Ready for the challenge

Match preview ahead of the clash against Bayer Leverkusen

Romano Schmid on the ball.
The game against Leverkusen will be a real test for Werder Bremen (Photo: WERDER.DE).
preliminary report
Friday, 24.11.2023 / 15:00

It won’t be easy, but anything is possible with self-belief and willpower. SV Werder Bremen will need to remain unfazed by the prospect of playing against the league leaders when they host Bayer 04 Leverkusen on Saturday (15:30 CET). Instead, SVW should have confidence in their own ability and bring all their quality to the table during the match. The Green-Whites are on a good run of form at the moment. They’re unbeaten in their last three Bundesliga games against strong teams like Eintracht Frankfurt and they’ll be looking to extend this streak against Leverkusen.

Team news: Ole Werner wasn’t at Thursday’s press conference due to illness and director of football Clemens Fritz took his place. Fritz said that Nicolai Rapp was still struggling with foot problems. He added that Naby Keïta illness will be monitored over the next few days. The rest of the squad are fit for Saturday’s game.

Clemens Fritz on the opposition: “It will definitely be a huge challenge against Leverkusen. They barely give you room to breathe and are really good in transition. We’re going to need a lot of confidence and courage. We’ve got to play our brand of football and try to put our stamp on the game.” Fritz went on to stress that the team needed to be switched on from the word go against the league leaders.

Getting better and better

Long balls: Leverkusen are the best passers in the league, with 7,137 total passes and an overall accuracy of 90.2%. However, SVW have the upper hand as far as long balls are concerned. The Green-Whites have played 302 successful long passes, the second-best tally in the league behind Borussia Dortmund (349). In the game against Union Berlin, a long ball forward from Milos Veljkovic led to Marvin Ducksch scoring a wonder goal. 

Leading from the front: Werder have picked up momentum as the season has progressed. SVW have scored two goals in each of their past three games, winning once (against Union Berlin) and sharing the points on two occasions (against Wolfsburg and Frankfurt). The Green-Whites’ strike partnership is also starting to click. Top scorer Marvin Ducksch has bagged in Werder’s last three games and summer arrival Rafael Borré has started to hit his stride with two goals in his last two games. Dead-ball scenarios will be key, as five of SVW’s 18 goals have come from set-pieces, an area where the Werkself’s defence has struggled.

Head-to-head record: Saturday’s game will be the 85th time that Werder have played against Leverkusen in the Bundesliga. The games tend to be a fierce contest and the honours have been even on 34 occasions. Leverkusen have come out on top in 23 games, whereas Werder have been victorious 27 times. However, Werder haven’t beaten the Werkself since matchday 26 of the 2018/19 season, when the Green-Whites ran out as 3-1 winners thanks to a goal from Milot Rashica and a Max Kruse brace. Leon Bailey got Leverkusen’s goal.

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