Munich - Old friends turn foes in Bremen, injury-hit Schalke look to turn the lights out in Braunschweig and three Japanese stars vie for supremacy on Saturday afternoon in the Bundesliga (kick-off 15:30 CEST).
SV Werder Bremen - SC Freiburg
SV Werder Bremen coach Robin Dutt may have passed the baton on to SC Freiburg’s current general Christian Streich, but that, he says, is all his successor on the Freiburg bench is getting. Gifts of any sort are prohibited when the two sides meet at the Weser Stadion on Saturday.
“I had a very special time in Freiburg,” said Dutt. “It was not only very successful sportingly, but it was also beautiful privately. I made plenty of new friends and acquaintances. They were my most beautiful years in football.” Dutt led the Baden-Württemberg club into the top flight in 2010, and they have remained their ever since with Streich taking over from Markus Sorg midway through the 2011/12 campaign.
'We've got to win'
“Christian’s a football expert,” added Dutt. “He’s a Freiburger through and through. We worked together exceedingly well for four years and it was great working in that team together. But come kick-off on Saturday, all of that will be forgotten. A win on Saturday would do us good and it’s a game we’re going to give all we’ve got to win.” So too are Freiburg, who have yet to savour victory so far this season.
To help their cause, and are both on the verge of making their debuts. “It’s possible they will travel with us to Bremen,” said Streich. “I can’t wait to get into action, the break’s been longer than expected,” said summer recruit Darida. The Czech duo would be welcomed into the team by open arms, according to compatriot . “I hope it works out,” he said. “You can see in training what quality they have.”
Eintracht Braunschweig - FC Schalke 04
Without Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Timo Hildeband and Jermaine Jones, FC Schalke 04 nevertheless want to return from Braunschweig with the full bounty on Saturday.
They travel to a city electrified by a 2-0 victory at VfL Wolfsburg a fortnight ago, but Royal Blues coach Jens Keller has just the remedy for that. “We’ve just got to pull their plug out,” he said. “We’re going there to win. We want to take the euphoria away from Braunschweig.”
'We'll give everything'
Christian Clemens, who should start given the long injury list, has already scored against Braunschweig for his former club 1. FC Köln and he would have nothing against doing so again. “We’re going to be well prepared,” he said. “Our aim is to win, and we’ll give everything for it.”
Topping the jubilation of picking up a first Bundesliga win of the season in your local rivals’ back yard takes some doing, but Eintracht’s central defender Ermin Bicakcic did just that on Tuesday. He was part of the Bosnia-Herzegovina side which sealed an historic first ever qualification for a FIFA World Cup. “It was a very hard job which cost a lot of energy and nerves,” he said. “But it’s incredible, for me and for my country. It’s slowly sinking in that we’re part of Bosnian history.”
Eintracht Frankfurt - 1. FC Nürnberg
1. FC Nürnberg will be looking to get their season up and running while they wait for a new coach to be appointed with a trip to Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
Following Michael Wiesinger’s dismissal in the wake of a 5-0 defeat to Hamburger SV, Roger Prinzen guides the flailing Franconians into their Matchday 9 encounter with a plan he has been working on night and day since learning he would fill the coaching void in the interim.
Far Eastern showdown
“I’ve been studying our opponents in depth every evening since Monday,” he said. “We’re going to need a mixture of motivation and tactics.” Perhaps a bit of luck wouldn't go amiss either. Der Club have scored just nine league goals so far this season, despite Japan international Hiroshi Kiyotake setting up 34 chances.
Compatriot Takashi Inui will be looking to get one over him, however. An inspiration for the Eagles last season, he has yet to take off in 2013/14, but what a better time to do so than in the limelight against Kiyotake and Makoto Hasebe on Saturday. Since the arrival of Tranquillo Barnetta in the summer, Inui has seen his chances reduced, but according to coach Armin Veh “Tranquillo has sharpened the competition for places, and this does the team good.”