Willingness, not luck; commitment, not caution; win, don’t lose. The task facing Werder ahead of Friday evening ‘s 20:30 CET kickoff is clear: beat Fortuna Düsseldorf and carry on pushing for the European places. Their opponents find themselves bottom of the Bundesliga, but will nonetheless be challenging adversaries in the Weser-Stadion. Read on to find out why tomorrow’s game will be no mere walkover for Florian Kohfeldt and his players.
Last time out: Werder last welcomed Düsseldorf to the Weser-Stadion six years ago. On the 12th matchday of the 2012/13 season, Werder won 2-1 at home, with Nils Petersen and Kevin De Bruyne scoring in a second half comeback for the Green-Whites. The game before that was a 2-2 draw, with Werder being forced to comeback twice. Goals from Zlatko Junuzovic (after a great assist from De Bruyne) and an own goal forced by Marko Arnautovic meant Werder returned home with a point.
The squad: Ludwig Augustinsson, Yuya Osako and Claudio Pizarro, who were ill during the week, returned to training on Thursday. It will be decided on Friday whether they will make an appearance or not. Florian Kohfeldt will be without Niklas Moisander (suspended) and Milos Velijkovic (muscle strain). The coach has been forced to make changes as a result, potentially changing formation tomorrow, as well as confirming that Josh Sargent will be in the matchday squad for the first time.
The boss on the game: Kohfeldt expects to come up against a Düsseldorf side that will look counter. It’s also worth highlighting that “Düsseldorf have two very tall full backs. That means that we must decide when we want to defend from the front and when we’ve got to play a staggered line,” said the Werder coach. Moreover, Düsseldorf’s defence will be fundamentally well prepared, because “they always react well to the opponent in hand”. For Werder, Sebastian Langkamp and Marco Friedl are most likely to fill in at the core of the defence. “That’s an area that a coach doesn’t enjoy changing, but I’d like to emphasise that we have two fast centre backs in Marco and Basti, which is a disadvantage for opponents wanting to play on the counter,” explains Kohfeldt. Even more important on Friday is being very lively – “from minute one.”
Statistics: The two sides have met 44 times in the Bundesliga, with SVW winning 19 of them. Werder have won 13 of these wins at home, and are unbeaten in their last ten games against Fortuna. There have been an average of 3.36 goals in matches between Werder and Fortuna.
Their opponents: Fortuna Düsseldorf come to the Weserstadion bottom of the table with only nine points. They have the second worst defensive record having conceded 29 goals. However, Düsseldorf have recently improved, having beaten Hertha 4-1 and drawing 3-3 with Bayern München. The team from the Rhein are a threat going forward, as they have scored at least once in each of their last nine games. In Dodi Lukebakio, Fortuna have a danger man who will be able to cause the Werder defence many problems.