Sebastian Langkamp is still sidelined, while Milos Veljkovic picked up his fifth yellow card of the season in the 4-2 victory over Schalke and is suspended for the weekend’s trip to Leverkusen. Florian Kohfeldt is therefore putting his trust in centre-back pairing Moisander and Friedl to keep out the Leverkusen attack, a selection that could benefit both, according to Kohfeldt.
Werder’s last encounter with the Werkself brings back bad memories for Green-Whites everywhere, not least for Marco Friedl, who had a dismal game in the 6-2 defeat at the Weserstadion, as did his teammates. For Friedl, Sunday’s game at 13:30 CET is a chance to prove himself. His lack of game time has not resulted in a lack of motivation, and he starts alongside a very experienced defensive leader in Niklas Moisander.
Sunday will be the first time ever that Moisander and Friedl start together at centre back - something both can benefit from. In Kohfeldt’s words, Moisander, who "stabilises and organises the defence while improving those around him," can work together with Friedl, who "possesses a good mix of patience and confidence," to try and keep the ball away from Jiri Pavlenka in the Werder goal. The fact that both defenders are left-footed is not a problem in this light. Kohfeldt has faith in their respective right feet as well, but the spectators on Sunday shouldn’t expect too many diagonal balls to Werder’s left wing.
The new centre-back pairing’s combination of experience and confidence should also benefit the whole team and, best case scenario, lead to three more points on the board for Werder, meaning the gap to Leverkusen in the European spots would be reduced to as many.