Werder play in the Monday night Bundesliga fixture against FC Köln this week. The match will kick off in the Weserstadion at 20:30 CET. For Werder, the game represents an opportunity to take a huge step towards survival in the relegation battle and to win their third home game in a row. For the guests, who currently sit last in the Bundesliga and eight points away from safety, the game is equally as important. Green-White fans should look forward to a tough-fought battle under the lights in the Weserstadion.
Previous encounters: It was one of those games where neither side managed to find the back of the net, no matter how hard they tried. The fixture between the two sides in the first half of the season was not short of chances but finished 0-0. The game in the second half of last season however, made up for the lack of goals in the last game. After just half an hour the team from Cologne found themselves 2-0 up only for Fin Bartels and Theodor Gebre Selassie, with a goal apiece, drew the Green-Whites level before half time. After the break it was Köln who got off to the better start and went 4-2 up. Werder fought back, with Serge Gnabry scoring just after the hour mark to make for a tense end to the game but unfortunately, Werder could not get that all-important equalising goal and had to accept the 4-3 defeat.
Florian Kohfeldt on the game: “We are preparing for an opponent that is by no means done this season. Köln will throw everything at us and we need to be ready for that,” explained head coach Kohfeldt. They will be expecting a motivated opponent but Werder will also be motivated in their own preparation for the game. “Training has been great so far this week. The boys have been putting in the hard yards and have been battling it out for places. Köln have played with a few different styles recently, so it’s hard to say exactly how they will line up on Monday night. What is clear however, is how strong they are on the counter. They have a lot of pace on the wings with players like Risse and Hector, a good target man in Terodde and when Claudio joins the party, he can unlock games with his passes, so we know they have a lot of quality in their side,” said Kohfeldt. Nevertheless, the deciding factor in the game will of course be how the two sides approach the game. “You can’t say now what kind of a game it will be but if we bring our quality out onto the pitch then we know we can be dominant in a closed-off game as well as a very open one,” explained Kohfeldt with a positive attitude before the game in Bremen.
The coach has a lot of choice: “We have a lot of choice at the minute,” said Kohfeldt in the pre-match press conference, talking about the squad news. Apart from the long-term injured players, the head coach is able to call upon the rest of the squad. Even Milot Rashica who had to miss Wednesday’s training due to a slight thigh problem, is back in contention.
Five players to be cautious: Five Werder players will have to be wary for the game against Köln, as they are currently just one yellow away from a suspension. Thomas Delaney, Niklas Moisander, Robert Bauer, Florian Kainz and Philipp Bargfrede are those players.
The Referee: Benjamin Brand will be in charge for the game on Monday night. The 28-year-old has been a top league referee since 2015 and has been in charge of a total of 33 games. The last Werder game he was in charge of was the 2-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in the first half of this season. His assistants will be Dr. Martin Thomsen and Michael Emmer as linesmen, fourth official will be Jan Seidel and video referees will be Dr. Robert Kampka and Johann Pfeifer.
Off to the Weserstadion: The closing game of matchday 26 is sure to be a cracker. Werder are looking for their third home victory in a row. Come on you Green-Whites!