Take the hit and move on! SV Werder Bremen will be looking to put last Friday’s defeat behind them and build on their impressive home form of late to get the three points over RB Leipzig. The Green-Whites meet Leipzig in the Weserstadion with the game kicking off at 18:00 CEST. Their opponents will have to turn around quickly having played on Thursday night where their impressive UEFA Europa League campaign came to an end, losing out to Olympique Marseille. Werder therefore will have to make use of their extra preparation time to start fast against the Champions League-hopefuls. Frank Baumann however emphasised Leipzig’s strength in the pre-match press conference, “We are coming up against a very strong and fully focused Leipzig side. We should not be thinking that they are finished by any means,” said the managing director in reference to RBL’s recent downturn in form.
Previous encounters: The game in the first half of the season is best left unmentioned, as Werder travelled to the Red-Bull-Arena only to come away 2-0 losers. Naby Keita fired the home team in front and despite a Werder resurgence in the second half, Bernardo scored just before the full time whistle. Last season’s encounter however should give the Green-Whites hope however as Werder triumphed 3-0. Zlatko Junuzovic’s fabulous opener started Werder’s dominance and they never looked back, as in the second half both Florians, Grillitsch and Kainz got themselves on the scoresheet to top off a wonderful afternoon for the Green-Whites.
Weser stronghold: Under head coach Florian Kohfeldt the Weserstadion has become somewhat of a stronghold for the Green-Whites. Werder are unbeaten in nine games at home, winning six. The last time such a run occurred was way back in 2010 and has gone a long way to ensuring Werder’s safety this season as the Green-Whites currently sit ten points off the playoff place and 14 points off the immediate relegation places. Since the introduction of the 3-point ruling, no team has ever been relegated with such a gap at this late stage in the season. Across the nine games Werder have been unbeaten at home, the boys have only conceded six times, a large part of which is down to keeper Jiri Pavlenka who is having a storming season for between the Green-White posts.
Florian Kohfeldt on the match: The Werder head coach is expecting anything but an easy fixture and is hoping to make this extra preparation time ahead of the game to the full. “We want to implement our game plan right from the off. We want to play with plenty of intensity and let everyone in the stadium know that we’re here to win this game.” Leipzig will travel to Bremen with enormous quality in their squad. “Timo Werner’s tremendous speed is of course cause for concern. He is an outstanding forward and even when he doesn’t play RBL can call upon the likes of Forsberg or Poulsen, which just shows their strength in depth,” said Kohfeldt. “As soon as we get out onto the pitch on Sunday, there is nothing to do but give 100% out there,” confirmed the Green-Whites coach.
Tough week for Leipzig: There are of course many benefits of playing in Europe, but lots of midweek matches takes its toll on the team eventually. While the Green-Whites have played just two matches since the international break, RB have been involved in twice as many matches. "I think it’s an advantage for us that we can prepare for each opponent in peace and in much more detail," claimed Florian Kohfeldt, while warning: "But Leipzig have obviously been in a rhythm for many weeks now." But the burden of all these games seemed to show on Monday night, when Sunday’s guests were beaten 4-1 at home against Leverkusen. Then, on Thursday, they were beaten 5-2 in the Europa League by Marseille. 72 hours later, they will be back in action at the Weserstadion against Kohfeldt’s men.