Wolfsburg - SV Werder Bremen hope to stretch their unbeaten run to five games when they travel to northern rivals VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday evening (kick-off 18:30 CET).
Dutt expecting 'tight match'
Bremen have registered three draws and a win from their four recent outings, but injuries to strikers Nils Petersen and Argentina international Franco Di Santo have left Robin Dutt needing to reshuffle his starting eleven for the Matchday 10 clash, with attacking midfielder one of the options for the lone striker position.
"I can see myself playing as a forward," said Bremen's vice-captain. "I'm quite a versatile player, which means I'm likely to interpret the role differently to a classic number nine. But, as we're missing both our regular forwards, the whole team has to adapt and adjust their game." Youngsters Özkan Yildirim, Melvyn Lorenzen and Martin Kobylanski are also in contention for a starting berth up front.
With both Bremen and Wolfsburg sitting just a point behind sixth-place Borussia Mönchengladbach and a possible place in Europe, Werder head coach Robin Dutt is well aware of the significance of Saturday's encounter at the Volkswagen Arena. "I expect a tight match," the former SC Freiburg boss said at the pre-match press conference. "Wolfsburg have very good individual players. But we'll put in everything to beat them, and I'm confident we'll be able to."
The match will have an added resonance for Wolfsburg's Brazilian defender , playmaker , as well as sporting director Klaus Allofs. The trio spent several years on the banks of the river Weser before moving south-east to join the Wolves. "It's always a special occasion for me to play Werder," said Naldo. "We all have happy memories of Bremen, but we need to be very cautios on Saturday. Werder have quality players like Aaron Hunt, while Ejlero Elia in particular has improved a lot recently."
Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking, who is likely to be without the services of Netherlands forward Bas Dost despite his return to team training, is equally aware of the four-time Bundesliga champions' upturn in form. "Bremen are now more stable than they were last season, especially at the back."
Wolves chasing consecutive wins
Boosted by their first away success of 2013/14 at FC Augsburg last weekend, the Wolves are eager to register their first back-to-back Bundesliga wins since April. "We want to increase the pressure on those around us and are looking to solidify our position between fourth and ninth in the table," said Hecking. "At the moment, everything is very tight and we want to make sure we remain in contention near the top with a win.”
Wolfsburg: Benaglio - Ochs, Naldo, Knoche, Rodriguez - Medojevic, Luiz Gustavo - Arnold, Diego, M. Schäfer - Olic
Bremen: Mielitz - Fritz, Prödl, Caldirola, Garcia - Kroos, Makiadi - Elia, Hunt, Junuzovic - Yildirim
See what Wolfsburg's star midfelder Luiz Gustavo has to say about his career in the Bundesliga so far, as well as his hopes for the Brazilian national team's performance in the upcoming World Cup, courtesy of the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: