Cause an upset against the league leaders

Match preview ahead of trip to face Bayer 04 Leverkusen

Marvin Ducksch taking a shot.
Werder's Marvin Ducksch will be on the hunt for more goals to add to his tally this weekend (Photo: W.DE).
preliminary report
Saturday, 13.04.2024 / 15:30

It's shaping up to be a big weekend in Leverkusen. Should FC Bayern and VfB Stuttgart both lose at home on Saturday, then Bayer 04 Leverkusen would need to take just a point off SV Werder Bremen on Sunday evening (14.04.2024, 17:30 CEST) in order to be crowned Bundesliga champions for the first time in club history. But, the Green-Whites will be making the trip hoping to spoil the party with the help of a hard-fought performance at the BayArena.

Team news: Head coach Ole Werner will be without several players on Sunday. Anthony Jung, Marco Friedl (both serving yellow-card suspensions) and Jens Stage (red card) are all unable to feature. Niklas Stark, Justin Njinmah and Amos Pieper are all out with ankle injuries and will therefore not travel to Leverkusen. Jiri Pavlenka (muscle issue) and Skelly Alvero (shoulder) are also injured and unavailable for selection.

Ole Werner on the game: "We're playing against the best team in Germany. Leverkusen are a top-quality team in all areas and they are able to showcase this on the pitch. Although it's been a while since their last defeat, we're going into the game with the aim of taking our chances and causing an upset against the league leaders.

Will Veljkovic score again?

Previous meetings: This weekend marks the 98th time that Werder and Leverkusen will face off in the Bundesliga, with the Green-Whites triumphing 35 times to the Werkself's 27 (D35). Xabi Alonso's side came away with a 3-0 win at the wohninvest WESERSTADION the last time the two teams met back on matchday 12 of this season. The most recent match in Leverkusen ended in a 1-1 draw on matchday 7 of 2022/23, with centre-back Milos Veljkovic netting the equaliser for SVW in the 83rd minute. The Serb was on the scoresheet last weekend as well, in a 1-1 draw against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Dangerous set pieces: Both of Werder's last two goals have come from dead-ball situations. Milos Veljkovic scored a tap-in following a free kick in Frankfurt, while Mitchell Weiser netted off a corner away at Union Berlin. Both set pieces were delivered by Marvin Ducksch, who has been responsible for nine successful set pieces this term. However, Leverkusen have proven strong at defending set plays so far this term, conceding a league low nine times from dead balls.

It's only over when the final whistle goes: One of the reasons Leverkusen have been able to maintain their record-breaking run of 42 games without defeat is due to the many late goals they have scored. The Werkself have netted 18 goals from the 80th minute onwards, as was most recently the case in the first leg of their Europa League quarterfinal clash with West Ham. Jonas Hofmann (83') and Victor Boniface (90'+1) both found the back of the net late on in a 2-0 win for Alonso's side.

 

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