Just keep going

Hoffenheim preview
Johannes Eggestein scored the winner in this fixture last season (Photo: nordphoto).
preliminary report
Thursday, 22.08.2019 / 17:56

Florian Kohfeldt has once again proven his unwavering determination to succeed. After undergoing a deep analysis of last week’s defeat to Dusseldorf, the Werder head coach has found plenty of positives in the performance. "It wasn’t all bad against Fortuna, as we never stopped playing the way we want to play," he explained in today’s press conference. Werder have the opportunity to put things right against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on Saturday (24.08.2019, 15:30 CEST).

Squad news: Defeat, Ömer Toprak hospitalized, Milot Rashica and Maximilian Eggestein injured – the Bundesliga opener didn’t go to plan. The medical team at least gave the green light to Werder’s most-recent signing and midfield technician earlier this week, but unfortunately the club’s 2019/20 Player of the Season has suffered a bad injury and will be sidelined for the coming weeks. Head coach Florian Kohfeldt will have to consider other options without Rashica for Saturday’s match against TSG. "It’s not as bad as it could have been. We assume he will be back after the international break," the Werder head coach explained, before given more bad news regarding the fitness of Ludwig Augustinsson, Milos Veljkovic, Sebastian Langkamp and Fin Bartels. Things look particularly bleak for the Swede, with no planned return date in site. However, Kohfeldt is confident that he will field a team "capable of winning against Hoffenheim."

A tough opponent

Werder come up against former players Florian Grillitsch and Ishak Belfodil (Photo: nordphoto).

On the game: TSG Hoffenheim had a difficult time against Würzburg in their DFB-Pokal opener. Despite a comfortable 2-0 lead, Alfred Schreuder’s team were pegged back and eventually needed penalties to progress to the second round. This was followed by an opening-day defeat against Frankfurt, in which they went behind after just 37 seconds – the quickest goal they’ve conceded in their Bundesliga history. But Werder are fully aware of TSG’s quality, as Davy Klaassen, Jiri Pavlenka and now Kohfeldt have all emphasised. "They have an exciting way of playing football. Their playing style has developed over the last few years," believes coach Kohfeldt, who expects a tense match.

The last meeting: Hopes of Europe had faded and been almost banished from the minds of most of the players. Only a win in Sinsheim on the penultimate day of the season would keep Werder mathematically in the race for a Europa League spot. But not only did Kohfeldt’s men have to face a team of Champions League calibre, it was also the final TSG home game for the departing head coach Julian Nagelsmann. But none of that fazed Werder, who took the lead through Johannes Eggestein in the 24th minute and withstood all pressure, not least thanks to a fine goalkeeping display from Jiri Pavlenka, to take all three points back home and keep the flicker of hope alive. A repeat performance on matchday two would certainly go down a treat.