Strugglers Gladbach and Bremen meet in a potential pressure-cooker.
With just six points from eight matches, Gladbach have the Bundesliga’s worst defensive record, are a point away from dropping into the relegation zone, and are rapidly approaching a crisis.
After going ahead early against Hoffenheim last week, die Fohlen suffered a complete meltdown. Juan Arango was dismissed for a mindless act of violence, and later, Sebastian Schachten was also sent off before Gladbach ultimately lost 3-2.
Heading into Saturday’s match against Bremen, Arango and Schachten will join Roel Brouwers among the fit, but suspended first team players unavailable. Coach Michael Frontzeck was quick to minimise expectations for his team’s performance, and praised Bremen for their individual quality, despite the absence of injured goalkeeper Tim Wiese.
“Bremen are, in my eyes, the best German team in general,” the former Germany international said. “They have so many good players and their squad is set up for the Champions league so even the replacement for Tim Wiese will have quality.”
Frontzeck admitted that the losses of his suspended trio, plus several other injured stars, will make the match especially difficult.
“We’re definitely up against it,” he said before adding defiantly, “but irrespective of that, the team is giving me the impression that they want to win it, that they believe in it and that they want to be rewarded for their efforts at last.”
Werder Keen To Make Up For Lost Time
Werder Bremen had to come back from a goal behind in Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Twente, but the hard-to-shut-out Hanseaten managed to earn a draw. Their result marked the fourth match in all competitions that Bremen have gone without defeat.
As they prepare for this weekend’s match, Thomas Schaaf’s men remain ten points off Bundesliga leaders Dortmund and Mainz, however. After a dismal start to the campaign, Werder now need to make up ground, and will have to play at an exceptionally high level if they are to qualify for the Champions League for a second consecutive season.
“We need to get going and make up for the points we have not been able to take,” coach Thomas Schaaf said in a pre-match press conference.
Schaaf also made sure to note that Bremen will not underestimate their opponents.
“Despite their personnel problems, we must be careful to quickly lock away this game.”
While they are ten points off the lead, to their benefit, Werder are just four adrift of third place, and could make a large step up the table with a victory on Saturday.
Due to suspensions to Roel Brouwers, Sebastian Schachten, and Juan Arango, plus injuries to Christian Dorda, Jean Sebastian Jaures, Karim Matmour and Tony Jantschke, coach Michael Frontzeck will have to dig deep into his reserves. Anderson and Jens Wissing are expected to deputise in defence, with Mohamadou Idrissou filling in on the left wing. Up front, Igor de Camargo is tipped to partner Raul Bobadilla, but Patrick Herrmann could start in place of the Brazilian.
Probable Starting XI: Bailly - Levels, Anderson, Daems, Wissing - Reus, Marx, Bradley, Idrissou - de Camargo - Bobadilla
Goalkeeper Tim Wiese injured his knee in midweek, and due to the absence of Christian Vander, who is also sidelined, Sebastian Mielitz will start in goal. Sebastian Boenisch and Naldo also remain out with injuries. Thomas Schaaf has a bit of a selection dilemma; though he is expected to start Claudio Pizarro, the Peruvian is only just recovering from a muscular injury and may be replaced by Marko Arnautovic.
Probable Starting XI: Mielitz - Fritz, Mertesacker, Proedl, Pasanen - Frings - Wesley, Hunt, Marin - Almeida, Pizarro