Staying compact

Preview to the game in Hoffenheim

Werder want to get the three points with 3,800 Green-Whites fans behind them (Photo: nordphoto).
preliminary report
Thursday, 09.05.2019 // 17:21 Uhr

There are still fairytale stories in football! Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur qualified for the Champions League final this week, despite the fact that they both had to battle back against the odds. "You can learn something from these games. You should never give up," said Florian Kohfeldt. Werder's next game is away to TSG Hoffenheim on Saturday. The Green-Whites want to get into Europe. To do that, they need to win their last two games of the season: "We want to still have the opportunity to quality for Europe on the final day of the season," added Kohfeldt.

Squad news: "It's looking good with Theodor Gebre Selassie. He'll train with the team today," said Florian Kohfeldt ahead of the game. However, there are two unfortunate bits of news: Philipp Bargfrede and Fin Bartels are both out for the rest of the season. "That's the end of it," said Kohfeldt. Niklas Moisander should be back in the squad following his suspension, but Davy Klaassen is out suspended due to five yellow cards.

Theodor Gebre Selassie made it 1-1 in the game in Bremen earlier this season (Photo: nordphoto).

Last meeting: In the previous fixture this season, the two sides drew 1-1, but Werder will have felt that they could have won the game but for some poor finishing. The game was full of attrative, offensive football. Nico Schulz set up Leonardo Bittencourt to score the opener before Theo Gebre Selassie hit the bar with a header just before the break. The right-back then got a second bite at the cherry in the second half and scored a deserved equaliser from a Ludwig Augustinsson cross. Unfortunately, Werder couldn't do enough to get all three points at home.


The boss on the game: "They're a team that don't do anything but give their all. They've changed their game from last season and they're more physical when attacking," said Kohfeldt. Players like Adam Szalai, Ishak Belfodil and Joelinton are physically strong and are backed up by "a midfield good at playing the ball." "They want to use the room, go forward with pace and play physically," added Kohfeldt. The Werder head coach can see an opportunity based on how Hoffenheim defend: "They often mark man-to-man, so it's possible for us to find room." It looks like it'll be a great clash on Saturday afternoon. Florian Kohfeldt finished by saying that the key is "being compact, as boring as that sounds. It's not about winning crazily, it's about being clever."

The opponents: The game is TSG head coach Julian Nagelsmann's last in front of his home fans. "I wouldn't underestimate this factor. Julian has taken the team to a whole new level. There's the impetus for them to really make the stadium take off on Saturday." Julian Nagelsmann is set to join RB Leipzig at the end of the season and will want to leave by leading Hoffenheim into Europe. To do that, the side are in direct competition with Werder. TSG are currently eighth in the table with 51 points, and it's still possible for them to qualify for the Champions League next season. Werder can't achieve this anymore, but they have their own goals in mind.

Ishak Belfodil has 15 goals and five assists in 26 games for Hoffenheim this season (Photo: nordphoto).

Key player: Ishak Belfodil has been important for Hoffenheim since signing from Werder last summer. The Algerian scored four goals in 26 games for the Green-Whites last season and left for TSG. The striker has had a breakthrough season in the Bundesliga this year, scoring 15 goals in 26 games and getting five assists. Werder's defence will already be familiar with the forward and that could be important come the weekend.

The officials: Bastian Dankert will referee the game. The last Werder game that he took charge of was the 1-1 draw in Freiburg earlier this season. The linesmen are René Rohde and Markus Häcker. The fourth official is Christian Leicher. The video assistant referees are Bibiana Steinhaus and Alexander Sather.



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