bundesliga.com is here to bring you up to speed with news from both camps ahead of the Weser-Stadion showdown…
Having picked up just a point from the last 15 on offer, winless Werder have their backs up against a wall. “We all owe each other a victory,” admitted head coach Robin Dutt. With Bremen desperate to bounce back from last weekend’s 6-0 humbling in Munich, visitors Köln, high on confidence after beating Borussia Dortmund, pose difficult opposition.
Dutt was coy in discussing his possible first eleven for Friday’s fixture, but could have a first-team regular back at his disposal as Theodor Gebre Selassie appears to be on the verge of making his first appearance of the season after training “without problems”. Santiago Garcia (pictured), meanwhile, has claimed to be “pain free” after taking “precautionary measures” last Sunday.
Billy Goats boss Peter Stöger made two changes to his starting line-up in the 2-1 triumph over Dortmund, with Dominic Maroh and Yuya Osako missing out. However, while Osako may have to settle for a place on the bench for a second week running, Maroh, now fully recovered from a cold, is expected to reclaim his place at the heart of defence.
Werder have been desperate for a consistent source of goals since the days of Claudio Pizarro and Miroslav Klose. With their backline conceding at an alarming rate, the pressure is on Franco di Santo, the club’s top scorer with four efforts, to maintain his early-season form. “We’re trying to stay positive,” admitted the Argentinian.
There are few better ways to open your Bundesliga account than by grabbing the winner in a triumph at home to Dortmund. Simon Zoller, Stöger’s preferred lone striker, is now hoping it’s the start of things to come. “The win has done us a world of good and settled us,” said the 23-year-old. “In our situation it’s crucial to have positive experiences.”
Robin Dutt (pictured): "Of course we’re feeling the pressure. Our heads are now playing a big role in deciding our fate. We’ve got to quickly win back our spirit on the pitch."
Peter Stöger: "We’re looking at Bremen as a great chance, but even though they’ve lost a lot recently, it won’t be an easy encounter."
Losing four of their last five league outings has left Bremen flailing at the foot of the table, but most concerning is that they’ve conceded just under four goals per game on average after eight outings. Beating BVB ensured Köln had “no need to talk about a decisive match in Bremen”, with the Billy Goats now keen to build on their second win of the season.
On a more positive note for Werder, they’ve remained unbeaten against Köln in their last ten meetings at the Weser-Stadion, winning on seven occasions, including most recently in 2011 when a Claudio Pizarro hat-trick saw them overturn a two-goal half-time deficit. Köln’s last win in Bremen - a 1-0 victory - took place on 1 December 1995.
Bremen: Wolf - Garcia, Caldirola, Prödl, Fritz - Hajrovic, Makiadi, Junuzovic, Bartels - Di Santo, Petersen
1. FC Köln: Horn - Hector, Wimmer, Mavraj, Olkowski - Lehmann, Vogt, Svento, Halfar, Risse - Zoller
Relive the hilarity of 1. FC Köln mascot Hennes VIII cutting loose last season, courtesy of the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: