milsom, Megginson, Low, Brown, Naysmith, Clark, Paton, Fallon, Shaughnessy, Frazer.
Reaction: The Manager's reaction to tonights pre-season defeat to Werder Bremen is on RedTV now along with an interview with Scott Vernon.