14:30 (BST); Saturday 23rd September; Weser-Stadion (Bremen, Germany)
Neither Werder Bremen nor Freiburg have a win to their name entering Week 6 as the pressure increases on both sides.
Freiburg sit in the relegation play-off spot with three points this term, all coming from draws at home whilst their opponents Werder Bremen are in the relegation zone with two draws in their last three matches.
It will be interesting to see who comes out with desire at the Weser-Stadion, a draw just won’t cut it for either side in Week 6.
Last time out
Wolfsburg 1-1 WERDER BREMEN
Werder Bremen made the short journey to Lower Saxony to take on a Wolfsburg side with a new manager. Alexander Nouri’s team didn’t come out with the intensity required for the game in the first half and midway through they were punished.
Paul-Georges Ntep was given too much time to decide, and it was his decisive cross which found Divock Origi for the game’s opener.
However, Bremen responded and 10 minutes into the second half they were back on level terms. Fin Bartels patiently waited for Thomas Delaney’s deflected cross, and Bartels placed his header perfectly, out of the reach of Koen Casteels.
Werder should’ve won the game through Theodor Gebre Selassie but the post, defender or the goalkeeper thwarted the wing back’s efforts.
FREIBURG 1-1 Hannover
Freiburg returned home in midweek to face-off against a Hannover side yet to lose this season.
The hosts started well and created a wealth of chances, the best falling to Mike Frantz, but Philipp Tschauner produced a superb save. Freiburg won a penalty in the second half, but Florian Niederlechner failed to hit the target.
Hannover eventually punished those misses when Niclas Füllkrug found Martin Harnik whose shot just trickled through the hands of Alexander Schwolow, but Freiburg equalised late in the game when super-sub Nils Petersen scored on his return to secure a point for the Black Forest club.
Werder Bremen Lineup
After failing to secure the points in Week 5, the pressure is slowly increasing on Werder Bremen as they need a win on Saturday night.
Lamine Sané has a knee problem and will likely miss with Luca Caldirola coming into the back three. Ishak Belfodil came off the bench and should start alongside Fin Bartels. Jerome Gondorf returns to the bench with Florian Kainz dropping into midfield.
A change of formation last time out saw Freiburg play an interchangeable style, moving from a 4-3-2-1 to a 3-4-3 going forward. This sees Julian Schuster rotate from a defensive midfielder to a centre back.
We expect Freiburg to remain in the Christmas tree formation for the clash with Bremen. One change expected with Pascal Stenzel dropping to the bench for the rested Lukas Kübler.
Key Battle: Çağlar Söyüncü vs Theodor Gebre Selassie
These two aren’t direct opponents but will play a pivotal role in the outcome of this clash on Saturday.
Çağlar Söyüncü was a bargain buy for Freiburg last season as he flew onto the scene as a regular in Christian Streich’s lineup, but a massive drop off in form saw the Turkish defender drop to the bench.
With the injury to Marc-Oliver Kempf, Söyüncü was given a lifeline and so far he has been solid. No Freiburg player won more tackles against Hannover in mid-week than Söyüncü.
Theodor Gebre Selassie was one of the best performers for Bremen last time out, but unfortunately, he wasn’t able to be the match-winner against Wolfsburg. The Czech had an extremely industrious game with 11.68km covered, 30 sprints, 85 runs and four shots on goal.
Playing in a wing-back position, those are excellent numbers, but his inability to finish his chances was the difference between three points and just the one. Can Gebre Selassie be the match winner or will Söyüncü keep the wall firm for Freiburg?
The clock is ticking
Time is slowly running out on both Alexander Nouri and Christian Streich, who both need a win to keep the pressure off their potential departures.
Streich has been with Freiburg since 2012 and is the longest-serving manager of any club in Germany’s top flight, but he’s had a poor start to the season similar to the one that saw them relegated in 2014/15.
Bremen manager Alexander Nouri has been in charge for less than a year and as has been the case in the Bundesliga, the tolerance for managers has decreased significantly. Two points to his name is an issue and another defeat at home could see Nouri receive the chop.
Who wants it more?
This contest will very much come down to desire and who wants to win it more. Both sides produced excellent performances last time out, but failed to capitalise on their dominance and were duly punished by falling behind.
Bremen and Freiburg were both able to come back and secure a point, but there are no excuses this time around. Another defeat for either side will see them in 17th and preparing for a fight to avoid the drop.
PREDICTION: Werder Bremen 1-1 Freiburg
I expect a tense and fierce battle in what is essentially an early relegation six-pointer in Bremen. The sides finished 7th and 8th last season respectively, but that must seem an age away for both sets of supporters who haven’t tasted a Bundesliga victory in some time.
However, I believe the wait will go on as neither side can break away and secure the three points.
Can Werder Bremen finally secure their first win of the campaign or will it be Freiburg who takes the points back to the Black Forest? Let us know in the comments section below.
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