Robin Dutt celebrated his first victory in charge of Bayer Leverkusen as a Michal Kadlec goal was enough to see off Werder Bremen 1-0 at the BayArena. Kadlec scored the decisive goal in the 85th minute to help Leverkusen pick up their first win of the campaign and lift them up to mid-table. Leverkusen coach Dutt sprang a surprise in his team selection by choosing Michael Ballack over Simon Rolfes, even giving the former Germany international the captain's armband.
"It was important for the team to get back to winning, because success makes it easier to work," said Dutt. "Michael asked to be replaced himself and he earned that right after a good performance. We had the perfect solution to the situation: Michael led from the front and Simon provided the goal."
On-loan goalkeeper Bernd Leno was also handed his debut in goal instead of David Yelldell, and he had a rather quiet first 45 minutes as the home side set about making amends for their 2-0 defeat in Mainz last weekend. At the other end, Renato Augusto tested Tim Wiese, who had to be at full stretch to keep Bremen on terms in the 13th minute. Moments later, Leverkusen's Andre Schurrle had the chance to open his account for his new club, but he shot over the crossbar.
Leverkusen were probing, but the next big chance came at the other end where Lennart Thy somehow managed to send Sokratis Papastathopoulos' dangerous cross over the crossbar from close range, although the linesman's flag had been raised and the goal would not have counted anyway. On the stroke of half-time, Stefan Kissling missed the chance to put Bayer ahead when he headed straight at Wiese.
Leverkusen continued to pose the greater threat and a free-kick from Kadlec in the 76th minute almost beat Wiese. But it was Kadlec who scored the decisive goal five minutes from time. His first effort - a header from Gonzalo Castro's corner - was blocked, but he made no mistake with the second bite of the cherry to earn Leverkusen all three points. Eren Derdiyok should have made it a more convincing victory in stoppage time, but he failed to beat Wiese in a one-on-one situation.