Tayfun Korkut takes charge of Bayer 04 Leverkusen for the first time in Friday's Matchday 24 curtain-raiser, though in-form SV Werder Bremen promise to make it a testing debut (kick-off 20:30CET/19:30GMT).
Last weekend's 6-2 defeat to Borussia Dortmund spelled the end of Roger Schmidt's near-three-year reign on the banks of the Rhine. In his stead, former Hannover 96 and 1. FC Kaiserslautern man Korkut has the arduous task of pushing the team up from tenth — 11 points off the top four —and into contention for a finish that guarantees European football next season.
Korkut would have been more optimistic had his new team met Bremen a month ago. Alexander Nouri's men have struck a rich vein of form since, however, and last weekend's 2-0 win over Darmstadt was their third straight victory, helping ease the Green-Whites two points clear of the relegation play-off and a healthy seven ahead of the bottom two.
- Thirty points after 23 matches is Leverkusen’s lowest return at this juncture since 2002/03 (26 points).
- Bayer have already suffered more defeats (11) than in the entirety of last season (ten).
- It is 42 years since Leverkusen last conceded so many goals after 23 matches (38).
- Bremen have won three matches in a row for the first time in two years.
- Werder have won their last three competitive meetings with Leverkusen.
- Serge Gnabry has scored nine goals in ten away Bundesliga matches this season.