Borussia Dortmund and Werder Bremen may be poles apart in the table when they meet in the Bundesliga on Matchday 28 but in terms of motivation, they will be on a similar page. And the visitors have a real ace up their sleeve.
'Nobody will catch up with me!'
Dortmund's title challenge is still on track with seven games of the season remaining (), and victory on Saturday evening will keep the prospect of one of the tightest title races in recent seasons alive. Werder have other priorities that make them a particular threat, however, and the league table can be no adequate gauge of the dangers Viktor Skripnik's men pose.
Read: Bremen form check
There is more about the Peruvian than just sticking the ball in the back of the net, however. "He's incredible," said Pizarro’s team-mate Jannik Vestergaard. "Claudio's playing on such a high level, but he’s not only important to us because of his goals – Claudio's a great guy on and off the field. It's an honour for all of us to be able to play with him, with all the experience he's got and all the titles he's already won."
Pizarro on the brink
Goals are the most important currency in football, though, and there can be no doubting Pizarro's contribution in 2016 has been significant. His goals have helped Bremen pick up eight points from their last five games with no other side – not even Dortmund or FC Bayern München – scoring as many as the 11 Bremen have netted in that period, at an average of over two per game.
"I think [Pizarro’s] more motivated now than ever to get that 102nd goal," said Skripnik. "Hopefully he can keep this up over the weeks to come." Indeed, that is the auspice of all Bremen fans with just a point separating Die Grün-Weißen from the relegation zone in one of the tightest scrambles for survival in recent seasons.
Dortmund 'incredibly consistent'
Read: Borussia Dortmund form check
Although the goals have dried up a little for Aubameyang, Dortmund are now spreading the responsibility of scoring over many more shoulders: Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marco Reus and Adrian Ramos have all chipped in recently, making BVB an even more formidable proposition, according to their former coach Ottmar Hitzfeld.
"They're incredibly consistent, even winning the games they don't play so well in," he told Sport Bild magazine. "The season's not over yet – five points is a misleading cushion for Bayern. It's good for the Bundesliga – it's more exciting than in recent years."