bundesliga.com previews Saturday afternoon's Matchday 10 clashes (kick-offs: 15.30 CET/14.30 GMT)...
1. FSV Mainz 05 - SV Werder Bremen
After a first defeat of the season against VfL Wolfsburg last time out, Mainz coach Kasper Hjulmand is demanding improvement from his charges when they face a Bremen side under new stewardship. "We’ve got to be better tactically," said the Nullfünfers’ Danish coach, citing that Bremen will come out with "renewed energy".
With Julian Baumgartlinger set to miss out, Hjulmand must find a partner for the talented Johannes Geis in holding midfield, while after four games without scoring, the onus is on Shinji Okazaki to rediscover his golden touch in front of goal.
Skripnik's Bundesliga bow
New Bremen coach and club legend Viktor Skripnik, who lifted the Bundesliga title with Bremen in 2004, meanwhile, claimed in his pre-match press conference that "everyone wants to be involved and it won’t be easy to make a decision [on who starts]".
The 44-year-old will be without the services of Clemens Fritz and Eljero Elia for his first Bundesliga assignment after a over Chemnitzer FC in midweek. "Bremen has always stood for eye-catching, attractive football," the Ukrainian told mainz05.de, although his first job is to lift the club with the league’s leakiest backline off the foot of the table.
Hannover 96 - Eintracht Frankfurt
Hannover are looking to end a mixed week on a high when welcoming Eintracht Frankfurt, who have lost three on the bounce, to the HDI-Arena. Having beaten Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 9 thanks to Hiroshi Kiyotake’s free-kick, Tayfun Korkut’s men then to Bundesliga 2 outfit VfR Aalen in midweek.
"The way we played in Aalen was very disappointing," stated FIFA World Cup-winning goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler, "particularly because we’d shown such passion and fight a few days before against Dortmund." Marius Stankevicius will be absent for the 96ers, although club captain Lars Stindl did return to training this week.
Schaaf: 'We've got to improve'
Eintracht Frankfurt also got knocked out of the Cup, at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach, while back-to-back Bundesliga defeats to SC Paderborn 07 and VfB Stuttgart have seen the Eagles plummet to 11th in the table. In the absence of Haris Seferovic, 31-year-old Alexander Meier, the league’s joint-top scorer with six goals, will be expected to maintain his current form, despite missing the Gladbach defeat with a thigh problem.
Scoring goals, however, hasn't been the problem for Frankfurt, it has been their shaky defensive displays which have head coach Thomas Schaaf worried. "We've got to improve in this area," he explained. "It's nothing new and we've been working on it for weeks." Indeed, after conceding three against Paderborn and five against Stuttgart, Schaaf has his work cut out.