bundesliga.com previews some of the day's encounters...
SV Werder Bremen - TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
If history is anything to go by then goals are guaranteed at the Weser-Stadion on Saturday afternoon when Bremen host Hoffenheim.
In the sides’ 12 Bundesliga meetings to date an astonishing 46 goals have been scored - an average of 3.83 per game. And after fighting back from two down to draw 2-2 away to Hertha Berlin last week, the hosts will be confident of maintaining their good form against coach Markus Gisdol’s men: Bremen are unbeaten in six matches at home to the Sinsheim club, winning four and drawing two, but coach Robin Dutt has urged his side not to be complacent. “Hoffenheim are very strong. They play good football and are a side I expect to see high up the table,” he said.
The visitors have several injury worries ahead of their trip north. Kevin Volland and Jin-Su Kim are both doubtful due to back and shoulder trouble respectively, while Pirmin Schwegler is short of match fitness. Nevertheless, Gisdol believes his side are “in good shape and have cover in a lot of positions.” As to whether his team - renowned for having a leaky backline last term - would be able to keep another clean sheet as they did in the 2-0 triumph over FC Augsburg on Matchday 1, Gisdol said: “We’ll have to wait and see what happens in the next ten games before I can comment.”
Hamburger SV - SC Paderborn 07
Statistically speaking it will be an extra-special occasion at the Imtech Arena this weekend as Hamburg - the Bundesliga’s only ever-present side - take on top-flight debutants Paderborn for the first time in league competition.
Both began the 2014/15 season with draws last week, with HSV having to settle for a goalless stalemate away to this year’s other promoted side 1. FC Köln. “We need to go into this game as if it were a final,” said head coach Mirko Slomka. “That’s the only way we’ll win back our supporters’ trust.” The HSV faithful are still set to turn out in their droves to see their heroes, with almost 52,000 tickets sold for the fixture. Slomka has almost all hands on deck as the hosts pursue a sought-after victory, with just Nicolai Müller, Maximilian Beister and Slobodan Rajkovic certain to miss out.
Paderborn will have taken heart from their 2-2 draw with 1. FSV Mainz 05 last Sunday, when they were just seconds away from recording a historic maiden victory. Yet they could struggle in the attacking department as both Alban Meha and Mahir Saglik are absent through injury this week. “That means we’re missing the people responsible for scoring half our goals last season,” said coach Andre Breitenreiter, who played for Hamburg himself between 1994 and 1997. “We’ll find alternatives though. This is the kind of game where it’s worth giving absolutely everything you’ve got.”
VfB Stuttgart - 1. FC Köln
Armin Veh’s Stuttgart side will be hoping to buck the trend of recent encounters between these two, in which the respective home team have failed to win any of the last 15 meetings (eight away wins and seven draws).
Aside from long-term absentee Mohammed Abdellaoue, the hosts have a full squad to choose from as they chase that target, but Veh is not expected to make any changes from the XI that drew with Borussia Mönchengladbach last week. “We played good football for long periods in Gladbach,” said the 53-year-old coach. “Against Köln we want to show that we can do that again.”
Nevertheless, his Köln counterpart Peter Stöger believes his promoted side can take something from the game at the Mercedes-Benz Arena. “We observed them in Gladbach,” said the Austrian tactician. “In the first half especially they were very strong. It’ll be tough but we believe we saw a few things we can take advantage of.” One of the key players earmarked to hurt their hosts is Japanese attacker Yuya Osako, who impressed in the Billy Goats’ match against Hamburg last week.